Beer Reviews

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With cold-ass days ahead and that son of a bitch winter unzipping his fly to piss on your happiness, it’s time to become that beer-drinking recluse that you know you are, deep down inside. There is no shame in staying in to drink a little more than usual. As your beer-drinking guru, I only hope that you are picking the best and most local craft to enjoy. When you have locked yourself away in your beer-drinking bunker and you reach for a brewskie, you’ll be able to take a pick from the newest of local make with this month’s lineup, featuring a new oaked beer that has been jacked up, an Epic beer just back from the Great American Beer Festival and a saison suited for all four seasons.

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin
Brewery/Brand: Uinta Brewing Company/Crooked Line
ABV: 10.31%
Size: 750 mL
Description: This new Crooked Line release pours a crystal clear copper-orange color with a heavy, off-white head that slowly fades away. The aroma consists of a well cooked pumpkin pie, a variety of winter cooking spices, followed by some bourbon oak character and subtle sweet notes. The flavor is pumpkin heavy with cinnamon and clove, all backed up by a well rounded oak balance on the tongue, and an alcoholic finish that doesn’t manage to hit you till it reaches
your stomach.
Overview: I believe a great man once said, “He who controls the spice beer, controls the universe.” That person must have been a brewer at Uinta. The all-around balance of the pumpkin spice and well-hidden alcohol make this an enjoyable drinker and a perfect match for that holiday dinner pairing. This is not a bad way to kick off the latest release from Uinta’s Crooked line, as they are fresh off an artistic redesign of labels and bottles. (Props to Trent Call for the killer label design on this one.) Thanks, Uinta, for keeping your artists local.

Fest Devious #5: Scotch Ale
Brewery/Brand: Epic Brewing Company
ABV: 7.8%
Size: 22 oz
Description: With a heavy auburn to deep amber color, this brew pours soft in carbonation with a light head that leaves a lingering foam around the top. The aroma is filled with caramel sweetness and underlying amounts of plum and fig. The taste is filled with more of that plum/fig, light caramel toast and an off bitter crispness in the finish.
Overview: This is the newest release from Epic under the Fest Devious label. Of the brews to be released from Epic, this is the first Pro-Am beer to be brewed for the Great American Beer Festival. Every year at the GABF, each local brewery is given an opportunity to sponsor a local homebrewer and highlight the recipe that has been recognized in competitions. The lucky winner this year is Mike Hahn, a long-standing homebrewer in the SLC scene. This particular scotch ale is malt heavy, with a deep, complex flavor. This is definitely one for sitting back, sipping and enjoying the complexities.

Le Quatre Saison
Brewer/Brand: RedRock Brewery
ABV: 6.2%
Availability: 500 mL
Description: This Belgian/French-style ale pours a rich, clear straw color.  Just a hint of musty farmhouse character in the aroma dissipates quickly into some summery fruit and a whiff of spice. The first taste is refreshingly tart with a soft, pilsner-malt finish.  Let the glass warm a little and you start to get a lot more—orchard fruit, slight bitterness from the hops and that mouth-coating, spice-induced sweetness.  Can this beer seem both dry and sweet at the same time?  The balance is truly remarkable with the yeast doing the lion’s share of the work.  High carbonation helps a finish with enough acidity to evoke citrus, and ends as refreshingly as it starts.
Overview: Saison has been huge in Utah this season and this is one of the best.  At 6.2% ABV, it’s not strong enough to knock your palette out with one swift thrust of its rich, spicy character, but rather a really nice beer for sitting somewhere outside and relaxing, even as the weather gets colder. Le Quatre’s complexity rewards patience—the flavors can seem to meld with any season, but it’s just so damn drinkable.  Please let this Belgian yeast-obsessed trend among local craft brewers continue. That would be killer, thanks.  Pick some up at the brewery before it’s all gone. –Rio Connelly

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