Beer Reviews – December 2008

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I swear to Gaia and all things holy that if I see one fucking Jesus tree before the month of November next year, I will … give up drinking before noon for at least a week. Which brings me on over to this month’s beer style—the seasonal brew. The seasonal brew has no major guidelines to go off of, because frankly, it’s a seasonal, and it is the brewer’s choice to do whatever in the hell they wish with it. The only way to look at these brews is by pure drinkability. So here are some brews to look for in the winter months, and to aid in your celebration of the solstice or any other pagan-based holiday you wish to partake in.

Harvest Ale
Brewery: Red Rock
Abv: 4.0 r> Average Price: $4.50
Serving Style: Pint/Pitcher/Growler
Rating: ***3/4
Description: This guy pours a soft golden color with a brilliant white head. Murky on its clarity due the unfiltered process, it stands as quite the light drinking brew. One consistent hop character (Amarillo for you geeks out there) is the dominating aroma in this brew, shortly followed by some lighter sweet malt.

Overview: Nothing too hard to think about, this is a killer brew that has an even balance of hops and malt. This year’s batch did seem to be a touch sweeter than I remember, but otherwise still another classic from the guys at Red Rock. Now that we got the beer out of the way, let’s talk about the kickass artwork Chris Harlin (brewer for Red Rock) drew up for this brew.

Where to Find: Only on tap at Red Rock locations, and only released in the fall, so mark your calendars.

Wasatch Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Utah Brewers Cooperative
Abv: 4.0 r> Average Price: $13.99/six pack
Serving Style: Pint/Pitcher/Growler
Rating: ***1/2
Description: Coming out of the bottle a decent amber color, it instantly puts off a firm amount of your standard holiday aromas: cinnamon, nutmeg, and a polite pumpkin puree like feel followed up with a soft amount of malt. It drinks like a standard spiced beer should—it is a touch light in the body, and reveals some ginger and malty flavors, but still leaves your palate lingering for some more!

Overview: Okay, fuck it. I promised myself I was not going to talk about pumpkin beers, but hell I just got motivated by this year’s brew of the pumpkin ale. Good for any occasion, this will go damn well with Thanksgiving dinner or as a holiday gift to your local bishop. But if you want to try the true Wasatch version of this, you ought to go to the source up in Park City.

Where to Find: Almost every grocery store around the valley. (Fall Release)

Autumn Bock
Brewery: Wasatch
Abv: 4.0 r> Average Price: $3.50
Serving Style: Pint/Pitcher/Growler
Rating: ***1/2
Description: Deep amber in color, this comes off the tap with a nice foamy off white head that manages to retain to the last sip. The aroma is this soggy, wet, toasty, malty, piece of art that lingers in the nose. The taste is a forward toasted malt that is just as dominant as the aroma, and it finishes with a very subtle hop backing that makes it damn easy drinking.

Overview: It’s about damn time that I finally got some Wasatch brews put up on the board. And with two killer brewers (Ray Madsen & Matt Beamer) up in Park City, it is no doubt that they are whipping out some damn good beers. Coming off a win at GABF, they have proven to know their shit. Sorry to say that this is only on tap in the fall, so be sure to check it out in the coming year.

Where to Find: Only on tap at the Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City (During “Autumn”).

Even better for those of you that are making your trip up to Evanston for your beer, porn and fireworks run, be sure to support a local brewer at Suds Brothers where Madsen’s Belgian Black is being featured. This beast of a brew sitting at 10 .b.v. is a winning homebrew that has been incorporated in this brewery’s arsenal of brews. This opaquely black brew has a stern aroma of Belgian malts, caramel and some subtle raisiny plums.