Beer Reviews – March 2010

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“What the fuck is that?” This is the general statement I get if I have some Zion Canyon Brewing Company beer in my fridge. Based out of Springdale, Utah at the mouth of Zion Canyon, Dale Harris (Head Brewer) and his brother Derek opened the brewery in 2005. They have five styles regularly in production (Amber, IPA, ESB, Lager and Stout) and are introducing their newest seasonal in late February. While distribution has not made its way to Salt Lake City, the brewers have had their eye on finally working out some circulation to us folks up north. Keep your eyes open, but in the meantime, it looks like you will need to smuggle some home from down south.

Springdale Amber Ale
Brewer/Brand: ZCBC
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: 12 oz Bottle

Description: The crystal clear pour fizzes off with a nice bubbly head that recedes quickly, leaving a deep orange to light amber color. The nose has some light malt, a dull sweet toffee and light hop character. The flavor is clean and crisp with a sweet malt backing and nice floral hop bite to it. This brew rounds off with a bready caramel backing and a dry finish.
Overview: The Springdale Amber Ale is the flagship beer out of ZCBC, rightly named for the town they brew in. Out of the lineup, I would have to say that this is my favorite of the bunch. What makes this killer brew so tasty is the residual hop character. This is a good brew for anyone out there who wants some hop kick to their amber ale.

Hop Valley IPA
Brewer/Brand: ZCBC
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: 12 oz Bottle

Description: The IPA poured a copper color with a soft white head that stuck around for a bit. The aromatics were grapefruit forward with a little hint of caramel toast. The taste was definitely on the bitter side, without too much hop character coming out, allowing some of the sweeter grains to come through.  All of this is backed up with some sweet citrus notes and a drying finish.
Overview: When I am reviewing beer from a new brewery I always like to review the head brewer’s favorite beer. I get the impression as to what he is looking for in the rest of his beers, and this one is a clear-cut sign of what he is looking for: a sessionable brew with a bitter kick. While I am still a bit of a nag when breweries spit out “IPAs” at 4%, I will let this one slide because of its simple-drinking style.

Hidden Canyon Hefe     (Unapproved Label)
Brewer/Brand: ZCBC
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: On Tap Only

Description: This unfiltered wheat beer is a light yellow to deep straw colored brew with a solid white head that leaves some amazing lacing behind. The aroma is very light in banana, soft clove and a grainy wheat. The flavor is banana dominant with a nice clove backing and light bitter finish.
Overview: When assistant brewer Keith Forsgren was handed the reins to develop a new recipe, he managed to pitch out this wonderfully complex wheat beer. While I was only able to drink it fresh off the fermenter, this brew was still coming around to age and it was already pretty tasty, so I can only imagine it now. It is on tap only at the Majestic View and Lodge, so if you just so happen to be in the area, give it a taste.