Beer Reviews – September 2009

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I have not had a chub for beer like this since they said The Rêve was coming back. Why am I so giddy, you ask? Well, that’s simple–the craft beer scene in Utah has hit an all-time high in my book. We are seeing the release of new styles of beer that years ago were just a dream in a Utah brewer’s recipe book. If you have not seen the recent explosion of styles, I recommend setting down that Natty and getting your ass out to the SLC scene and drinking beer that doesn’t taste like refined piss. With the easing of statutes regarding beer distribution from the Reich of the DABC, brewers are resting somewhat easier when it comes to the sale of “high point” beer. Here is a lineup of some kick-ass styles new to SLC.

“BBB” Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
Brewer/Brand: Uinta Brewing Company
Abv: 11.4%
Price: $12.99
Size: 22-oz. Bomber
Description: Out of the wax-dipped seal, the “BBB” pours a rich amber color and pitches off a beautiful dense head that sticks around. The aromatics are straightforward, with balanced bready malts, heavy amounts of bourbon, a kiss of oak, and some more bourbon. The taste is strongly influenced by the bourbon, but still is able to mask the alcohol of the beer and provide you with some richly complex malt character.
Overview: This flew off the shelf so damn fast it was hard to even snag a bottle. So if you catch word that someone may have this in their cellar, do almost anything to get your hands on a bottle. While I would normally say to keep this to age for a while, the folks at Uinta say drink now, as it is already aged two years.

Desert Select Black Imperial IPA
Brewer/Brand: Moab Brewing Company
Abv: 8.59%
Price: $14.99
Size: 1 Liter Bottle
Description: Out of a massive flip-top, the BIIPA pours a deep brown-black color with a medium-sized off-white head. The aroma is a wonderful coupling of roasted malts, a touch of bread, and of course, a definite presence of piney, grapefruit-y, grassy American hops. It hits your palate with a nice spike of pine and then works its way to all the outers of your mouth with roast and a soothing malt character, leaving you dry, bitter and wanting more.
Overview: The Black IPA has been something that I have been seeing a lot of in the craft industry lately, but you have to hand it to brewmaster Jeff Van Horn for taking this style above and beyond. Once again, this is another really rare bottle that will be rough to get your hands on (mainly because it is only sold in Moab).

Hop Rising Double IPA
Brewer/Brand: Utah Brewers Cooperative/Squatters Label
Abv: 9.2%
Price: $1.39
Size: 12-oz. bottle
Description: This new release pours out a deep murky orange, just a couple shades darker than their standard IPA, and has an off-white head that leaves some wicked stick all around your pint. A couple of huffs of this and you are pretty much smelling hops for the rest of the night. The hops are a rich, American-backed character with some notes of pine, citrus, and grapefruit. The taste does not steer too far from the aroma. All of the aromas are packed into the flavor and it coats your mouth with a nice, oily hop resin. 
Overview: Short of feeling the enamel peel off my teeth, I will say that this is spot-on for what I like to see in a double IPA. The balance of hop resins mixed with a medium caramel malt backing makes this quite a killer brew. Not to mention, this bottle really does come together with brewer Jason Stock on the label with a Michael Landon-like sex appeal.