Thursday, January 28, 2010

No More Liquid Solutions

In Utah if you want a beer that's not readily available in the state you basically have two options. Go across one of our six boarders and bring it back or have a friend or relative mail it to you. Either way it's illegal, Utah doesn't like being cheated out of it's precious alcohol taxes.

Buying beer by mail is a big no-no. Most places that ship beer, liquor or wine will not ship to Utah and various other states because of tax laws. But If you happened to be "in the know" you may have used Liquid Solutions to get your exotic craft beer fix.

From what I understand they were able to deliver items from their extensive beer list to anyone who was willing to pay for it.

Sadly Liquid Solutions is going out of business and the beer pipeline is to be no more. After nine years of operation they are shutting down the website and liquidating their entire inventory of beer, mead and cider 10-30%. Hundreds of great beers are available. Here's a list.

The sale starts Fri Jan. 29th at 3:00 and goes through Friday, Feb 5th at 8:00 pm
Sale hours: M-F 3:00 - 8:00 Sat & Sun 10:00-8:00. If you have any friends or family in Oregon I'd get them on the horn and start working something out.

If you missed out, it was a good thing while it lasted. If you were a regular customer it looks like your going to have to look for another option.

Cheers!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Utah is Out of Liquor Licences

Well guess what. Yesterday the liquor-control commissioners gave out the last of the liquor licenses. Commission Chairman Sam Granato officially announced that the licenses in all three state categories were gone including:

- permits for bars to serve drinks without or without a meal,

- full-service licenses that allow restaurants to serve alcohol with meals.

- and limited-service permits that allow eateries to serve only beer or wine with an order of food.

Entrepreneurs who want a permit to serve wine, spirits or heavy beer must wait for population estimates to increase or existing establishments to go out of business.

The Utah legislature won't change the population requirement that would make more licenses available. State Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, said ""it's not the right time for the Legislature to make changes to the state's license quota system".

House Speaker David Clark, R-Santa Clara, said if limiting numbers of liquor licenses significantly depresses economic growth, "we'll have another look" but that won't happen until next year.

Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, is sponsoring a bill that would lift caps for restaurant liquor licenses but he has acknowledged the measure lacks support, including that of the LDS Church. And as we all know, if the overlords don't like it - it gets squashed.

A new poll by The Salt Lake Tribune suggests that the legislatures view may not be aligned with their constituents. Utahans are nearly evenly split on easing quotas that would create more. Overall, 46 percent of those polled oppose altering the population-based quota system, while 43 percent want it changed so the state can grant more permits.

So if your a national restaurant chain looking to expand your business into Utah I'd have to say, "stay the fuck away from Utah, our leaders don't want you here"! Unless you want to play the LDS way. Too harsh? I don't think so.

-info: Salt Lake Tribune

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Beer at the Beerhive 1/25/10

I made a stop at the Beerhive over the weekend and came across some new beers that I have not seen around before in the area.

The first was Rogue Mogul Madness. It has medium roast malt right up front with a high piney/grapefruit hops presence. A little off balance, but not bad.

Rogue Chatoe First Growth Dirtoir Black Lager. Yup that the name. This was quite nice despite the name. It's very roasty with espresso, coffee grounds, bitter cocoa, and sharp woodiness. The hops lend an equally sharp grassy, piney, earthy bitterness.

Sierra Nevada Glissade. This is a Maibock/Helles Bock. It's sweet, but not overly sweet, slightly bready. The hops do start to make their way to the forefront as the beer warms. A lot of carbonation. Nice and light but with enough flavor to keep me interested.

And Finally the 2010 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is out. I'm sure this is the same big, yummy, warm, hoppy monster it's always been. Frankly after the first three, there was no way I was about to tackle a 9.6% Barleywine.

If you've seen these anywhere else, let us know!

Cheers!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Beer Boomerang of Love

Building on the huge momentum of a great beer year, Utah's local brewers are full of enthusiasm and optimism for the coming year. It's a great time for a fresh start and a chance to reboot the old processes.

There will be a lot of great craft beer success stories to come this year, of this I have no doubt. Every time a new seasonal beer rears it's head, people are literally lining up for them. In some cases even before Bartenders/servers even know they're for sale. Seriously this happens!

One of the most enthusiastic brewers you will ever meet is RedRock's Kevin Templin. Weather he's eyeballing a new batch of yummy bugs in his microscope or taking delivery of oak barrels it's hard not to get swept up in this beer yogi's groove.

"I am excited and privileged to be in the middle of a brewing orgasm!!! The Utah beer scene is blowing up and if I was not a part of it I would be Bummed. New beers everywhere, people pushing for exotic perfection... It's nuts"!

This "beer boomerang of love" that Kevin is lobbing out to us means great things for you and RedRock's first quarter.

Twenty brand new casks of new French and Classic American oak have just arrived to house some new craft beer creations.

Rêve, Redrock's oak aged Belgian style Triple is said to be the best it's ever been and will be bottled by the end of the month in 750ml bottles. So look for it late February early March... Christ, I'll just tell ya when it's out.

Kevin says he's also sitting on a new unnamed sour beer that'll be ready "Whenever it wants to be ready".

Fresh off the success of Paardebloem, talks of acquiring the early sweet greens for the Paardebloem's sequel are already in the works.

And most of all the RedRock crew is excited about putting on the gloves for a Knock-out double IPA in 1/2 liter bottles for an early spring release.

"I am stoked for all my bro's that are being inspired to move forward and try new things. We will just keep trying to make high quality beers and keep our nose to the rock". Templin says. I say, Amen to that!

Cheers!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Uinta's BBB: The Sequel

A lot of people have been waiting patiently for the release of Utah's biggest beer, the Uinta Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. Well, we're in the home stretch. Uinta's President Steve Kuftinec tells me that it should go to the DABC warehouse sometime this week and show up in the stores towards the end of next week.

This is another limited release, only 720 bottles released. And like the last release it will only be available at limited liquor store locations. Once they start leaving the warehouse, we'll have a better idea of where they're going. Look for another three bottle limit as well.

In other Uinta beer news A selection of Uinta beers will now be available in the Reno, Nevada area. From Uinta's main portfolio, Angler's Pale Ale, Golden Spike Hefeweizen, King's Peak Porter, and Anniversary Barley Wine. From the Four+ Series, Wyld Organic Extra Pale Ale and Hive Honey Stung Ale.

Cheers!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Squatters 529 Oud Bruin

The Last few days have been very heavy with beer law and legislation. So, today we get back to the fun stuff. New Beers!

On the heels of the very successful release of Outer Darkness, Squatters announces their next big seasonal release. Squatters 529 Oud Bruin was inspired by a visit to Belgium's Rodenbach Brewery in 2004. Brewmaster Jennifer Tally was so impressed by the beer styles from the Flanders region of Belgium she decided to recreate some of the more popular styles.

"I started creating my Oud Bruin in July of 2008. After I removed my 1st Fifth Element I laid down 529 in oak. It has taken 18 months to get this beer to where I want it and now it is time for bottling.

Jenny and Jason are are blending the oak aged 529 with a two month old 529 to marry the acidity and malty sweetness to produce one quaffable sour ale.

Oud Bruins are light to medium-bodied, deep copper to brown in color. They are extremely varied, characterized by a slight vinegar or lactic sourness and spiciness to smooth and sweet. A fruity-estery character is usually apparent with no hop flavor or aroma. Low to medium bitterness.

529 refers to the number of days spent in the barrels (18 months). 529 should be available sometime next month for Pub and to-go sales.

Speaking of oak aged Belgian style beers Jenny will be removing the second edition Fifth Element Saison from the oak and sending it into the bottle for conditioning next week. She plans on releasing the highly regarded Saison in early spring.

Also Squatters has launched a new - updated website. Check it out.

Cheers!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No More Adaquate Beer Legilslation

It's that time of year again - when logical, well meaning people go to Utah's Capitol to plea for law changes to make their little corners of the world a little better.

Every individual has a different interpretation on what "better" is. And as usually happens, those in the minority find out that settling for "adequate" is a close as their gunna get.

That's what we're going to talk about today, adequate beer policy. As much as we bitch about how bad things are beer-wise here in Utah, I think we all know that it could be a hell of a lot worse. We have seen vast improvements in the production and availability of local craft brands as well as a broadening of brands from outside of the state. But things are still just adequate.

It comes to reason that as the beer market expands the infrastructure to manage it's growth must expand as well. The state cannot keep up with the demand that Utah's growing craft beer community is imposing on it.

The state liquor warehouse (even though expanded) is already bursting at the seams. We need to lighten the burden and move the beer end of the socialized liquor monopoly to the private sector, where it can be properly managed by the people who know this side of the business. The Beer Distributors.

This doesn't mean that the state doesn't get it's eighty something percent of the pie. It just means that the state gets it's taxes without the burden of managing the floor space the beer occupies.

If the state trusts Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries with the manufacturing and selling of their products with the class five packaging license, the leap to expand it to the distributors isn't that big.

All this leads to two things. The elimination of the 4.0% cap on draft beer and the saving of millions of dollars a year in an ever expanding beer market.

Last year Rep. Curtis Oda sponsored this very bill (HB349). The 2009 legislative ended without the bill going to a vote in the senate (passed in the House). This year Senate President Michael Whaddoups has already announced he would not hear any alcohol legislation this session. It seems he also sets the agenda on what is heard and not heard. It is beyond absurd that someone has this much power over an issue that he has such strong biases against.

My plea to you is this. If Rep. Oda manages to get this bill heard again, make sure you contact your representative and ask for their support of the bill. If it doesn't make it don't worry, there will still be next year. We don't want this bill to get the reputation as being a annual failure.

Cheers!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Mormon Influence on Alcohol Policy


Recently CNN's John King was in Salt Lake City to do a story on Mormon culture and how it influences the debate on alcohol related issues in Utah.

The story deals with the LDS church's influence in the state and how SLC now has a non-Mormon majority and Mayor Becker's efforts to promote and align those differences.

Beerhive owner Del Vance was one of the business owners interviewed for the story.

Cheers!

Friday, January 08, 2010

2009 Utah Beer Year in Review Part 3

Finally!

September: If you wanted Hoppers' beer before Sept '09 you had to go to the Brewpub in Midvale. Now their beer is out and available at other fine establishments. High Desert Hops a local hop farm debuted it's inaugural crop with much success, growing Cascade, Galina and Columbus varieties. Squatters celebrate their 20th Annibrewsary by brewing up a special high gravity Märzen/Oktoberfest. The Great American Beer Festival came and went with RedRock, Uinta and Wasatch bringing home medals. Wasatch Brewpub head brewer Matt Beamer put together a tasty Wheat Wine and slipped it in completely under the radar. Simply named Wasatch Wheat Wine, it has still yet to be released.

October: Uinta Brewing announced that they would be brewing a new line of high gravity beers, to be released sometime 2010. After months of searching, Epic brewing finally found a home in downtown SLC. Glenn Harris, brewers Assistant at Zion Canyon Brewing past away in Southern Utah. Bear Republic beers finally made into the state while the third beer in Moab's Desert Select Series, Moab's Scottish Style Ale or "Wee Heavy" became available for purchase.

November: I tried my hand at satire... Screw you! I'm funny - that shit was brilliant!!! While I was busy cracking myself up with my ramblings Trent Fargher & his fiancee Alexandra Ortiz were busy crossing "T"s and dotting "I"s getting Utah's newest brewery, Shades of Pale underway. And we learned that the advancements in liquor reform that we saw over the past ten months would go no further. For a while anyway.

December: Finally we come to the end. Donovan Steele at Hoppers brewed up "the First NoAle" a Patersbier styled Belgian ale. It's a traditional styled ale that is brewed and consumed by the fathers in the Trappist monasteries. Chef Gary 'Captain Bastard' Maxwell passed away. Gary was the former Master Chef of Squatters Pub Brewery, Fuggles and was working for Sizzling Platter/Hoppers as a computer tech and occasional culinary adviser. RedRock's new production brewery went online in December, the new facility will help get RR's beers out to more bars and restaurants around the state. The Utah Beer Holiday Tasting was a huge success. Beer lovers from Four counties and Idaho represented bring a wide array of excellent beers. December also saw the release of some great new seasonal beers, including Outer Darkness, Paardebloem, Schwenkelweiss Black Wheat and Donovan's Irish Breakfast Stout.
And finally Uinta Brewing received a Silver Medal in the English-Style Bitter category for their Cutthroat Pale Ale at the The sixth annual European Beer Star Awards.

Wow, what a great year. With two new breweries scheduled to open and new labels to debut, 2010 is expected to be another phenomenal year!

Cheers!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009 Utah Beer Year in Review - Part 2

Welcome back!

May: The Hb51 Beer became reality. All of the brewpubs that participated in the brewing of the HB51 beer, kegged their individual interpretations on the collaboration amber ale. And as promised they were all very different. Four+
released a new beer Sum'r; made with lemony Sorachi Ace hops. Park City got a boost in the beer dept with the opening of Lindzee O' Michaels Park city's new place for top tier beers. Bohemian brewery's recreation of the original 1842 Czech Pilsner came to fruition and the boys nailed it with an incredible effort.

June: Utah Brewers received a shload of awards at the North American Brewers Association's - Mountain Brewers Festival In Idaho Falls, Idaho. Including six gold medals. Slug Magazine released it's second annual Beer Issue as the Logan Municipal Council repealed a law that restricted the sale of beer at city retail stores on Sundays. We also had a small beer festival in Snowbird. The Grill on the Hill featured a variety of locally made suds along with some killer BBQ. Local beer lover/craftsman Bryan Perkins, customized a Randalizer for the Bayou. It's basically a organoleptic hop transducer module (a hop cone filter) that grabs the oils off the hops in the Randall on the way from the keg to the tap/faucet transferring all the hoppy goodness into the beer, providing a pungent and fresh hop boost to the selected beer.

July: The Private Club system finally went the way of the Dodo and gave Utah citizens their dignity back. The Beerhive made it's long awaited debut after months and months of bureaucratic delays. Moab debuted and scored with it's Black IPA, the first in a trio of high ABV releases known as the Desert Select Series. Another new beer, Hop Rising came to liquor store shelves becoming Utah best selling high ABV beer. And frenzy and confusion surrounded the release of Uinta Brewing's first batch of their experimental Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine.

August: Thanks to the legalization of homebrewing in Utah, we were able to have our first ever BJC sanctioned home brew competition. Entries came from as far away as California, Texas and Nebraska. Craft beer options in St. George got thinner. Ruby River Steakhouse had closed it's St. George location as well as their Idaho Falls & Boise restaurants. On the heels of it's successful Black IPA debut Moab Brewing started selling the second beer in their Desert Select Series - The Moab Triple. Snowbird’s 37th Annual Oktoberfest returned, Attracting over 70,000 visitors over the sixteen-day celebration. August ended with The Book of Brew. RedRock Brewing Company's bible, per say. It chronicles most every one of the 40+ beers that Red Rock has brewed over the past 15 years.

We're in the home stretch. Hang in there with me!

Cheers

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2009 Utah Beer Year in Review

Originally when I started doing the Utah Beer Year in Review it could be done in one post. Well this aint one of those years. So much happened this year that it's gunna take a few days with as many posts to get it all out so here it is, Utah's biggest beer year ever!

January: We began '09 with the return of an old friend. Back in early '06 Beamish & Crawford makers of Beamish Irish Stout quietly decided to pull the plug on Beamish exports to America. The company apparently saw the error of their ways and after a near three year hiatus, Beamish came back.

February: Boulevard Brewing out of Kansas City, entered the Salt Lake Market with two 4.0% beers and later with some of their higher abv smokestack series. Also, RedRock's award winning brew Rêve came back for it's second limited release. Tom "Divot" Smith, Squadron Commander and F-16 fighter pilot had been rallying for two years for Roosters to brew up a unique beer for the Rude Rams. Roosters listened and released their honorary beer Rude Ram Red. Feb rapped-up with the 15th annual United States Beer Tasting Championship. Uinta Brewing Co., King's Peak Porter was named the Rockies/Southwest "Regional Champion" in the porter category.

March: Brought North Coast Brewing's debut into the state. The Utah Senate's decided to go home early and not debate HB 349. This bill would have made it possible to get rid of Utah 4.0% draft limit. But with sad news came good news because Squatters debuted their new Hell's Keep Belgian style Golden Ale. And Roosters in Ogden offered up Hard Times Ale. A no-nonsense, no-frills, bare-bones brew to help craft brew lovers get through the tough economic times. Four+ released Hive, the Utah brewers Coop retained it's top 50 breweries status and of course HB51 passed the into law making Homebrewing in Utah legal.

April: Saw the Utah Chapter of Mother Against Drunk Driving go off the rails and abandon MADD's policies and Philosophies. While that crap was going on RedRock collaborated with New Belgium Brewery to make a Dandelion beer. RedRock also won three awards at the 16th annual Australian International Beer Awards Held in Melbourne, Australia. Wasatch Released two new summer beers. Twilight a 4.0% Kolsch and Summerbrau a 5.6% copper-hued Czech-style
pilsner. And we learned about Epic Brewing Utah's next generation brewery.

More to come. Cheers!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Life & Limb in Utah

A lot of people have been emailing me about the availability of the Sierra Nevada - Dogfish collaboration beer Life & Limb. Here's what I know.

Yes it is available in Utah, but I believe the only place that has it, is the Beerhive in SLC.

This is a living ale (LIFE) it's naturally carbonated to enhance complexity, refinement, and to encourage aging. LIMB - for the birch and maple trees, who’s syrup gives this unique ale its flavor.

It has a deep sugary malt profile, hops are significant enough to notice, but do not take a leading role in the profile, aside from some decent bitterness on the finish. Reminds me of a Belgian noel brew. Syrup and slight spice linger on the aftertaste. I'm not really excited about this one.

Drinkability is ok. Still a bit hot, some time in the cellar might help.

Overall this is an ok beer, which is unfortunate because I like both of these craft beer giants. I just think they could have done better with the resources that both breweries have.

It's certainly worth a try. but I'd recommend one of the current local options instead.

Cheers!