Thursday, September 13, 2012

Deschutes on Draft in Utah

There are two basic camps in Utah as far as beer is concerned. Those who like low point beer and those who... Well, don't. There are a few, myself included who just like well made beer no matter how much punch they're packing.

Having grown up in Utah and raised on low alcohol beer, I get why many yearn for something with more punch and body.  You just can't dial back some styles and stay true to the original style. But if you grew up outside of Utah and never really had a Low point beer the idea of a good flavorful session beer is is a novel concept.

Don't forget, beer has for centuries been a low alcohol beverage, I fact the lowest of all fermentable beverages,  primarily because it was the best option for hydration when clean water wasn't available.

Ok, where am I going with all this? Well other markets are discovering what many of us have known for some time, session beers can be damn good!

Many craft breweries around the nation are trying their hands at low point beers. Stone Brewing's Levitation (4.5%) - Victory Brewing's Donnybrook Stout (3.7%) - Widmer Brothers' Sunburn Summer Ale (4.3%) - Dogfish Head Brewing's Festina PĂȘche (4.5%) are just a few examples of popular breweries making small beers.

A few weeks ago Full Sail Brewing out of Portland , Oregon concocted a special session pale ale just for markets like ours. And now one one of the largest craft breweries in the nation, Deschutes will follow suit and create or recreate some of their beers for the Utah market. These guys wouldn't be doing this if they didn't feel the demand was there.

If your buzz is just as important as your flavor you likely won't be swayed by my argument, but if you haven't tried a Jonny's IPA or a Rye Pale from RedRock in a while your tongue, belly and equilibrium may thank you.

When the  Deschutes stuff gets closer, of course we'll let you know.

On a side note: I'd like to point out that it's not easy making flavorful low alcohol beers. Our local brewers are masters at it and have had decades to perfect them. Choose with your tongue and not your eyes, because the taps that these new beers will occupy will like take the place of something local made.

Cheers!

17 comments:

kent said...

Nicely said Mikey. I get very tired of hearing how undrinkable lower abv beer is. I've heard more than one person use the phrase "don't waste my time". Well then Rothschild's is your drink my friend.

As you said choose with your tongue. There is good and bad beer at every level of the booze spectrum.

Give session beer a chance and see how refreshing it is to be able to drink several beers and still walk straight. (mostly)

Patrick Corrigan said...

All right Utah! Deschutes does great stuff and it'll be interesting to have some more competition in the small beer markets. We can only hope that demand will increase and rather than it being a zero sum game, Deschutes can introduce even more people to craft beer without pushing out any of the Utah breweries.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Interesting that Full Sail came out with a 4% beer right after Jen Talley joined their staff. I am one of those that likes good beer, regardless of alcohol content. Uinta's Wyld is a beer that can go toe-to-toe with anything on the market. That said, not all Utah beer is as good as Wyld, so having some competition from Deschutes and Full Sail may not be a bad thing (although Full Sail's offering wasn't that great when I had it at Beer Fest, natch).

Ben said...

There's still a fine tradition of <5% ABV beers in the UK. When I lived on the Isle of Man, I'd sometimes have an Okells Bitter at 3.7% from the cask (Okells Mild is 3.4%). Bushy's did a good range of <4%-ers too. Both Laxey Brewery bitters are below 4% and all Manx beers are brewed similar to the German purity laws (no supplements to malt, hop, sugar water and brewer's yeast since 1874 - amended in 1999 to allow fruit etc as additions).

Badger Beers likewise have at least one beer below 4%. All taste very good.

Ed said...

That's awesome news. Hopefully in the long run, this will encourage more establishments to add more taps. Wishful thinking, probably ;)

I'll also speculate that Deschutes wouldn't be doing this if they didn't believe it were possible to make a 4% beer that isn't "thin and watered-down". I'm pretty sure people reach that conclusion about the Utah brewers before actually trying their beers.

edmanster said...

That's awesome!! I love it when people say we need to get real beer here on tap and in the grocery stores and I always ask what makes beer real.. they always say the alcohol and then (like what ^^Ben^^ was saying) I go into the whole UK thing with making and selling the most under 4% beer in the world.. its just like ^^ Ed^^ said.. it's the watered down swill BMC sells at 4% that give that perception.. what do they expect when you more water to something to sell there product in our market and for so cheep.. the flavor and body take the hit.. we have great real beer available but only what the non drinking DABC chooses to get us in the liquor stores and the effing tier setup will let us distribute to our convenience stores. It's great that we now get another real beer to choose from on tap..
Rant over!!

Douglas said...

Certainly good news. I still wish the illogical and counter-productive ABV limit was smashed!

Anonymous said...

i wish breweries would refuse to play the churchilature's game. if they keep releasing 3.2 beers just for our market it will make it that much harder to see real, just change to the law. I love a good session beer (my favorite kinds actually) but the government has no business telling me they are the only draft beers i can drink. if everyone (both breweries AND consumers) refused to make and/or buy 3.2 beer theyd have no choice but to change the law. the only thing they can do when no one plays the game is change the rules.

also mikey please have someone else read your posts before you post them, it frustrates me that in many ways this blog represents the craft beer community in utah, but almost every post has multiple grammatical or spelling errors.

PowBeer said...

To Anonymous 12:44 p.m.:
You may want to start doing some grammar checking of your own, before calling out Mikey for grammar.
One example:
"if they keep releasing 3.2 beers just for our market it will make it that much harder to see real, just change to the law."
But even worse:

"also mikey please have someone else read your posts before you post them, it frustrates me that in many ways this blog represents the craft beer community in utah, but almost every post has multiple grammatical or spelling errors."

Mikey said...

The following link is from November 28, 2005. I believe it was Utah Beer Blog post #6. Seven years later, I still think it holds true. Cheers!

http://utahbeer.blogspot.com/2005/11/spelling-shmelling.html

kent said...

I too would love to see the ABV law changed Douglas. Hopefully Mr. Oda or someone else will bring that bill up again this year. Maybe one day it'll make it into the books.

Douglas said...

No doubt low gravity beer is great. But I'd never want to celebrate the chains put on the creative genius of our brewers. In some sense, homebrewers have way more chances to make new and distinct brews. Bottling isn't an option for every brewer. This is my freedom agenda! Vote Freedom! Wait.....OK I got carried away.

Ed said...

I don't think anyone is defending the shitty law; only pointing out that it isn't the only reason session beers exist.

Steve said...

Deschutes Twilight is close already-- they could adapt that.

A few "session" pale ales have started appearing in the PNW, and by and large they suck compared to Utah-concocted low alcohol beers.

Douglas said...

Looks like at least one new beer from Squatters- a rye beer. A mild is on tap that I don't think I've seen before as well.

Z said...

if we would get Victory here in Utah i would be very happy.

-PA native

ps: i had johnnys ipa on tap at telluride blues and brews (the 7% one) and it was delicious, not hating on the 3.2 one but the 7% was better.

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