About- Chris & Sylvia Hollands
What would America be without its Purple Mountains Majesty? Utah sits amidst some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the country — and what’s better than enjoying a mountain view than with a good beer? Utah may not be the most discussed beer location in the country, but the quality and diversity of its brewing scene can’t be ignored. And, like any region, the craft beer community continues to grow and evolve. We hope you enjoy our efforts to compile the 2019 Best of Utah Craft Beer; and we hope you get a chance to drink a few of our regional beers soon!
Happy holidays from our home to yours. We are hoping everyone’s had a memorable 2019 like we have. Furthermore, it’s been a fun year for craft beer in our good old home state of Utah. For example, five new breweries opened their doors to the public, including Level Crossing Brewing Company. Although it may not seem like much compared to other areas, multiple brand-new options in just one year pumped us up. So essentially that means over 10% of the Beehive state’s total breweries started in 2019. And not only have breweries popped up with increased frequency, but the quality being offered is world class.
An interesting thing happened while prepping annual GABF coverage here at PorchDrinking this year. We noticed a growing trend of breweries bringing craft alcohol-free beer to the beer-lovers event. Now of course, alcohol-free beer isn’t new. Can you recall the times of “near beer” and O’Doul’s? And most recently Heineken introduced their version to the market. Out of curiosity we gave the latter a try, and to our surprise it tasted like a regular Heineken. Needless to say it was intriguing, so we did more research into the non-alcoholic craft craze.
Did you hear? The 2019 Great American Beer Festival tickets recently went on sale. The nation’s premiere festival celebrating the country’s growing love of finely-crafted independent beer is absolutely worth the price. To enjoy the festival, be prepared to rummage through thick crowds of people searching for the “new hot brew” and the “next big thing.” If you get lucky during your adventure through the Colorado Convention Center, you will stumble upon a real gem. Our last visit proved it with, The Brewing Projekt.
A promising craft beer scene is budding in Ogden, Utah, just a quick 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City. As the concentration of breweries grows in the valley, this northern destination continues to provide an enjoyable day trip for beer fans. Last August, Javier Chavez Jr. put his hat in the ring when he opened up shop with Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company.
Miguel Rivas is the international man of beerstery. In 2013, his photography hobby morphed while visiting the Trappist Abbeys in Belgium. Capturing the sights sparked an artistic outlet for the stay-at-home father of two. Photography is a passion for Rivas, so it was clear to combine his thirst for taking pictures with his love for beer. Since then, Rivas successfully branded himself as The BeerTrekker and passing the five-year mark, his project is strong and still growing.
The Utah brewing community was a little bit shocked when Kevin Templin left his long time position as Head Brewer at Red Rock Brewing Co. To us it seemed like an abrupt mic drop that didn’t make sense. After surviving the initial shock, we took comfort in the fact there must be something brewing in his mind. So we patiently let the months pass by. As the seasons morphed and the local craft beer continued to thrive, we might have almost moved on. Then, Kevin was back with a bang just as quickly as he had left—and this time he brought along the whole family!
Chris Jacobs is a budding brand icon who created his own niche in the craft beer world. Mashing his elevated attraction to a certain undead monster and a love for beer, the California native launched Beer Zombies in 2013.
In this edition of the PorchDrinking Playlist, we bring you the music that inspires Georgia’s very own Creature Comforts Brewing Co. In the past four years, Creature Comforts has grown to become not only one of Georgia’s most well-respected breweries, but also one of the country’s fastest-growing brands. Who knew they were going to draw fans from all over the nation? As always, we were curious about what kind of music resonates within the walls of the restored historic warehouse while whipping up fresh batches of brews. Just how does the sound reverberate across the walls with the guts dating back to the 1940s? Does this influence the beer being produced? Let’s find out!
Oak and Orchard Sour Ale with Blackberry, Black Currant & Cherry
Epic Brewing Co. has done it again! Their Oak and Orchard lineup now includes another excellent seasonal beer incorporating high-quality ingredients. With this Cabernet Sauvignon inspired introduction, Epic pulls out all of the stops. They’ve added blackberry, black currant and one of our favorite sour complements, the all mighty cherry. Coming on the heels of the popular Strawberry Rhubarb in the same series, every subsequent modification proves Epic is catering to eager taste buds of sour beer lovers.
How do you define style these days? When we think of a head brewer with style, we think of Kevin Templin. He has been crafting some of our state’s most iconic brews before we even knew what good beer really was. You see, Templin led Salt Lake City’s Red Rock Brewing team as Head Brew Master for just about the past two decades. When we finally woke up and peered into the world of craft beer, Templin was one of the first professional brewers we met. We once wandered a beer fest with this guy and people simply gravitated to him. Silly enough, it was an honor to see him work the room (or should we say “tents”). He didn’t think of himself as a celebrity, but we were certainly in a bit of awe hanging out with him. Admittedly, the intimidation of his beer knowledge captivated us. Yet it turns out; this suds veteran effortlessly balances connections within all levels of experience in the trade.
Whether its music, art, film or food, we are fans of a good collaboration—with no exception when it comes to beer. With the steady rise in craft beer popularity, numerous collaborations between so many like-minded individuals in our community is inevitable. Particularly, The Commons Brewery from Portland and Denver’s Epic Brewing took on a collaboration in a fun and interesting way. While each brewery selected an adjunct ingredient native to their location, they created something unique and tasty. The Commons Brewery brought Oregon red winter wheat and Epic Brewing choose Colorado honeydew melon; together they created a sour ale called Common Interests.
2017 left as swiftly as it came. Year after year, the clock seems to tick more rapidly. Repeating the daily grind of the morning wake up, leaning on a java and finishing the night with a great beer. Did that a few times and BAM! There we were–drawing gape as the Patriots won the Super Bowl, experiencing a total solar eclipse and then suddenly watching the ball drop on the broadcast of New Years’ Rockin’ Eve. Okay, the time lapse may be a bit of an exaggeration, but for real—the past 365 days flew by like no other.
Hey friends! We are no doubt heading into the homestretch of the holiday festivities.
If you are lucky, you have the chance to sit back and relax, avoiding the last minute shopping many of us seem to torture ourselves with every year. Along with the crowded stores, you may be just about done with the traditional holiday music playing on repeat for the past month. Admittedly, there is some secret level of internal glee when we hear a Burl Ives or Bing Crosby classic right after Thanksgiving. These songs are great and there is a reason they have become so popular over the years.
Few words excite beer lovers as much as the word “rare”. The thought electrifies basic hunting instincts into a frenzied FoMO path to liquid bliss. Last year, when Epic Brewing Company announced its plans to release two very special versions of their barrel-aged stout Big Bad Baptist, we stood up and took notice. Released alongside the already well-established original Big Bad Baptist, was the Mexican coffee-inspired Big Bad Baptista and the sensory enticing Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist. Needless to say, many of our old trading friends dropped us a quick “ISO” once they caught wind of it.
Throughout life, I have gone through numerous shifts in my taste of music. I am open-minded for all genres of tunes, but there was a moment when I was particularly close-minded when it came to what I would put into my cassette/CD player.
In the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon there must be a Nickelback concert happening this very moment. It turns out to just not to be the case, however it may be the folks at Portland’s Ex Novo Brewing Company trying to break up a boring day. “One of our favorite pastimes at the brewery is to blast some super shitty music and see how long it takes before someone changes it,” said head brewer, Ryan Buxton. This seems to be a game they play to keep things from getting stale. The tradition keeps things fresh because it rarely lasts more than three songs at a time. And please do not worry, this is all done before the doors open to the public.
It’s time to kick it old school. The craft beer boom of the last several years has everyone chasing the newest, most hoppy, most sour, fruitiest, haziest, or rarest barrel aged beast out there. We admit, we’ve caught ourselves in the Untappd beer culture looking to add precious notches to our belts. We have saved that special beer for that 500th, 1000th and so on badge. Experiencing new beer is always going to be a blast. But there is something to be said about going back to the beginning and rediscovering great beer from your past.
In the land where lower alcohol brews rule the draft lines, many excellent strong beverages are continuously being produced by our local breweries. According to a few hundred like-minded local beer geeks, 2 Row Brewing’s Tastes Like Citrus IPA is Utah’s current number one high point ABV beer. Not only does 2 Row’s mastermind Brian Coleman craft great IPA, he seemly introduced our first native born hazy IPA. Coleman is no stranger to the IPA game. He has been brewing some of the state’s best hoppy beers since opening his brewery less than two years ago. His foray into the haze craze naturally seemed only a ‘when’ and definitively not an ‘if’.