utah – PorchDrinking.com
Chad Hopkins, brewer and part-owner of Hopkins Brewing Company, grew up in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah. Now, he’s crafting beers that pay homage to his past, like Sugar House Pilsner. The second batch of Sugar House Pilsner hit taps in mid-July and while it’s still an easy-drinking 4% ABV lager, this one features a slightly different recipe than the first.
Stouts aren’t typically found on the menu when the weather gets warm, so the heavy, late-season rains in Utah created a perfect excuse to finish the last ones that were hiding out in my refrigerator. T.F. Brewing in Salt Lake City, UT had a perfect pairing in mind for the dark and cloudy skies with Delmar, an 11.5% ABV American imperial stout. With that distinctive crack of the can, I couldn’t wait to break this one down.
No need to travel to a galaxy far, far away. Or to another dimension. The 10th Annual Tour de Brewtah—dubbed Spaced-X—is set to blast off right in our own backyard.
Scheduled for May 4—May the Fourth Be With You, after all—the bicyclist-meet-brewery space-themed event brings together cyclists and craft beer enthusiasts to “tour our ever-expanding local ‘brewiverse.'”
New Utah breweries are opening at a rate not seen in a generation, if ever. The boom is providing plenty of options for craft beer lovers to drink directly at the source.
At peak times, many brewery taprooms are filled with good beer and lively conversations. However, as with any business, it’s not all-bustling, all the time.
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!
Let’s face it, when you are planning a vacation around beer, Utah isn’t usually at the top of the list. The liquor laws that dictate ABV and where you can consume may deter serious beer drinkers before even firing up an Airbnb search. However, Utah beer has a character of its own, a character that is both quiet and formidable all at once: A sleeping bear that is slow to wake but indomitable when angered. As such, let’s dispel some of the myths surrounding Utah’s beer culture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What consists of the mountain region of the United States, if you didn’t know, is a highly contested debate. What we at PorchDrinking.com consider the mountain states are Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. Most of the natives from any of these states use the Rocky Mountains as a directional point of either east or west and will happily bring a 6-pack of our favorite IPAs on camping trips or hikes.
Here’s a small dent in the IPAs the mountain region–and us at PorchDrinking–like to call “local favorites.”
This place really is an adult playground. Looking to the left, we see Bill & Ted and to the right, we’re greeted by Wayne & Garth (all tanks have been given names of pop culture icons.) In the middle of it all, Jack is making beer on a home brew setup and today is in charge of the tunes at Proper Brewing Co. In between watching the boil, he takes a moment to set the next song.
ABV: 7.0% | IBU: 82.4
While exploring craft beer early on, we stumbled upon the higher point brews of Utah’s local breweries. We found Uinta Brewing’s Hop Nosh IPA. In the beginning, it was tough to handle bitter, hoppy beers but did our best trying them in limited amounts. Doesn’t almost every craft beer enthusiast go through the transition of ‘hop hater’ to ‘hop head’? There is no vaccine – once you’ve caught the bug, you have it. The beginning pursuit for the most floral, hoppy, bitter beers in an effort to satisfy your tongue’s need for liquid adventure.
As the gate opened, it revealed a welcome invitation into the belly of the beast. Salt Lake City Weekly’s 7th Annual Utah Beer Festival 2016 was ready to rage. We prepared to soak up some sun, listen to solid tunes, gobble great eats and drink world class beer.
What: 7th Annual Utah Beer Festival
When: Saturday, August 27, 2016 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Utah State Fair Park – 155 N 1000 W, Salt Lake City, UT
Price: General Admission – $20 advance ($25 day of), includes 5 tokens and taster mug Early Beer Drinker Entry – $30, includes 1 hour early entry, 8 tokens and taster mug VIP $50 – Includes all GA benefits, access to the Devour VIP Lounge with exclusive samples, food pairings and Brewer Q&A. VIP Designated Driver – $20, all VIP entitlements excluding beer tokens and beer tastings in the VIP lounge Designated Driver Ticket – $5, includes admission and pats on the back for being a good friend. Purchase tickets here.
As I drive to meet a local brewer to learn about his most recent release, I think about the time we once asked another brewer what he felt was the ‘next big thing’ in craft beer. His reply: “German Pilsner.” This no doubt came as a bit of a shock. Berliner Weisse, session IPA, or even Imperial fruit beer would have all seemed appropriate. Instead, he picked a classic style originating from the Czech Republic in 1842. Interesting enough, we started noticing a trend: Friends working in breweries often mentioned pilsner as their go-to-beer. A few years ago there might not have been enough local quality pils to make an Ultimate 6er and although it hasn’t become the ‘next big thing’, it has made a resurgence. We give you a guide to Utah’s very own Pilsners.
A few years back, Epic Brewing Company did the unthinkable. They took classic beers from their standard lineup and messed with ’em! They released a handful of ‘wild’ versions of their fruit beers that we all know so well. The already natural funky flavors in the beer must have sparked the imagination of a creative brewer.
If you’re looking for a beercation like the rest of us, we know you can have an exceptional one here. Utah is generally thought of as that dry place between craft beer mega states Colorado and California. Unlike the super states that surround us in virtually every direction, you can truly experience a good amount of what Utah beer has to offer in just 2 days and 2 nights, sightseeing along the way.
The city of Vernal is located in northeast Utah and just a short 20 miles west of the Colorado border. Vernal Brewing Company is located comfortably in downtown Vernal. Being that close to the Centennial State makes us wonder …
What is the greatest holiday movie? Is it A Christmas Story or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Perhaps Red Rock Brewery’s Griswald’s Holiday Ale can help sort out this yuletide debate.
What’s your favorite holiday movie? Likely a question that will …