Daily beer project

Catching up

Posted in American Craft Beer, Desert Edge, Epic Brewing, Not Beer, Utah Beer by dailybeerproject on June 29, 2010

OK, so I sort of put posting on this thing on the back burner. Which means lots of catching up to do. Let’s get on with it.

Epic Brainless Belgian: This beer is a double gold medal winner, having taken top honors at a couple different beer festivals. You’d think it would be everybody’s favorite, right? Well it’s good, but it’s not my favorite. Not really sure why. Nothing wrong with it, per se, it’s just that there are other beers and other beers from Epic that I prefer. The fact that I’m not buying it doesn’t seem to make it any easier to find, as Epic is having trouble keeping this (like all their beers) in stock.

New Belgium Mighty Arrow: I was in Wyoming for a bike race a couple weeks ago. My wife bought some Fat Tire to have at the finish line, which was awesome. But it was a stage race, so the next day I decided to have something else from New Belgium at the finish line, their spring seasonal pale ale, Mighty Arrow.

They should call this beer “Mighty Awesome,” because that’s what it is. One of my new favorites. Less bitter than a lot of pale ales, smooth, easy drinking. Awesomeness in a bottle. I think I have one bottle left, which I will covet and horde and save for a very thirsty day. Either that, or I’ll go to Wyoming to get more.

New Belgium Ranger IPA: I’m not the only person who buys beer in Wyoming on occasion while visiting our neighboring state. When I was checking out at the liquor store there, I asked the clerk what percentage of their customers are from Utah. “99%. OK, not really. Actually 98%.” Good thing, too, because at a little sendoff barbecue for BradK yesterday, the host (who shall remain nameless to protect his identity given what I’m revealing and about to reveal) had a cooler full of deliciousness from New Belgium by way of Wyoming.

The first sampling from this cooler was Ranger IPA. I’m coming around to IPAs, having recently taken a liking to Full Sail’s. I liked this one, too. Very hoppy but still drinkable. Awesome beer for sipping on the back porch or chasing something stronger (more on this later). New Belgium beers seem to be a bit less hoppy than other craft brewers, but their malt is so perfectly dialed in, I think this is a good thing.

New Belgium 1554 Black Ale: The next thing I pulled from the cooler was 1554 Black Ale. This is a throwback beer, intended to mimick the dark ales common in Belgium 500 years ago. It’s roasty, toasty, strong, and good. It’s no secret I tend to prefer lighter beers, but as dark ones go, this one is a real winner. I don’t think New Belgium makes anything that isn’t delicious.

Moonshine: As we’re sitting on the porch sipping sparkling highland water, the hostess brings out a cake, made specially for Brad. It’s a rum cake, with moonshine–made by the host’s father–substituted for the rum. The presentation of the cake (which was splendid and fantastic and wonderful) got us talking about the moonshine, so the host brought out three bottles, one clear (in a plastic water bottle), one amber, and one a darker amber.

He also brought some shot glasses, and we started sampling. The amber was moonshine aged in oak barrels. The barrel aging mellows the flavor, and while it’s still mighty potent, it’s drinkable.

The clear stuff in the water bottle was less mellow, tasted more potent even though it probably wasn’t, and would doubtless make you go blind if you pounded it. It made me sputter and cough, but it was somehow still–not sure if this is the right word–pleasant?

The darker amber stuff is “fortified,” and what was in the cake. The hosts father, an immigrant from Central Europe says “eetz for da ladiez.” Or something like that. It was sweet, maybe a bit too sweet considering what it was.

All three were fun to try, with the added bonus that you could start your car with at least two of them were you to run out of gas.

Full Sail Pale Ale: I think I’ve mentioned that I like Full Sail beers. I love the amber, I dig the IPA, so the pale ale, between the two, was also spot on. Really, the differences between their amber, pale ale, and IPA are not nearly as significant as they are for other breweries. The pale ale is comparable to New Belgium’s, their amber is more hoppy than most ambers, and their IPA less so. All three are awesome, which is great if you like them. Only problem is if you’re looking for something more or less hoppy than these.

Desert Edge English Mild (on cask): Desert Edge is one of the local breweries I haven’t been to yet, but I’ve been anxious to try their beer. I’ve also been anxious to try a beer served on cask.

Cask ale is conditioned in the keg, including the second fermentation (carbonization), so no CO2 or Nitrogen is added to pressurize the cask and dispense the beer. It’s the traditional means of making and dispensing beer, but a method that nearly disappeared until consumer demand for a return to traditional methods prompted a renaissance.

The Desert Edge offering, which I had at the Bayou, was exquisite. It was very malty and rich. Bubbly enough to get a good head, but the body of the beer wasn’t overly carbonated. It was smooth-drinking and balanced. I had it with a plate of jambalaya, which is probably not a traditional pairing, but it worked really well. Awesome beer that has me looking forward to trying more from Desert Edge.

By contrast, I followed this English mild with a Bass Ale, a beer I quite like. The Bass, however, seemed a bit bland and boring by comparison. Which goes to show that even the lower ABV beers served on tap can be plenty flavorful and still taste better than bottled.

Coming up: My brother kindly gave me a bottle of the Smoked and Oaked from Epic. I’ll be sampling that this week and will hopefully get a review up shortly thereafter. I also won a gift card to Red Rock at a recent race, so I think next time I go out, I’ll have to use that and round out the offerings from that brewery.

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3 Responses

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  1. Blackdog said, on June 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    My uncle brought home some Tequila from Mexico in milk jugs. I would not try it until I had time to make sure my uncle was not going blind. Anyhow it is to this day the best Tequila I have ever sampled. It was made by a group of Mexican Indians if there is such a thing. I would have been interested in trying the Moonshine too but also very cautious. Something about liquor in mason jars and milk jugs makes me nervous.

  2. […] brewmasters, hosted. The only other cask beer I’ve tried was another Desert Edge offering, English Mild. So it makes sense that the two would come together at this […]

  3. New Benelux? « Daily beer project said, on October 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    […] The other two offerings in the folly pack, Fat Tire and Ranger, I’ve reviewed before. Read about them here and here. […]


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