Daily beer project

Griswald’s Big Holiday Ale

Posted in American Craft Beer, Red Rock, Utah Beer by dailybeerproject on January 3, 2011

This is Red Rock brewing’s very Belgian take on a winter seasonal. A very Belgian-tasting deep orange malt is offset with a variety of spice, including cinnamon, orange peel, ginger, coriandor, and cloves. The spices are a little surprising at first, as one expects a bit of hop bite to offset the malt, and that’s not what you get at all. But the surprise is a pleasant one and makes for a unique, delicious, awesome beer that nobody would begrudge receiving under the tree or at a holiday party. If you’re drinking it at a party, though, just be careful–at 8.5% abv, this one packs a real punch. It’s available in bottles only, and to my knowledge, only at the brewpub.

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Red Rock Harvest Ale

Posted in American Craft Beer, Red Rock, Utah Beer by dailybeerproject on December 29, 2010

I stopped by the Beerhive in downtown SLC before meeting the wife and kids and my brother and his family at Temple Square to see the lights (Brother Brigham would be proud, especially since the Beerhive is decorated with a variety of old photos of Utah’s first brewing heyday in Brigham’s time when there was a brewery at the mouth of every canyon).

First thing I ask whenever I visit a local beer bar is what seasonals they have on tap. On this occasion, they had Red Rock’s Harvest Ale. I would characterize this beer as a hoppy amber ale or perhaps a not-quite-so-pale pale ale. It’s only brewed once a year from fresh hops less than a week after they are harvested in Washington’s Yakima Valley.

The result is a bright, flavorful beer where the hops are the star and the malt plays a supporting role. The fresh hops yield a difference in flavor that’s hard to describe but is best compared to the added zing of fresh-squeezed citrus or freshly-ground pepper. The resulting hoppiness is strong but in a pleasant way. I just had time for the one pint but would gladly have another of this awesome beer.

Red Rock

Posted in American Craft Beer, Red Rock, Utah Beer by dailybeerproject on July 14, 2010

Rounded out the offerings at Red Rock over the weekend. We’re pretty spoiled around here to have so many good, local breweries.

Hefeweizen: Good, but not great. Didn’t really stand out as anything special, just a standard wheat beer.

Belgian Wit: Wasn’t crazy about this one. Too malty for me–felt like it coated the back of my throat as I drank it. The lone not awesome offering from Red Rock, though I’m sure plenty of people really like it.

Raspberry Wheat: Didn’t expect to like this one, but I really did. Instead of being off-putting, the fruitiness of the raspberry was pleasant and refreshing. Awesome.

IPA: Again, I’m of the opinion that it can’t be a real IPA if the abv is only 4%, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is an awesome beer. Balanced and flavorful with strong but not overpowering hops.

Dunkelweizen: Wasn’t sure what I’d think of this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not my favorite, but a good beer that would hold up well when paired with food.

Oatmeal Stout: Another suprise–this one was awesome. Beer served on tap is always better than bottled, but I’m convinced that the difference is more noticeable with stouts. I haven’t been too crazy about a lot of bottled stouts but have quite liked many of the local offerings on tap.

Amber Ale: This was the only one that I had a pint of rather than just a sampler. Glad I did because this one was awesome. Just what you want in an amber with medium malt and body and mild but balanced hops.

Phase two of this project is getting close to wrapping up. I need to try a few more beers from Desert Edge and sample five more from Epic (if I can get them!) and that will be it. If I try a couple seasonals that aren’t presently available, I will have sampled 100 beers made in the state of Utah. Most of them are beers I would happily have again.

Red Rock Honey Wheat

Posted in American Craft Beer, Red Rock, Utah Beer by dailybeerproject on May 4, 2010

Red Rock Honey Wheat is another offering I enjoyed as part of a $2 Tuesday at Porcupine Pub. At $2 a pint, it makes no sense to order samplers, so long as you don’t mind downing a few pints in an evening. And really, why would anyone complain about downing a few pints so long as you’ve got good company and can spread it out over a few hours?

Technically this beer is categorized as a kristallweizen, since it’s a filtered wheat beer. It has a light, clear appearance, whereas a typical unfiltered hefeweizen is quite cloudy.Filtering wheat beer removes the cloudiness of the yeast and at the same time some of the fruitiness and body from the flavor, making for a cleaner tasting beer.

Unfortunately, I quite like the body in wheat beers, as they can be a bit bland without it. Consequently, I wasn’t as happy with this as say the Uinta Hefeweizen. While honey wheat makes for a nice name that provokes thoughts of sweet, fresh-baked bread, I’m yet to try a honey-flavored beer that I was really crazy about. The flavor was a bit more sour and sharp than what I wanted, which would have been OK had there been more to it than that. Unfortunately there wasn’t. It was served with a slice of lemon, which I didn’t squeeze into the beer. Awesome beer does not rely on citrus juice for flavor.

It’s a good beer, not to be turned down. But not the best of what Red Rock has to offer, in my opinion. Especially considering how wonderful their Blonde and Nut Brown ales are.

Red Rock Nut Brown Ale

Posted in American Craft Beer, Red Rock, Utah Beer by dailybeerproject on March 31, 2010

After enjoying the Trader IPA while waiting for our table, I contemplated ordering another one with dinner. But I also remembered Alex saying that when he goes to Red Rock, he usually orders their nut brown ale, and Porcupine happens to have the Red Rock nut brown ale on tap.

I haven’t been head over heels about any of the brown ales (Newcastle, Samuel Smith’s) I’ve tried to date, so I had no idea whether I would like this one or not. In short, I was blown away by how good it was. It’s perfectly malty sweet with just a touch more hops than the other brown ales I’ve tried. The hops provide a bit of bite that provides a pleasant but in no way overpowering complement to the malt.

This is an incredibly awesome beer, and now the difficulty is going to be sampling other beers when I go to Porcupine. They keep 24 beers on tap, of which I’ve tried 20, so thankfully this dilemma is finite in nature.

The real, real bonus, though, is that as I’ve mentioned before, the primary motivation for this project was being able to enjoy a beer with friends after a bike ride. Red Rock is a common destination for that, so it works out nicely that one of theirs is a beer I consider to be among the most awesome. I’m already looking forward to my next one.

Red Rock Blonde Ale & Phase 2 of this Project

Posted in American Craft Beer, Red Rock, The Project, Utah Beer by dailybeerproject on March 10, 2010

This project has introduced me to a number of fine local beers. In fact, I’ve become fascinated enough with the local offerings that I’ve tried to sample new ones whenever possible. Ironically, one of the local brewpubs I had not yet tried a beer from, Red Rock, was what motivated me to start the project to begin with. You see Red Rock is in a convenient location for the end of a bike ride. And beer goes with bike rides like cleavage goes with the Oscars–you can have the latter without the former, but it just isn’t the same. It was these post bike ride visits to Red Rock with friends that were enjoying their beers that motivated me to do this project. Yet for whatever reason, I never got around to trying anything from Red Rock until now.

That changed recently when I stopped by one of my favorite watering holes after skiing. They had Red Rock Blonde Ale on tap, so I ordered a pint. It is an eminently agreeable and delicious beer. No surprise given my affinity for golden ales, but I’m certainly pleased to find yet another of local provenance that I enjoy. Especially since it’s available at places I frequent. It goes without saying that this beer gets a rating of awesome.

So I mentioned when I finished the official “project” that I’d keep posting as occasion permitted, I was just departing from the daily ritual. And I wasn’t going to limit myself to beer.

Well, I plan to continue doing that, but being as I am a bit on the thorough and systematic side of the spectrum, I decided to launch another phase of this project: I intend to sample every locally-produced beer in the state.

This is a big undertaking, so I’m not giving myself a deadline, and it won’t include all the seasonal varieties (one of the smaller brewpubs has dozens of seasonals but only five year-round offerings). I’ve identified 75 beers from ten breweries that I’ll get to before I’m done.

Of the ten breweries, I’ve sampled at least one beer from seven of them for a total of 26 beers already. I’ve sampled every beer Bohemian offers. Which is not to say I won’t be going back to Bohemian, because Bohemian is awesome. Squatters has the largest selection, and because of proximity and convenience, I’ve already sampled nine of 12 beers and could easily be done with Squatters and Wasatch within a week. And of course, I’ll write about every one, so stay tuned.