Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Utah beer fest review

This year I served as a volunteer. I was assigned as a token cashier for the Uinta brewing organic line up. I basically made sure that tokens were collected for each beer poured. Easy stuff.

Here is my assessment.

My booth clearly wins the award for best decorations!
Things started off slowly. About 45 minutes into the festival things were picking up quite a bit. My line moved pretty well with someone dedicated to pouring each of the four beers available in my line.

After my shift was over I got to wander around the festival for a few hours. There was a pretty good size and diverse crowd. The first thing I noticed after making it around the whole venue was that these people wanted real beer! Any tent that was serving beer over 4% had huge lines. And remember this is a pay per pour event, and those bigger beers cost more. Over at Uinta we had three tents. One for organics, one for the standard line up, and the last was for the full strength Crooked line. My line for organic beer had about 4x the people come through it as compared to the standard line up. However the line for Crooked beer did 10 times the pours as the other two combined (or so it seemed). The story was the same everywhere else. People want those beer styles you just cannot make at 4.0% or less.
It's clear there are still things to improve, but it was much better than previous attempts. Some of these issues have to do with the lines. Some of the lines were taking up to 15 minutes. Yes, that is clearly better than in the past, but they are still the longest lines I have seen at any beer festival I have been to. 15 minutes is kind of a long wait for a sample.

There was a clear focus on line management, and you could tell things were much better in that regard. The biggest issue causing these lines is somewhat out of the hands of the organizers. It's the stupid laws and the fact that we can't really get out of state brewers in here. More choice would bring all the lines down.

The Brew Crew!
The last thing I would love to see is more of the breweries bringing in special edition beers. I heard that one the few out of state breweries, Full Sail, did that this year. Come on Utah brewers! Lets see some new beers introduced or brewed just for the festival next year!

Free 1 liter flip top bottles. Another volunteer perk thanks to the bottle recycling program run by Salt City Brew Supply. Those guys are awesome!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beer Fest today!

The Utah Beer Fest is happening later today. I will be volunteering at one of the brewers tents, but I don't know which yet.

It should be fun. let's hope it is better organized than past years!

I will post an after Fest review later!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Brew day 8/25 - Tripel Double Belgian IPA

Fall is in the air, so what do we brew? How about a Belgian Tripel that's hopped like an IPA? A marriage of my two favorite styles? Yes please!

This is not the first fall beer that comes to mind, but this is how we operate! This is another odd style, but there are some commercial examples out there. I tried Le Freak from Green Flash last week and thought it was pretty good. We also have a version brewed here in SLC by Epic called Brainless Corruption. It is pretty close to what we plan on brewing up today. Although I hope it's more like Le Freak.

This recipe comes straight from the Houblonmonstres (Ardennes Forest Beer Gnomes). They came up with the recipe shortly after one of the gnomes returned from a trip to America and developed a taste for aggressive American hops. In order to stay true to their Belgian roots, a combination of classic Continental hops and big American hops was developed. The malt bill on this is all Belgian with only pale malt and a bunch of sugar. The IBU's might seem a little high, but based on my experience, the Belgian yeast is going to knock the perceived IBU's down quite a bit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012 Beehive Brew off results

Another Beehive brew off is in the books. I was hoping to help judge and or steward this year, but I ended up being out of town so I could not even attend the awards ceremony.

I was super stoked to hear that we placed with 3 of the beers entered. Again, I was not able to attend so I have not even seen the score sheets yet. Tim, my brother in law and co-brewer attended and picked them up.

1st Place - Imperial Stout (Sesquac, Russian Imperial Stout)
This beer has always been amazing even at a young age. It was brewed last September so it was about a year old at the time of judging. We called this thing a bunch of different names, but I settled on Sesquac, a version of the word Sasquatch. You can see a full post on this beer along with the recipe in a previous blog post. It uses the traditional RIS ingredients, and out of style yeast. The yeast we used was French Saison. Yes, kind of out there, but it works sooo well. Everyone that has ever tried this beer has enjoyed it. There is something about that yeast that just takes the dark and strong RIS character and tames it.

I was worried this beer might do terrible. This beer went on a crazy journey. It was kegged, then bottled into 22's with a beer gun. I really wanted to enter it, but 22's are not accepted. So Tim and I poured a couple of bottles back into a keg and rebottled it into 12oz bottles. SO it went Keg>bottle>keg>bottle>DRINK

3rd place - Belgian Specialty (Oaked Belgian Stout)
This beer received the highest score of any of our beers, but with the high number of entries in this category it wasn't enough to place higher. This is another sort of out of the box beer. I mean when was the last time you had a Belgian stout? I like coming up with names for my beers, but with this one I felt the name should just equal the beer style as to not confuse anyone on what it is supposed to be.

3rd place - Meads (Behemothic Braggot)
The last beer I had place was this project I started over two years ago. This was a brew that turned into 3 different beers. The version I entered used the Old Ale yeast blend. Into the kettle I added meadow sweet and chamomile. 6 months into secondary another pound of honey was added for the brett, and it sat on oak for quite a while as well. I bottled it up about a year ago. This stuff is very strong, my guess is about 15%. I struggle to drink this, but have found that it is pretty nice when cut with a lighter beer. I also have a blog post on this brew.

Judge comments to come...

Time to start thinking about next year!