Donovan Steel, Head Brewer for Hoppers Brew Pub, won the gold medal in the “Munich-Style Helles” for his “Helles Festbier” at the 2013 “Great American Beer Festival” held in Denver Colorado. He beat out 41 other entries.
A home brew shop is where Steel got his start in the brewing business. He took over as Hopper’s Head Brewer in 2007. As a small brewpub making small batches, Steel uses only high quality domestic grains and specialty hops. Most of his grains are purchased from Canada and the Northwest region of the United States.
Currently, Hoppers has ten beers on draft, up from eight beers last year, plus the “Brewer’s Seasonal Brew.” The Seasonal Brew is “Double Black.” Steel describes it as “a nice pitch black lager, smooth and malty, pretty low hops. It has been really popular.”
In two weeks they will have a New Zealand draft. This will be his first time to do a New Zealand style beer. “It’s kind of like an English mild ale, but it slowly turns into a lager, amber to light brown lager, pretty well hopped but still has a nice malty-ness to it, says Steel.” According to Beer Geek, “The most widely recognized style of beer to have originated in New Zealand is NZ Draught. The beer is usually brewed using the continuous fermentation process and lager yeast.”
Steel brews his “lager” beers to the standards of the Reinheitsgebot, also known as the “German Beer Purity Law.” According to these standards, the only ingredients allowed in the production of beer are water, barley and hops.
Utah beer drinkers are “absolutely more adventurous with trying new things, new beer styles, darker beers, ‘hoppier’ beers,” says Steel.
The first law Steel would change if he were Governor of Utah, “I would allow higher than 4 percent alcohol content for draft beer,” the same wish of many a brewers and beer drinkers alike in Utah. Let’s elect a brewer for the next Governor.
Steel, along with his Assistant Brewer of three years, Richard Rodriguez, are crafting over 600 barrels a year. Their beers are still only available on draft and in growlers sold at the restaurant.