Growing up essentially LDS, It wasn’t until about 2002 that I understood the appeal of our local craft beer. I first discovered Uinta’s Cutthroat Pale Ale. Cutthroat was essentially Utah’s state beer named after our state fish. But I learned it was their attention to their hops that made the beer so consistently great. Originating from the Pacific Northwest, their unique pine and fruit hops balanced with caramel malt is amazing paired with a juicy BBQed cheeseburger on a summer afternoon.
In my 30s I fell in love with Bohemian’s Czech pilsner. It’s a very light and refreshing Pilsner with full flavor. Bohemian Brewery’s late co-owner and founder was Joe Petras. Joe demonstrated that the technique of the beer pour (maintaining the correct amount of head or foam) was essential to the overall experience.
The foam was indeed a truly unique experience due to what I learned is a unique brewing process known as double-decoction: a time consuming process which essentially adds body to beer foam. This can only be done right by using top-notch European grain and taking the time to mash grain back into wart up to three times. If you haven’t tasted a German or Czech-style pilsner with a foam so thick and creamy you can almost chew it, you haven’t lived. From the traditional-style beers I began to understand that Europeans never forgot how beer should be crafted. Then for years I was on to enjoying Belgium-style farmhouse ales that were either fruity or sour by using unique varieties of yeast.
In my late 30s I savored Red Rock’s Elephino—a robust high-point full of tropical fruit, with subtle pine—tasty and filling from just one bottle. It’s a double-IPA (double dry-hopped).
The IPA boom of the past ten years seems to be waning. Now it seems everyone is into high-point sours. Belgium sours are fantastic, but I’m back to light yet flavorful German Munich-style pilsners and helles. They just simply are the very best “most sessionable” beers. And by using non-GMO, glyphosate-free grains, I feel they are superior to the grain we grow in America. It’s time we learned how to grow grain again. We will likely be writing about this in our upcoming June farm issue.
What all of these beers offer is artistic inspiration in a bottle. Brewing beer consistently right is extremely difficult. There are so many wonderful variations in hops and in yeast and in malt, and it’s quite amazing how much everyone loves reading about beer. With that, drink up and enjoy our Cheers to Beers issue!