When I was traveling with family throughout the Four Corners region nine years ago, we stopped for lunch outside of Utah’s Monument Valley. I found some Wasatch Brewers Cooperative Polygamy Porter. Tasty stuff, but I couldn’t help but remark on its miniscule ABV; only 4%. Not that I require any beer to be monster strength for it to be of merit.
There’s a scene in the movie SLC, Punk! describing the weak brew available in Salt Lake. The main character laments how it causes drunks to double up on their intake to make up for it thus ending up bloated.
Prior to Prohibition, Utah had a thriving beer industry like so many other states. Only one main brewery survived – Becker – and began to face competition from the national macro-producers.
Highways began to cut across the rugged and isolated terrain. This gave the big boys the proverbial inroad to the tiny mining and ranching communities previously supplied by the regional brewers. Further encouraged by the religious climate of Salt Lake City, beer’s alcohol contents plummeted. The public’s perception of what beer could or should be dropped with it.
So was all Utah beer low in alcohol until just recently? No! Brewer Greg Schirf got the Utah liquor laws changed and opened up his eponymous brewery in 1986; the state’s first in almost 20 years.
Del Vance was a student at University of Utah when he picked up a keg of Schirf Beer. It was so unlike the watery lager that began to rule the West that he found it life-changing. By 1993 he had opened Uinta Brewing Co.
The brewery’s name, by the way, comes from the Uinta mountain range in Utah, the tallest one in the US running east-to-west. It’s not asking if we’re down with beer.
We’re proud to announce that Hopjacks Filling Station was the first location in town to pick up beer from this amazing brewery. Quickly following suit, Hopjacks’ Downtown location just got Uinta Hop Nosh IPA.
What a beautiful India pale ale! Bright copper-orange with a frothy head that towers higher than Left Mitten Butte, Hop Nosh explodes with scents of lemongrass, spruce, grapefruit rind, tropical fruits, a touch of melon and firm, biscuit malt. Bitter hops linger in the extremely long finish after slam dancing around the palate with bready-sweet malt, caramel, pineapple, flowers, pine and a hint of grass. Its mouth feel is medium-bodied with a slightly chewy texture delivering balanced flavors and a sturdy 7.3% ABV.
Due to the efforts of pioneers like Vance and Schirf there are now multiple breweries producing top-quality beer of all styles and strengths in Utah. Welcome to Florida, Uinta Brewing, and thank you for changing my perception of what Utah beer can be.