When we left Utah, I squirreled 5 beers (one pumpkin ale, four porters) away in my checked luggage in order to have some samples for tasting back at BeerRant HQ. Four of the beers were wrapped carefully in paper and then in plastic grocery bags, then stuffed tightly into shoes while the fifth was equally well wrapped and carefully placed between layers of jeans and a sweatshirt (it snowed in Utah while we were there by the way).
Once home, I eagerly opened the bag and found that our friends from the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) had checked the bags contents and left me a note. Everything was in order and ship shape and I’m not at all bothered by this; in fact I fully expected that it might happen.
Here’s a neat page from the Wasatch website that gives some background into their history and their link with Squatter’s (Salt Lake Brewing Company). No doubt Utah is probably a rough place to make a go as a brewer; their booze laws were a morass of regulations and loopholes the last time someone sat down and tried to explain them to me. A visit by the Winter Olympics may have caused a change in their laws but I don’t know for sure.
Wasatch Pumpkin Ale
Oddly, there is no mention of the Pumpkin Ale on the Wasatch website, which makes me wonder if they’re ashamed of it. The folks at Beer Advocate think Wasatch Pumpkin Ale’s the shizzle and I’d tend to agree, generally. I sampled the Pumpkin Ale both in Utah and back at BeerRant headquarters and I was tempted to save the last of the six-pack for a holiday/pumpkin/Oktoberfest blow out sample post but I’ll include it here since it’s a Utah beer. This is an unfiltered ale and a “brewmaster seasonal’ according to the label. It has a distinct spice smell that is sweet and pleasant. It pours an orange bronze color and has more taste of spice than pumpkin with a medium thick mouth feel. This pumpkin ale isn’t too bad for a beer with low alcohol by volume.
Wasatch Polygamy Porter
Polygamy Porter is the Pumpkin Ale’s irreverent cousin, I guess. I wonder why the brewer didn’t see fit to hang a similarly off-color handle on the pumpkin product? Anyway, Polygamy Porter has a grainy bread smell with a mild alcohol bite. It pours a dark tea color – but not opaque – and has a medium thin mouth feel. There’s a vague coffee taste and a bit of soot there, too. Medium to heavy lacing if poured aggressively. The finish is slightly dry and nutty. Frankly a bit thin and not really representative of the style in my opinion, but certainly worth a shot if only for the novelty. Will I have it again if I’m in Utah? Certainly. Here’s the Beer Advocate feedback for Polygamy Porter. (For those of you keeping score, the porter scored slightly lower than the pumpkin.)
Oh my heck, what is this?
On our last day in Salt Lake City we paid a visit to the downtown area and spent an hour or so mindlessly wandering around Trolley Square. Those of you with a gruesome bent will remember that this mall was the scene of a mass shooting in early 2007. You can get the scoop on the tragedy at Wikipedia. The whole experience was somewhat surreal and only later, while watching a show on the History Channel did I find that many of the stores we went into during our visit were locations that played prominently in the shooting and the shoot out between the gunman and police. But I digress…badly.
I knew from some earlier internet noodling that Trolley Square was home to at least one brewpub and eventually we wound our way upstairs where I found the Desert Edge Brewpub. I’m not able to find a website for them, so here, once again, is a Beer Advocate page, this time for Desert Edge.
I briefly contemplated trying one of two seasonal beers on the menu but opted for their Latter Day Stout instead. I reasoned that the weather was unseasonably cold – it had snowed the day before – and a dark, thick beer would be just the thing to tide me over before our flight home. The stout turned out to be a huge disappointment, really. It arrived looking coffee black with a tan head – not bad. First taste was a grain taste with a hint of chocolate, but then a sooty, burnt taste intruded into the mix. A thin mouth feel only added to the disappointment. The kindest thing I can add is there was a faint Guinness-like taste at the finish. I finished the glass and we beat a hasty exit. I won’t likely make a special effort to return to Desert Edge, but I’ll try to get back to Trolley Square because I particularly like the Cabin Fever store where I purchased a neat book on Christmas beers. (Stay tuned for a review of that book.)
Now back at BeerRant headquarters, I’m trying to make sense of a plethora of pumpkin and spice beers and hoping I’ll be nimble-minded enough to keep everything straight in my head long enough to get the experience posted. My heck, beer blogging is tough.