New Brews, Via Moab 

Moab Brewery gets canned

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With all the epic local beers coming from, well, Epic Brewing—along with Uinta, Squatters, Red Rock, Wasatch, Desert Edge, Bohemian and others—it’s all too easy to forget about our neighbors to the south: Moab Brewery.

However, the folks down at Moab Brewery—including founders John Borkoski and Dave Sabey—aren’t content to be out of sight and out of mind. If you can’t get down to Moab to sample their suds, they’ll come to you. Well, sort of.

For starters, Moab Brewery beers are available in many of our local taverns. And, up in Logan, they’re on tap in abundance at The Beehive Grill, which was created by Borkoski and Logan native Dee Jones. It is said to be Logan’s “first root-beer brew pub.” And yes, there is freshly made root beer there, called Beehive Brew. But there’s also stronger stuff, like Moab Brewery’s Dead Horse Amber Ale, Scorpion Pale Ale, Elephant Hill Hefeweizen, Lizard Wheat Ale and Derailleur Ale, a rich amber brew incorporating six types of malt and four different hops.

In addition, you can find full-strength, 1-liter bottles of Moab Brewery’s select ales at some of our Utah State Liquor Stores, including the Snow Creek Drive location in Park City, Draper, Holladay, West Valley City and Wall Avenue in Ogden. The lineup of full-strength brews (all 8.59 percent alcohol by volume) includes a bodacious Black Imperial IPA, which is a bit of a detour from typical IPAs. This one is dark and brooding, made with Two Row barley, fermented in American oak, dry-hopped and bottle-conditioned. Inspired by artisan brewers in Belgian monasteries, Moab Brewery Triple is made with Pilsen malt, a traditional dash of Belgian candy sugar and hopped with Noble and Saaz hops. Rounding out the select ale roster is Moab Brewery Scotch Ale, a rich, hearty ale with a subtle, smoky flavor from smoked malt, English hops and Scottish yeast. It is aged in French oak and bottle-conditioned. If you love sweet malt, you’ll love this Scotch Ale. Also look for a couple of new high-alcohol brews coming in 2012: Export Stout and Hopped Rye.

At the other end of the spectrum from Moab Brewery’s full-strength ales are a couple of new 4 percent alcohol-by-volume beers that are available in selected grocery stores, including my neighborhood Smith’s. The beers come in 16-ounce cans and are packaged in four-packs. I love almost everything about these new brews. I’m not so fond, however, of the thick, heavy plastic fixtures that cinch the cans together. These high-carbon-footprint fasteners are sure to wind up in landfills somewhere. Isn’t there a better way to package these things?

Anyway, the beers are delicious. First, there is Rocket Bike American Lager. This is a unique, steamer-style lager that has a fruity, hoppy aroma, hints of sweet malt and a crisp, clean finish. It’s a terrific, all-purpose lager suitable for just about any occasion, and would be a big hit at your Super Bowl party.

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of low-alcohol IPAs, since IPAs are fundamentally higher-alcohol in style. Still, I give credit to brewers who attempt to capture IPA qualities while tempering the alcohol. Such is the case with Johnny’s American IPA, which is very appealing as long as you’re not in the market for classic IPA—hence, the “American” moniker. “Put some hops in your step” is Moab’s motto for this IPA, and the beer succeeds. It’s a beautifully bitter beer (bitter is good!), with citrusy aromas, medium-high carbonation and a crisp, hoppy finish ending in a pleasing pucker.

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