Perusing the all-too-familiar selection of beers at my local supermarket recently, I was thrilled to find something new: four different beers from Utah’s new Unsacred Brewing. And not just new beers, but ones that come in a large-format 1-pint, 6-ounce bottle. Woot! They sell for $3.99 each at my supermarket.
For reasons I can’t quite fathom—unless they’re just being coy or tongue-in-cheek—the folks behind Unsacred Brewing have been mysteriously mum. I don’t get the secretive approach, unless it’s just part of the marketing shtick around Unsacred brews, which goes something like this: “Lifetime full-strength beer drinkers, the owners and brewers of Unsacred wish to remain somewhat anonymous considering what a shameful act they believe this to be.” That’s from a press release announcing the launch of four Unsacred beers, which are brewed to be 4 percent alcohol by volume—3.2 percent by weight. In other words: shameful 3.2 beers from the makers of full-strength ones.
To be honest, though, many of us beer drinkers love a lower-alcohol “session” beer, as they’re called in the U.K.: beers that you can sip without getting too full or too sloppy. I’ve said it before about Squatters, Uinta, Bohemian, Red Rock and others of Utah’s 3.2 beer producers: There is absolutely nothing wrong with 3.2 beer. In fact, I think it’s a lot harder to make a great 3.2 beer than a full-strength one, because flaws in the latter are easier to hide with alcohol. Pride should be taken in making a really good 3.2 beer.
Well, I don’t think I’m letting the cat out of the bag by telling you that the Unsacred line of 3.2 beers is made by none other than the guys at Epic Brewing: David Cole, Peter Erickson and their talented team. Given the kudos and piles of awards that Epic has garnered for their excellent full-strength brews, I’d be telling everyone that Epic is behind Unsacred, if it were my venture. I’d be singing it at the top of my lungs. But, as I say, I think part of the secrecy is simply marketing and PR.
As for the beers themselves, I may not be as knowledgeable about beer as I am about wine—although I used to be a hard-core home brewer—but I have to say that my first impression of the Unsacred quartet of 3.2 beers is that they are simply sensational. There is nothing Unsacred about their rich flavors and excellent craftsmanship.
The first one I tried is a really great everyday Bud or Coors substitute: The Vision Lager. Actually, it’s “unsacred” mentioning those other two mega-brews in the same breath as Unsacred, since there’s really no comparison. The Vision is an American-style lager that is clean and crisp, with a silky texture and a pretty pilsner malt finish. It was a winner with choucroute garnie I had cooked up.
Next, I really liked the hop profile of Priesthood Pale Ale—nice and spicy and crisp. I admit to being a bit of a hophead, and the hop level of this Pale Ale was a pleasant surprise—made with Cascade hops, if I were to venture a guess.
Rimando’s Wit Beer is named for Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who is apparently a fan of Wit-style beers. It’s a smooth, slightly fruity beer with hints of orange and ginger. Really nice. Finally, the fourth in the Unsacred series is Unfaithful IPA, which is another hoppy beer, drier and more bitter than the Pale Ale—a slam-dunk with chicken tikka masala.
Praise be and pass the 3.2 brew!