A Little Help From Our Friends | Drink | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

A Little Help From Our Friends 

Utah's homebrew clubs fan the flames of ingenuity.

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Members of Hop Bombshell at SaltFire Brewing - BECKY PETERSON
  • Becky Peterson
  • Members of Hop Bombshell at SaltFire Brewing

The odds are pretty good that the beer you're drinking had its genesis in some homebrewer's kitchen. It's not unusual for homebrewers to make the transition from hobbyist to professional; given our state's difficult and infamous alcohol restrictions, I wouldn't be surprised if a whole lot of Utah's beer-loving population experiments with the art of homebrewing at some point. A popular way for pro brewers to give back to their brothers and sisters in brew is to collaborate with various homebrew clubs around the state on a special beer. It's a great reminder to brewers of where they came from, while showcasing what the up-and-coming men and women have to offer.

Utah's Hop Bombshells and The Lauter Day Brewers are two of the most recent homebrew clubs to collaborate on beers with professional breweries. Both clubs are thick with awards and accolades from Utah and around the country. Here's what the clubs came up with in their most recent collaborations.

Saltfire & Hop Bombshells' Fury Kolsch: Hop Bombshells is Utah's preeminent all-ladies homebrew club. Their beer pours a nice yellow color that took on more of a golden hue when held to the light, with a finger's worth of bubbly and slightly creamy off-white head. The aroma has a slightly higher amount of bready sweetness than is typical, with a nice hint of tropical aromas. The taste is similar to the aroma, with a medium amount of sweetness accompanying those same bready, doughy and biscuit-like malt aspects. Next comes some doughy yeast, which leads into a hop profile that skews more toward berry and tropical rather than herbal and grassy. It finishes with light bitterness and a nice grainy malt aftertaste.

Overall: As far a Kolsches go, this isn't exactly to style. However, the uniqueness doesn't detract from its drinkability. The more Americanized aspects of this beer, (i.e non-traditional hops) make this a highly drinkable and unusual 7.2 percent alcohol brew. Available at Saltfire and select local beer pubs.

Wasatch & Lauter Day Brewers' Raspberry Saison: A shallow scarlet haze forms over the base beer's goldenrod, which is briefly topped with an effervescent white head. In the nose, the beer opens with a nice aroma of bright yeast esters; raspberry seems subdued, with light tart fruit notes. An abundant amount of raspberry washes over the tongue, casting aside much of the aroma's nuances. Although the yeast is present, the light spices take on more of a supporting role, letting the fruit do most of the heavy lifting. The finish is sweet but far from cloying, balanced by dry spice and tart fruit notes for a highly drinkable fruited saison.

Overall: While the base saison gets a little lost, let's not forget that this is a raspberry beer, and we'd all be pissed as hell if the raspberry was muted. We all love saisons at some level, but in this case, it was the fruit that caught our eye. The Lauter Day Brewers are one of the area's most awarded homebrew groups, and this 4 percent beer shows why. Available at Wasatch Park City and West Side Tavern at the Utah Brewers Cooperative.

There are more than 20 homebrew clubs around the state, and those that manage to get a beer produced will see them in very limited batches. I urge you to keep your eyes open for these pro-am beers while visiting your local brewery/brewpub. The next collaboration could be the next big thing. As always, cheers!

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