Utah beer news plus a weekly jazz recommendation: It's The Hop & Bop, a new Open Container Friday feature.---
For a full explanation of The Hop & Bop, click here. Basically, it's a weekly rundown of Utah beer news and jazz recommendations. Watch for it every Friday afternoon.
Epic Brewery has released the first of three planned "Fest Devious" autumn beers. The #1 offering went on the shelves this afternoon, but I suspect it won't last long if the people buying cases this afternoon is any sign of sales-to-come. I grabbed a bottle, and here's my quick take: It's got a sweet aroma, slightly sweet without being too fruity. It's a light copper color, typical of a Marzen, and very minimal hop bitterness. It's not a heavy beer, but does have a noticeable sweetness. It's not quite a session-style beer, because the 6.3% a.b.v. and the sweetness would start to overwhelm by the second or third. My recommendation: Buy a bottle and sip it slowly on the porch, then move to a lighter pale or amber ale, such as Epic's Capt. Crompton's.
This week, Squatter's dropped off a couple of their new "Chubbies" to City Weekly. These are essentially mini-kegs, and they are currently selling them filled with either the IPA or Golden Ale (the real stuff, not the 3.2 Chasing Tail). These are perfect for a Sunday football party with a few friends, probably six or fewer. At least for now, I would say that these would also be great to impress people with at a house party -- it's a definite conversation starter. Also, it's probably the closest we'll get, at least for now, to tasting a Utah brewery's beer on tap, so enjoy it. On a related note, Squatter's also recently expanded the hours of their downtown bottle shop (which also has a glass recycling drop-off) at their brewpub. It's open pretty much noon to night, and it's where you can find all of their high-point (plus 3.2) bottled beers and, yes, the Chubbies.
Finally, a little catch-up on the Great American Beer Festival. Most of Utah's brewers won something, but the big winner was Squatter's, which won Best Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year. Mike Riedel's blog has the full run-down here.
Bop: One of my favorite jazz bands, regardless of era, is The Bad Plus. Yes, they are noted for their bizarre, piano-driven covers of well-known songs ("Smells Like Teen Spirt," "Everybody Wants To Rule The World") but I have always been more drawn to their original compositions, such as "1980 World Champion" or "Bug Eater." Earlier this month, they released their first album of all original compositions, and it may be their best yet. Their title track (video below from The Oklahoman) is pretty indicative of the overall hard bop sound.