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Eat & Drink » Drink

Silver Linings

There's a bright side to Southern Utah's brutal heat



Did you know St. George, Utah has its own brewery, too? It's co-owned by Las Vegas' Ellis Island Brewery and Casino, and has taken on the mantle of the official thirst-quencher of Southern Utah. The Wasatch Front can now share in their glee, and I have a few tasting notes to help get you acquainted.

Silver Reef Amber Ale: This amber pours brilliantly clear. Malts commingle with hop aromas very well here, imparting a nice and sweet caramel note with suggestions of toffee, while earthy hops round out the nose. Their presence is marked by a big floral aroma with hints of pine and citrus.

The hops' floral strength is undercut in the taste by earthy pine needles and uprooted clumps of grass. The malt holds its own, pushing back against the hops with sweet caramel and toffee, plus a freshly-opened loaf of white bread. This St. George brew is medium in body and a bit creamy, finishing with a piney hop punch of moderate bitterness and a crisp carbonation bite to really round out the feel nicely. Better than the average amber.

Quarantine Desirability Rating: There is an old Vulcan proverb that says, "Only Nixon can go to China"—or something like that. Ambers have been the gateway beer for many, but have never gotten the street cred they deserve. This 5.0 percent ale scores high on the cloistering chart.

Silver Reef Mexican Style Lager: Pours pale yellow with a light fog tint to it. Aroma is clean, showcasing light notes of straw, raw grain, spicy and herbal hops and biscuity, bready malts.

The flavor profile is spicy, herbal and floral hops, with just a skosh of citrus. Bready, biscuity malts give it a yeasty, undercooked bread aftertaste. There are bits and pieces of toasty, wafery and crackery malts as well; it's light and tight. Mouthfeel is crisp and focused, with fizzy effervescence that settles well on the tongue to complement the medium-thin consistency. Overall, it's crisp, light and balanced, with favorable hops driving the bus. Easily crushable and very enjoyable.

Quarantine Desirability Rating: This 5.0 percent lager will keep you happy while shuttered, and possesses the magic ability to polish your palate. It took me from Chalupa madness to Ramone's mole faster than a 14-year-old's eye roll. Olé!

Silver Reef Fresh and Juicy: Hazy amberish-orange in the glass, it completely looks the part. The nose brings with it a bit of leathery citrus that plays off of the sweet malt; notes of melon, citrus and pine peek through towards the end of the whiff.

Flavor-wise, this is definitely part of the new school of juicy/fruity IPAs, but with an added distinction: melon. There is an earthy woodiness about this one, too, possibly derived from the grain bill that alters the juiciest aspect of the hops. The bitterness may be a little overdeveloped, which will make the kids wince a bit while we seasoned assholes nod approvingly. The bitterness gives way to herbal notes and a hint of super-bitter orange juice, or maybe it's imagined due to the oddly quenching body that tried to impress upon me something refreshing, like juice.

Quarantine Desirability Rating: This 5.0 percent session beer falls into that medium-to-light cloistering range. It reminds me of Charo: Just when you think you've got her all figured out, you hear her play flamenco and your whole world is upside-down.

You may be saying to yourself, "That dumbass beer nerd forgot to mention Silver Reef's Color Country Red Ale," but I actually profiled that one when it debuted in 2019. You can find all of Silver Reef's beers at most grocery stores now, along with two higher-alcohol beers that are available at DABC stores. We'll get to those in the coming weeks.

As always, cheers!