We’re still here, still surviving. From the number of marks etched on my walls, I see it’s been 25 days since Utah’s bars, restaurants, and breweries were ordered to close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Some have been able to convert to take-out food service and maintain to-go beer sales, but others have found that staying open under these conditions is not safe or sustainable. We hold out hope that all our breweries will be able to weather the storm and re-open when the crisis has passed. As the days go by, we do what we can to survive by eating and drinking our way through this pandemic.
In the past two weeks, we’ve seen some breweries that were open after the shut-down, like Strap Tank Brewery and Bohemian Brewery, make the hard decision to close their doors until further notice. For some businesses, it’s difficult to justify keeping staff at work when sales are down drastically and there are very real health risks involved with continuing operations. Those who do remain open, may be doing so to keep workers on the job who stand to lose needed income and health benefits. Even so, laying off employees has been unavoidable for most.
As a massage therapist, I was forced to close my practice two weeks ago. Without my main source of income, it’s been difficult to support local breweries as much as I’d like. I am fortunate that Red Rock Brewery, despite an ongoing hemorrhaging of their cash flow, has decided to continue to pay the Crafty Beer Girls to write this blog. For that, I am truly grateful. They are doing what they can to continue to support as many of their employees as possible by keeping all three restaurant locations (downtown, Park City, and Fashion Place) open and serving take-out food for curbside pickup. Not only that, but Red Rock has been discounting the food 50% to support those in the community, like me, who may not be able to afford to eat out now. Believe me, when you’re sick of cooking at home, a takeout meal seems heaven-sent! Beer is available to-go from the downtown pub and Beer Store.
My husband and I ordered takeout from the Fashion Place location earlier this week for a respite from our daily meal preparations. I was happy to learn the health of every employee is continuously monitored, surfaces are wiped down with bleach, hands are washed, and gloves are changed constantly. Orders and payments are taken over the phone. When customers drive up to pick up food, a worker wearing a mask comes out to deposit the order in the trunk or back seat of their vehicle. You can do your part to protect them by wearing a mask yourself and making sure that your trunk or back seat is available to them, so they don’t have to come in close contact with you or other passengers.
In general, Utah’s breweries are doing a great job providing safe places to purchase their wares and adapting to our new reality. I’ve been able to make some rounds to pick up a few freshies to enjoy from home. Here are some of the highlights.
Quarantine Buddy from 2 Row Brewing
If you’re feeling lonely, let this hazy IPA keep you company. Packed with Idaho 7 and Citra hops, it’s a party in a bottle! After a few sips of your new pal, you’ll be ready to conquer isolation like a boss.
Pink Boots are out!
In addition to the Imperial Pink Ale from Epic Brewing, there are now three more beers made with the 2020 Pink Boots hop blend (Azacca, El Dorado, Idaho Gem, and Loral) available to the public. Red Is the New Pink, a hoppy red ale, is available at Kiitos Brewing in 16 oz cans. This Is Fine, a rye pale ale brewed in collaboration with the Hop Bombshells Homebrew Club, is available at SaltFire Brewing in 16 oz cans. Pink Boots Have More Fun blonde ale is available in crowlers from Uinta Brewing. Although they all use the same hop blend, each beer has a personality of its own that brings a little something different to the flavor profile.
Birthday Suit Blackberry Lemon Tart from Uinta Brewing
Spending some time outdoors doing yard work during the quarantine? The world may be on hold, but the seasons are still changing. If you’ve managed to work up a sweat, this light, refreshing blackberry lemon tart ale with lactose is just the thing. It’s not a punch in the mouth, but it will get those taste buds tingling!
25 Years (Anniversary) Belgian Style Quad from Red Rock Brewing
Bigger is better with this 12.5% ABV Belgian quad. It’s rich and complex with notes of cherries, raisins, brown sugar, and a touch of clove. If the world is feeling a bit scary, wrap yourself in the warm, sweetness of this beer, and let that slow, creeping buzz embrace you.
Boilermaker Series #4 from Sugar House Distillery
I splurged on a bottle of this whiskey finished in barrels that formerly housed Furlong, the bourbon barrel-aged Imperial stout from Red Rock. Following the Boilermaker Series from Sugar House Distillery has been quite the journey! In my previous articles on the Boilermaker Series (Whiskey Aged in Beer Barrels? and The Boilermaker Series from Sugar House Distillery), I explore what happens when distilleries use beer barrels to finish whiskey. The process adds a whole new layer of complexity to bourbon. Number 4 is my favorite so far. Bold flavors of chocolate, maple, pecan, and spice finish nicely with a touch of coffee and tobacco. I do recommend drinking it alongside a bottle of Furlong. I like how the whiskey brought out notes of maple and pecan in the beer I hadn’t noticed before.
If you don’t already have a bottle of the latest Boilermaker, it is sadly sold out. But some has been set aside for Red Rock and a few other bars and restaurants, so you will be able to enjoy it when this is all over. Something to look forward to!
There are many other amazing beers being released every week during this period of quarantine. Please follow your local breweries on social media to stay informed on the latest. If you can, drop by and grab a few fresh, cold ones to get you through these tough times. Remember to wear a mask and keep a safe distance from workers and other patrons. We can survive this. Beer is the answer!
Check out our list of Utah breweries and how you can help them in Circle the Boots: Utah Breweries Stay Strong Amid Coronavirus Pandemic