Welcome to Beer Tastings, a series in which Utah Beer News highlights an interesting (and tasty) local brew. This time: Redline Irish-style Red Ale from Bonneville Brewery. What are you drinking? Let us know!
Beer Tastings: Redline
Thirty-five miles west of Salt Lake City sits Bonneville Brewery. It sometimes gets lost in Utah craft beer conversations. One, it’s outside the capital city. And two, it’s been brewing award-winning beers going on eight years now, somehow leaving it out of the new-school–cool-kids-club.
I admit I’m guilty of some out-of-sight, out-of-mind thinking. Fortunately, that changed in January. I visited the Tooele brewery and enjoyed a terrific conversation with Dave Watson, Bonneville’s head brewer.
One of those beers is Redline Irish-style Red Ale. It’s a perfect shoulder-season beer as we transition from winter warmers to crisp refreshers.
The 5% ABV brew pours a reddish-brown — that pops red in the sunlight — and features a creamy off-white foam cap that sticks around just long enough. I pick up aromas of oven-fresh bread and a touch of caramel sweetness.
On the first sip, notes of toasted cereal and caramel shine through. Roasted malts and a muted hop spiciness round out the tasty red ale.
“It’s definitely our most-complex grain bill,” Watson tells me. “It makes it a pain to mill in, but the resulting smell in the brewery makes it all worth it.”
Watson uses a combination of British and Idaho pale and two-row malts. He adds a host of additional specialty grains and caps the sparge with a small amount of hand-milled UK roasted barley. That, he says, gives Redline its reddish hue and adds a hint of roast to the flavor.
The beer is hopped with Nugget and Whitbread Golding Variety. A house ale yeast does its job to deliver a clean, drinkable beer.
The Birth of Redline
Watson, a longtime homebrewer, developed the Redline recipe years ago. Once he arrived at Bonneville in 2012, the brewery owner asked if Watson planned to brew any seasonals.
The question arose while Watson was teaching Bonneville’s staff how to properly serve beer. Taken somewhat by surprise, the brewer turned to a tried-and-true recipe. The rest, as they say, is history.
“It’s a recipe I’d been doing for years,” Watson says. “It’s a style I really like, one you can always go to. And there aren’t many of them, so it fills a little spot that isn’t occupied.”
Redline became the brewery’s first “seasonal” offering and could now be considered Bonneville’s signature beer. It’s available on draft at the brewery and in 12-ounce bottles around town.
- Brewery: Bonneville Brewery
- ABV: 5%
- Serving Style: Bottle (12-ounce)
- Date Tasted: Feb. 19, 2020
- Purchase Location: Smith’s Food & Drug
Redline Irish-style Red Ale — Bonneville Brewery
Product Name: Redline Irish-style Red Ale
Product Description: From Bonneville Brewery: Bready malt aromas accentuate the subtle notes of roast and British-style hops to round out the flavor profile of this Classic Irish-style Red ale.
What started out as Bonneville Brewery’s first season offering has since turned into one of the Tooele brewery’s signature brews.
- Aroma: Oven-fresh bread, a touch of caramel sweetness
- Appearance: Reddish/brown with a smooth cap of off-white foam
- Flavor: Toasted cereal, slight honey/molasses sweetness, roasted malt, and muted hop herbal/spice
- Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Notes: The tasting notes format is adapted from a Homebrew Academy Beer Tasting Mastery course I took in 2017. Utah Beer News is not compensated for beers mentioned in the Tastings series. A version of this article appeared on PorchDrinking.com.