Just call it beer for change.
Wasatch Brewery is showing its support of same-sex marriage in Utah with a new beer that pairs two similar ingredients.
Called Live and Let Live, the blonde pale ale was produced using “two beautiful malts and two wonderful hops, all fermented with a pair of yeasts,” says Wasatch brewer Dan Burick.
The beer is 4 percent alcohol by volume — that’s 3.2 by weight — and will be available on draft beginning Friday, Valentine’s Day. (See list for specific locations.)
The gray-toned label that customers will see on the tap handle shows what looks to be a couple — possibly two men, maybe two women — in orange parkas embracing as they ride a ski lift.
In a news release announcing the new beer, Wasatch founder Greg Schirf said the brewery has been accepting of same-sex couples for many years and has been a practitioner of its own “civil union.”
“In 2000, we entered into a partnership with another brewery much like ours,” he said, referencing a partnership with Squatters Craft Beers. The union, known as the Utah Brewers Cooperative, “is still happily ‘married’ today.”
Schirf joked that much like same-sex unions, the beer is probably not for everyone in Utah, but Wasatch will not force it on those who prefer more traditional brew styles: “These pairings are not the norm in Utah right now and we expect resistance from many,” he joked. “However, we are confident that in the near future Utah will look back and wonder why they didn’t embrace and celebrate Live and Let Live’s natural combinations. They will also realize that Live and Let Live is not a threat to traditional beers.”
Since Wasatch Brewery was founded 28 years ago in Mormon-dominated Utah, beer drinkers have come to expect a touch of irreverence. Wasatch has poked fun at Utah culture with beers including Polygamy Porter (“Why have just one!”), Evolution Amber Ale and its Darwin-approved seal (“Created in 27 days, not 7”) and, of course, the St. Provo Girl, a spin-off on St. Pauli Girl (which because of legal issues is now known as Provo Girl).
Moudi Sbeity heard of the new Wasatch Beer a few weeks ago and thought it was a “lovable” way to talk about the same-sex issue in conservative Utah.
“It just shows the strength in our community. Not just the LGBT community, but the business community as well,” said Sbeity, who along with partner Derek Kitchen was among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that challenged Utah’s same-sex marriage ban.
When Seth Anderson was told about the new beer on Wednesday, he was similarly thrilled.
“I know where I’m going for Valentine’s Day,” he said. “It’s a great idea. I wish I had thought of it.”
Anderson and his husband, Michael Ferguson, were the first same-sex couple to be married after a federal judge overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage in December. Since then, the marriages have been put “on hold” while the state appeals the decision.
While Live and Let Live is among the first items to poke fun at Utah’s same-sex court battle, it probably will not be the last.
Sbeity and Kitchen, who operate Laziz Foods, also are hoping to play on the same-sex issue to promote their specialty hummus business this summer.
“For the downtown market, we’re coming out with a T-shirt that says ‘Hummusexual,’ ” said Sbeity. “On the back it will say ‘Live Love Laziz.’ ”
Where to get Live and Let Live
Wasatch Brewery pays homage to Utah same-sex couples with a beer that pairs two of the same ingredients. It will be available on tap beginning Friday, Feb. 14, at the following locations:
Bout Time Pub and Grill • Cottonwood, The Gateway, Park City, West Valley, West Jordan, Herriman, Taylorsville.
Wing Nutz • South Jordan
Duffy’s Tavern • Salt Lake City
Poplar Street Pub • Salt Lake City
Paper Moon • South Salt Lake
Dick N’ Dixie’s • Salt Lake City
Lumpy’s Sports Bar and Grill • Highland location only
Willie’s Lounge • Salt Lake City
The Point After Sports Bar • Murray
Double Tree Airport Inn • Salt Lake City
Wasatch Brewpub • Park City
Squatters Pub Brewery • Salt Lake City, Park City and The Salt Lake International Airport