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Adjunct Professors 

Two beers that rely on rice and oats for their flavor

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MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

Proper - Oat Face Killah: A play on the name for the lead member of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, this new NEIPA comes in a 16-ounce can with a uniformly hazy (not murky) golden-orange body. A frothy white head rises to ultimately reach just over a finger high, with pretty good retention. Stick your nose into your preferred glassware and you'll notice that the beer gives off a mostly equivalent mix of tropical and citrus fruity hops, with the slight edge going to the citrus, particularly grapefruit (top player here), tangerine and orange. Mango, passionfruit, berry/grape and floral tones fill things out, while a dusty oat smell quickly becomes apparent.

This is definitely one of the more unique IPAs I have had in some time, as the opening is pure hop bliss and the finish is like a bowl of mush. The bright hops stay true to the aroma with grapefruit and tangerine blasting out the gate, moving onward to mango, passionfruit, peach, pine resin, berry and floral tones. Once the beer is gone and a few moments pass, the tsunami of oats (relative to other brews with oats, anyway) rushes onto the palate. Although this is the first IPA I can think of with real oat flavor, this is where oats traditionally do their magic, and it pays off as the silky pillow texture on the palate supports the hops. A touch creamy and chewy, and wonderfully smooth.

Overall: The golden age of Utah "hazys" continues, and is arguably in its prime and/or peaking with IPAs like this. Waves of citrus crash onto a beach of oats—a really nice experience. It's amazing how much the standards have shifted in the 20-plus years that I've been enjoying craft beer.

Talisman - Japanese Rice Lager: As the name states, this new lager from Ogden's Talisman Brewing Company is light golden in color due to the amounts of pilsner malts and the added rice. It's capped with a nice amount of pilsner foam. The aroma adds to the standard Bohemian profile a surprising orange note. It is not actually that specific, but it is floral and citric, and to me it is closest to orange. A bit of toastiness emerges too, but that seems to transform into herbal notes after the first minute or so. Naturally, as the beer warms, the 5.0 percent alcohol starts to push through.

The taste is smooth—the aforementioned floral citric notes, together with the initially assertive bitterness that one starts to get used to quite quickly. This comes across very much like Saaz hops, or possibly Sterling. The initial flavor has an almost lemony character that is dry with a hint of mild grassiness. This gives way to an assertive hoppy finish that is quite herbal, with more grassy and sweet herbal notes. The hop character is backed by toasted grains and biscuit malt, while the rice ensures a dry clean finish

Overall: This adjunct lager manages to retain its crispness and drinkability, which is what I really love about the Japanese style. This one just adds a ton of hops, which makes it all the more tasty. Plus, the lack of alcohol allows the malt and rice to shine. It's a really nice example of lager style that few breweries in the market have attempted.

The Japanese Rice Lager is in limited production and is available on draft at Talisman's brewery, off of 12th Street in Ogden. Oat Face Killah's 7.5 percent ABV puts it out of draft range, but the boys and girls at Proper made plenty to go around in this limited, first time run. As always, cheers.

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