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Alternate Endings 

Hops drive this week's beers into unusual directions

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click to enlarge MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

Roha Brewing Project - Dog Tag IPA: RoHa's newest beer helps our warriors at home, and helps dogs find a home of their own. Determined to end miliary veteran suicide, K9s For Warriors is the nation's largest provider of trained service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma. RoHa partnered with K9s for Warriors and Mountain Malt to create a special ale with a unique hop blend made specifically for this charity. Proceeds from the sale of this beer will go directly to K9s for Warriors.

Though much lighter in color than common RoHa IPAs, the beer builds a rich lather atop the beer. High rates of retention and lace create the classy look that affirms IPA character. Sharp aromas of freshly shaven wood, lemon peel and cracked peppercorn leap out above a malt foundation of bread crust and cashews. Although the aromas remain hop-centric, the malty scent offers more of a rebuttal than is common in the style.

Similarly, the flavors favor the hop blend, but only slightly. The sharp tastes of sandalwood and lemon zest play off the tongue with an immediate bitter pang. The peppery notes and tannin-like bitterness assist the smoother bitter notes, and seem to be in stark contrast to the sweeter malt underneath. It's light bodied, yet the beer carries a richer overtone from the heaviness of the hops and carbonation.

Overall: The woody hop bitterness is accompanied by the tannin-striped astringent of lemongrass and boiled tea leaves. The late dryness is mildly powdery and warming, and steers toward a tonic-like aftertaste.

Bewilder - WhistleGoWoo: This beer is a saison at heart, with a huge amount of hops punching it up to be something a little different. It pours with unfiltered clarity featuring an orange-tinge. The head is everlasting, with several fingers of white foam clinging to my glass; lace show is, as usual for these guys, impressive and consistent. The nose starts with earthy and spicy notes—orange marmalade and lemon zest, along with the typical saison aromas of white pepper and light clove phenols. Citrus is prominent at first, but fades over time

The flavor is wheat-forward with some nice interplay from the unabashed hop presence. Lots of tangerine and lemon qualities emerge, plus a slight tropical tinge and some grapefruit. Malt hits in the back with a spicy dryness, and plays well with the intense yeastiness present. The multi-grain malt bill helps bring some complexity to what can sometimes be a thin, overly-attenuated style with very light flavors, despite the 5 percent ABV. The dry-hop comes in to really push some extra aroma/flavor without making it feel too dry or bitter.

Overall: This is a really good drink. The hops here elevate things into a slightly more complex direction, and the dry-hop is appreciable, though not too heavy-handed, to be honest. It's more apparent when the beer is chilled, so keep that in mind when approaching this one. As enjoyable as it is, you have to be a fan of citrus-forward hops to get the most out of it. To be honest, I've been on a bit of a saison break. The heavy phenolic yeast profiles just haven't been agreeing with me lately. The hop profile here, however, helps balance out the clove from the yeast to make it a pleasant drinking experience.

You can find WhistleGoWoo on draft at Bewilder right now. The Dog Tag IPA is also exclusive to RoHa's draft handles, and what could be a better cause than veterans in need being paired with a K9 pal. As always, cheers!

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