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Body of Evidence 

Beers that are heavy in the mouth, not in the tummy.

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MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

Bewilder - Ahhhroma SMASH: You may have seen the term SMASH associated with beers in your favorite brewpubs. Single malt and single hop (SMASH) beers are simple recipes, just as described. This ale features a new hop variety called Ahhhroma, along with a new malt from Solstice Malts called Buzz. Don't look at me—I'm not naming this stuff.

I've never crushed fresh Ahhhroma hops in my hands and then inhaled the residue, but it must smell something like this pale ale. Actually, that isn't strictly true. The beer also has a sweet pale maltiness that gives depth and breadth to the hop resins. I hadn't noticed it before, but this hop's muskiness reminds me, in some respects, of Cascade and Hallertau.

The thing that makes this insanely delicious beer, though, is that it isn't only about the hops. Somewhere, way down deep, lives a sugar cookie-like pale maltiness that just does manage to take the intensely serrated edges off the alpha acids. Aging this ale should be a crime punishable by death; as fresh as possible is the only way to go.

I never knew that Ahhhroma hops were this fruity. I'm getting tons of peach and apricot, along with tidal waves of sticky orange marmalade and shards of bitter lemon. Each mouthful is an explosion of hop flavor that lasts and lasts and lasts. I better slow down, or there won't be anything left to assess the mouthfeel.

Verdict: While it's not a perfect beer, this elixir is pure pleasure in the mouth. It's at least medium-full, and is as plush as one could ever hope for. It seems that the Bewilder team have struck the perfect balance between luxuriousness and ease of drinkability.

Kiitos/Grid City - Deconstructed Rye: This is quite an anomaly in the beer world, as it features an unheard-of 80 percent rye malt. Why is that so unusual? Well, rye is a very sticky and oily malt, where is nearly impossible to extract its wort in high amounts. Only Kiitos' brew system can squeeze all of the rye goodness from the grain. The result is a spicier malt with a very round mouthfeel.

This beer pours a lighter copper color with a two-finger thick, creamy white head. The aroma is a mix of rye and a bit of almost wheat-breadiness. There are some other lighter aromas of a caramel sweetness and some light pine and grassy aromas, which produce a rather pleasant and balanced, sweetly malty and bready hopped smell.

The taste begins with a big bready flavor mixed with some strong rye flavors. Upfront there is also a good level of caramel sweetness that fades ever so slightly as the flavor advances to the end. The bready flavor remains ever-constant throughout the taste, with the rye growing slightly stronger as the taste advances to the end. Ultimately, the malty flavors are met by some piney and citrusy hops, producing a rather smooth rye bread flavor with a light bit of bitterness to linger on the tongue. The body for this 5.0 percent brew is thick, full and creamy, with a carbonation level that is on the lower side of average.

Verdict: This is a smooth rye beer accentuating a malty body instead of more hoppy flavor, like many rye brews seem to focus on. While a tiny bit more hop flavor would have enhanced the flavors a bit, overall it was rather enjoyable to drink and quite tasty.

As a special treat, Deconstructed Rye is also available on the nitro tap at Grid City only, making it extra-extra-creamy. Ahhhroma SMASH is exclusive to Bewilder, and is also at 5.0 percent. As always, cheers!

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