Cagey Beers | Drink | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Cagey Beers 

When you run out of thing to pair with.

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MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

If Nicholas Cage was a beer, I'm sure he'd be one or both of this week's selections. One is definitely Raising Arizona's H.I. McDunnough, and the other is leaning towards Con Air's Castor Troy. I'm not going to tell you which one is which; you can figure that out as you enjoy this week's intensely over-acted craft ales.

2 Row's Honey Habanero: The good-to-above-average appearance features a nice, deep honey/orange color with a light head, and decent lace retention as the pour settles. An interesting aroma offers the sweetness of a blonde ale initially, but quickly becomes overpowered by the smell of fresh chilies.

The first sip is a similar experience, with moderate honey-malt sweetness giving way to a moderate chili kick. The pepperiness keeps the beer dry, which follows the honey theme of the ale, and offers a pleasing contrast to a lingering yet far-less-potent taste of the honey pretzel thing from the base beer. Moments of sweetness jump out amid the chili flavor towards the finish. Mouthfeel is nothing crazy, and less heavy than a good blonde ale. The first few sips and swallows can be tough for those who don't like chili or aren't into hot stuff. Getting through the bottle seems to offer a fluctuation between the intensity of the first few sips and a bit of adaptation to the minimal amount of heat. It's one of those beers that creates its own drying/quenching loop.

Quarantine Desirability Rating: High to "Zoom Cosplay." If you're looking to attract the heartier version of your preferred gender, look no further. After a few swigs of this bad boy, I immediately found myself enslaved by Chun-Li from Street Fighter fame. I was shooting for Princess Leia, but ... meh, the hair is close enough.

Saltfire's Mobius Trip (Utah Peaches): Pours a slightly hazy golden-peach color with a fizzy, small head, which immediately diminishes to a small coating. It smells of leafy ripe peaches, offering a bright fruitiness which comes close to the experience of actually cutting a peach in half and enjoying its aromas. This whiff inherits not only the fruit's pulp, but also its velvety skin, adding a soft soothing quality to the spritzy, slightly perfume-y and floral fruits.

While this one is doubtlessly focused entirely on peaches, the flavors of the beer offer an initial mineral quality, along with white bread dough and mature but still slightly bitter herbs. Peaches enter the palate with an early fruit-driven peak, which stays till the end, but fades down slowly and consistently. The fruit itself is defined by a pleasant tartness, sweeter peach pulp and a light moldy touch along with a mild floral bitterness. It develops an almost champagne-like finish, with an astonishing smoothness of the fruits and a finely beaded mouthfeel. Once you've played out the flavors from the fruit and base beer, the finish takes over and smacks the palate with rum and oak. The 8.0 percent heat is slightly noticeable, but who cares; you're suddenly on vacation, and the bar is open.

Quarantine Desirability Rating: High to Smeagol. You'll find yourself caressing the attractive champagne style bottle after each sip; whispering "my precious" to the tart and fruity elixir. Keep it away from your fuzzy-footed pals. They wouldn't know what to do with this beast anyway.

It was fun trying these Nic Cage-evoking flavor bombs. They might be too intense to enjoy one after the other, but what else have you got to do now that cloistering is back in fashion? Each is sold at their respective breweries, and I've seen a few venture out into restaurants and bars as well. Both are worthy of your time. As always, cheers!

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