Character Reflects | Drink | Salt Lake City Weekly

Character Reflects 

Just when you think you have it all figured out, two breweries decide to change things up.

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click to enlarge MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

Uinta - Cold IPA: This is part of Uinta's new Pro Line of beers. So what is a cold IPA? Well, this IPA subcategory provides the icy refreshment of a lager while boasting the hop-bomb qualities of an IPA. So what's the difference between this and, say, an IPL (India Pale Lager)? Cold IPAs take on more of the fruity, juicy qualities from the new breeds of IPAs, rather than being a lager with American/southern hemisphere hop profiles. This beer is generously dry-hopped with 2021-harvested Cascade and Chinook and experimental hop HBC 1019.

To keep it simple, we'll refer to this as an IPA, though it's technically an IPL. The body is a hazy bright golden color, with light bringing out the palest and brightest shades of yellow. Aroma is of dry citrus peel and pith, mixed with some overripe citrus and melon that's starting to border on peach with other stone fruit, along with a light floral character.

The flavor is lightly sweet citrus pith (particularly grapefruit) that borders on being somewhat fruit punch-like. As the flavors evolve, the middle palate is awakened with a relaxing malt taste and a growing sense of citronella. Orange, grapefruit and lime lift the palate, while a tropical zing of pineapple, passionfruit and papaya offer a more exotic tilt. The lager is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium intensity, leading to a mostly foamy mouthfeel that's fitting for the style. It closes dry, with light stickiness on the lips and palate.

Overall: A great IPA that relies on all aspects of the hops to drive the beer. The relatively low malt sweetness adds to its drinkability, while allowing the hops to shine through.

Bewilder - Barrel-Aged Double ESB: Bewilder's Anniversary Ale is based on the English Extra Special Bitter. These are typically more balanced in flavor and alcohol than pale ales, and run on the darker side of the spectrum than many lighter English ales. This version was boosted into barleywine territory, and features a cocktail of various barrels including Ruby Port/High West Double Rye, Sugarhouse Distillery's Single Malt and Sugarhouse Bourbon.

It poured an orange tinted ruby color that took on more of a red beet hue when held to the light. The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness, followed by the hops being the first to show up, imparting that signature citrus hop profile. Nice caramel, bourbon and vanilla aromas follow. This beer had a very nice scent, the combination of citra hop and bourbon barrel working much better than I expected them to.

The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma, and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the hops being the first to show up. They impart those same great citrus hop aspects that they did in the aroma, and there's also some light sweet malt and pale malt-like flavors, with a slight bit of doughy yeast in the background. Up next comes the whiskey barrels, bringing the same aspects that they did in the aroma, but this time there's also a nice, light toffee-like flavor. On the finish there's a medium amount of bitternessthat lingers slightly into the aftertaste.

Overall: This beer had good drinkability—pretty smooth, a little complex, slightly creamy, not filling. The taste did a good job of holding my attention, and I wouldn't mind drinking a few of these. It's a nice change to have a beer that has a bourbon-barrel flavor without being brutally strong.

The Cold IPA comes in 16-ounce cans and is 7.8 percent ABV. The Anniversary Ale is also in a 16-ounce can, and is 10.6 percent ABV. Of course, there are limited quantities for both. As always, cheers!

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