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Local Exotics 

They're brewed at home, but take you far away.

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click to enlarge MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

Offset Bier - All Black Nothing: This IPA is a New Zealander's dream. It features Riwaka, Nelson and Rakau hops which, when combined, creates a salad of odd fruit and herbal flavors you may not expect to come from hops.

It showcases a hazy, golden-orange body that supports a small half-finger head of white foam; retention on the head is strong and lasting. Offset has nailed this IPA's malt bill, a typical unassuming and bready aroma that clears the way for all the hops. There's a quite pungent and strong aroma overall—fruit punch, pineapple, a lot of sappy pine and some bright herbs, perhaps some thyme and delicate rosemary.

The taste starts with a juicy and spicy profile; the malt is slightly bready, and adds a mild honey sweetness that is in perfect balance. The hops are quite unique. I would say that there is some artificial Hawaiian Punch flavor on the forefront that then gets overtaken by sappy pine and garden herbs, providing a spicy and almost powdery kick. Not very bitter on the finish, leaving a dusting of grass, pine and herbs. It features a clean, easy body despite the 6.5 percent ABV, and smooth carbonation that is more than enough to stir up the interesting flavors here. Bitterness is quelled and muted by a powdery finish that is a bit lacking in dryness.

Overall: A fun IPA for me. The malt base on this beer is ideal, and the alcohol is kept so hidden that I will keep gushing about it as long as this series goes on. The Rakau hops have a strong aroma, but the pungency and heavy herbal quality sometimes reminds me of a saison rather than an IPA. The fruit punch presence is a memorable feature as well.

Epic - Horchata Cream Ale: We live in an age where brewers have perfected ways to recreate other food flavors in their beers. This one may not be an exotic dish like split pea soup beer, but at least it's mimicking another beverage.

The beer pours a golden-amber color with a one-finger head of white foam which fades super-fast, leaving just a hint of foamy lace on the sides of the glass. The aroma of the brew is massive, with a sweet cinnamon smell including tons of cinnamon, lots of brown sugar and some heavy caramel as well. With these aromas comes some lighter wheat smells, which give the brew a rather inviting sweet churro-like smell.

The taste begins very differently than what I was expecting from the nose; it is actually lighter, with a crisper taste of rice and wheat mixed with some cinnamon. The cinnamon does increase as the taste advances, with some lighter sweetness of a caramel and brown sugar nature coming to the tongue. A little bit of a yeasty and clove taste emerges at the end, and mixes with the cinnamon spice and lighter sweet tastes to leave crisp cinnamon lingering on the tongue. The body of this 5.0 percent brew is on the thinner side, with a carbonation level that is on the slightly higher side. This creates a decently crisp profile for the surprisingly light sweet tastes of the brew, and overall is fairly decent for making it easy-drinking.

Overall: Not a bad cinnamon brew, but nothing to call home about. It was easy to drink, but somewhat lacking in complexity for a heavily-spiced cinnamon ale.

You can find this one in cans at the brewery and Salt Lake's better beer pubs. I enjoyed it at Epic's Brewery Pub. Offset's stuff come in pretty small batches, and can be occasionally found in Salt Lake at The Bayou and Scion Cider Bar. Offset's Park City Brewery is your best bet, though. As always, cheers!

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