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Off Your Radar 

There's nothing stealthy about these beers, including the flavor.

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MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

It's nice when you can find some flavor bombs that don't seem to get the attention that others do. Think of these beers like that band you loved early on: At first nobody else would listen to them, but now they're everyone's rock gods. Be that kid with these beers, so that you can say you were into them way back when.

UTOG - OG Juice: Pours with a glowing translucence of amber and orange. Its creamy off-white froth foreshadows a radiant citrus perfume with notions of honeysuckle, pastry and chive radiating on the nose. Sweet on the early palate, a rich taste of honey, caramel and graham cracker shed light on the malty underpinnings of the ale.

But in true IPA fashion, the sweetness recedes and the hops tighten their grip on the middle palate. Starting off succulent with tangerine, nectarine and grapefruit flavors, a pleasant zing adds a crisp and zesty taste to go along with its juiciness. Mango, apricot and a slight jammy taste come next, before the resins seep deeper into the late palate for a sharp, sappy and highly resinous bittering power that commands the finish. At 7.3 ABV, this is medium-bodied with the aroma and early palate of "hazy" IPA, but with the drying sensation and bitterness of West Coast varieties. It ale employs what's best about both worlds, and does so with an effortless taste. Crisp, clean and largely irresistible, the beer lingers with a long medium bitter aftertaste that's laced with botanical herb and perfume-y orange peels

Overall: Hard to find a fault with this beer; it delivers on its intended mission. The implied grapefruit is complementary and consistent with hop-derived grapefruit character, which makes this beer seem more "authentic" than some beers that may actually have fruit.

Salt Flats - Barrel Aged Low Rider: The appearance was a nice looking black-verging-on-dark-brown color, with a half finger's worth of white to off-white foamy head that swiftly dissipated. A speckling of lace stuck around the glass and slid into some nice-looking legs. The aroma had the original milky-sweet chocolate roaming around a gentle delicate roast, and then the sweet whiskey and barrel woodiness exploded with toffee, vanilla and marshmallow-like booziness.

The flavor presented a nice gentle flow from sweet milk chocolate to roast to vanilla/marshmallow—and then like the aroma, the whiskey barrel comes in strong to remind you that this ain't the old Low Rider. Aftertaste was sticky sweet milk chocolate with the boozy bourbon and vanilla/marshmallow; I liked this, but to be honest, if bourbon isn't your thing, you'll probably want to steer clear.

The mouthfeel was about medium-bodied, with a fine sipping quality about it. Carbonation is low, which adds to the creaminess. The 10.5 ABV actually felt a touch under, but I wasn't perturbed by that. It's all about the smooth, sweet, milky-to-silky chocolate in the end, a decadent finish for a whiskey barrel-aged milk/sweet stout.

Overall: This is a clever way of combining the beer side of Salt Flats with whiskey side. This version of Low Rider is actually aged in Salt Flats' own bourbon and rye barrels. It's taken their beer to the next level, and it's keeping it all local, just the way we like it.

These are both in cans and available at their respective brew shops. I don't get into price much, because it's subjective to most beer nerds and it can be different at every watering hole. I will say this, though: There is some excellent value here. As always, cheers!

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