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Quenching in South Salt Lake 

Metro south's beer game is solid with thirst-busting flavor

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South Salt Lake City's tight cluster of breweries and distilleries ensures that fans of Utah's drinking culture are treated with just as many palate-pleasing beers as you'd find in their brother and sister breweries in the central city. These beers are so different, yet so satisfying respectively. Which ale or lager appeals to you?

Grid City - Pineapple Passion Fruit Whole Flower Dry-Hopped Nitro Pale Ale: In previous columns, I've referred to Grid City's Jeremy Gross as the "Nitro Maestro." The head brewer definitely has a knack for coaxing a ton of flavors into his nitro brews, then wrapping everything up in a tidy nitrogen bow. Thankfully, the beer's name gives you an idea of what to expect. I found the look of the ale gives off a tropical vibe; the beer's natural base color looks like mango flesh with peachy yellow highlights. A very dense, tightly knit white head holds like glue. A hefty dose of pineapple and passion fruit gives it some perfumy heft on first whiff—lots of deep, ripe tropical flavors with a strong passion fruit twang. A generous hop bill reminds you it's still a pale ale.

Upfront there are just shy of moderate flavors of biscuit malts and vanilla. These are followed by slightly stronger than moderate flavors of juicy tropical pineapple, orange, lemon zest and stone fruit with a hint of dank resinous hops. The hops impart a hint of bitterness which fades away almost instantly, leaving a lingering juicy tropical and citrus hop flavor. The passion fruit adds a minor amount of tartness, building on the tropical theme.

Overall: Creamy? Definitely, but not luscious. The green, leafy bitterness and acidic tropical fruit twang pulls the feel in its favor. There's a good balance struck between the malt-driven sweetness and the fruit-forward hop character.

Shades - American Lager: If you're a fan of traditional American lagers but don't want to buy a beer made by AB, Miller, Coors or Pabst, this is your beer. That being said, this is still a craft lager, and if you're looking for a beer that is completely void of flavor, beware! This may still give your tongue some sparkle. People complain about vivid clarity in beers of late, but to me it's a joy to view; this one pours a nice golden color with lots of bubbles. A good head appears initially, but quickly fades to a nice lace. It's not an aromatic powerhouse, showcasing just some minor sweet grains and grassy euro-hops.

A smooth, light taste is what first strikes me—hints of corn, but the malt flavor is much stronger. It's definitely not an extremely strong-tasting beer, but that's not what Shades was shooting for. Some cereal sweetness follows, along with some drying grassy/herbal bitterness. In the current heatwave, I think you'll find that light lagers such as this will be more than adequate at quenching. It's definitely a "lawnmower beer," but also great for dinner. The high carbonation will up your belching game.

Overall: A very easy-drinking session beer—nothing to be savored, but a good brew for football tailgating and/or watching the game. Somehow, it just seems right for it.

Draft or in cans will be your options for Shades American Lager. You'll be seeing this all over northern Utah in bars, restaurants and grocery stores. Grid City's Pineapple Passion Fruit Whole Flower Dry-Hopped Nitro Pale Ale is going to require a more focused approach, as it's only at Grid City's brewpub on one of their many nitro handles. As always, cheers.

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