Salt Lake Brewing Black Sunshine and Saltfire A Series of Singularities | Drink | Salt Lake City Weekly

Salt Lake Brewing Black Sunshine and Saltfire A Series of Singularities 

Two craft brews that'll put you in your happy place.

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  • Mike Riedel

Salt Lake Brewing - Black Sunshine: Cascadian Dark Ales are characterized with caramel malt and dark-roasted malt flavor. The hops usually feature fruity, citrus, piney, floral and herbal characters.

This ale pours pitch-black, but not Imperial Stout dark. The foam is a light tan, and it looks pretty good overall. The aroma in this beer is already nice; it definitely has the American Citrusy hops required for anything that says IPA, but it also has some Schwarzbier qualities to it that are different. There is a dark caramel to mild toffee character coming out as the beer warms, but the whole time, the hops continue to be a force in the aroma.

The flavor has a little more acidity to it than I was expecting from the aroma. It is still very bold, but leans more toward the malt in the finish, which I think is a good thing, otherwise the acidity from the dark malts might be overpowering. The beer is medium-bodied, with ample to slightly low carbonation. The finish is quite balanced, giving up more chocolate as the beer warms. The hops are expressive with citrus and pine, and are bright for the remainder of the finish. The alcohol stays reserved the whole time; you don't really notice it until you have drunk most of the glass.

Verdict: This is a pretty good beer, and one of the better ones that I have had from this brewery. The beer itself seems rather simple, like they took a good Schwarzbier recipe, changed it to American hops and bumped up the flavoring additions quite a bit. That is what you can expect with this beer—and I like it. Some people may be turned off by the malty balance in the finish, so it may be reminiscent of some American Brown Ales in that respect.

Saltfire - A Series of Singularities (Elixir Hops): Grown in the legendary Alsace region of France, Elixir is typically used as an aroma addition, contributing unique characteristics of leather, cognac and tobacco, with prodding flavors of herbal tropical fruits. This IPA features only Elixir, and pours a medium golden-amber with a fine half-finger white head showing great retention and lots of lacing. The aroma is dominated by tropical fruit—specifically pineapple and mango—plus light lemon citrus hops and caramel malt.

The flavor is lemon and grapefruit, mango and some mysterious herbal notes. It starts very mellow and fruit-forward, then develops somewhat resinous citrus and pine hops, with citrus rind and hints of pine and dankness. This really is appropriate for a spring ale, light and refreshing. The fruit is complex and well-balanced, while the sneaky hop bitterness finishes it off nicely. Frighteningly well-covered at 7 percent ABV, I would have guessed the alcohol level was much lower from the taste. While sampling for this review, I drank it much more quickly than I expected because of the interesting hop fruit component; I soon realized it packs a punch.

Verdict: Pleasant and deceptively light and bright—really different from a typical herbal NW IPA, but perfectly fits the broader West Coast style. Saltfire has a winner with this one, and it's definitely worth seeking out if you're a fan of single hop IPAs.

Both are limited in their respective batch sizes; Saltfire is available in cans to enjoy at the brewery or take home, while Salt Lake Brewing's Black Sunshine is only on draft at the brewpub on Broadway. As always, cheers!

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About The Author

Mike Riedel

Mike Riedel

Local boy and pilot of City Weekly’s best gig, The Beer Nerd column since 2017. Current photojournalist at KSTU TV (Fox 13) and host of the Utah Beer Blog and Beer Nerd Radio on KUAA 99.9 FM radio.

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