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Series to Watch 

New offerings from local breweries' themed series

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click to enlarge MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

Breweries like to keep things interesting in regards to their customers' long term enjoyment of any given beer in their portfolios. One way to keep that interest is to create special series offerings—beers that follow a theme or, at the very least, separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Red Rock - Back Door Series (Double Juicy): The "Back Door Series" from Red Rock is only obtainable to-go from the back door of Red Rock's downtown brewpub. It can be any style of beer, but the "back door" label is the key to its hidden location.

This has a foggy golden color, with a bright white and fluffy cap including some splotches of lacing, and moderate carbonation on the pour. The aroma features stone fruit, very vague notions of tangerine and grapefruit, but loaded with mango, peach and some pineapple. Slightly bitter pine needle moderates the juicy fruit. Malts are typically light and bready, with touches of pale malt sweetness, honeyed biscuits and some undercooked white bread. Slightly caramelized malt sugars round things out, along with deeply floral notes with some hints of hibiscus. Pine sap and some raw honey might be floating around in there, too. It's big and bold without being too aggressive.

The taste follows the nose closely, with a touch more bitterness. Tons of stone fruit are present: mango, peach and something like papaya. Tangerine with some touches of grapefruit and orange rind appear, with oily resin. Tons of floral elements, including fresh flowers and dried hibiscus. Malts are lightly sweet with a combination of pale malts, offering bready elements and a touch of raw biscuit dough.

Overall: What Red Rock's Chris Harlin has done with this beer is create something classic, rustic and sharp all at once. It's highly drinkable—in fact, it is crushable (though it may end up crushing you). I finished off the 16-ounce bottle by myself, and I am feeling the effects: lulling me to sleep, spreading a smile across my face. I am so glad that I got to try this beer. This is something that local beer-hunters should have on their radars.

Saltfire - A Series of Singularities (Citra): This series features a single variety of hop. I'm a big fan of single hop IPAs, because they offer a great education as to the flavor profiles of individual hops.

The Citra version pours a foggy, goldenrod body, capped with multiple fingers of dense, fluffy white foam. The aroma features flaky malts, introducing a softer pineapple into mango flesh. A resinous grapefruit interlude sparks a peaking bouquet, transitioning to pine and fresh-cut grass on the back end, though it remains synchronized to a peppery dank, lemon twist.

Taste opens to pineapple resins with a light tinge of tangerine pith, wrapped in an undertone of freshly-sliced mango laden with grassy hop textures. A grapefruit spritz over the mid-palate phases effortlessly into a lemony dank finish, with flaky malt accents and distant hints of pine. This 7.3 percent IPA offers a medium body with a fluffy, moderate-high carbonation. A wispy twang invigorates a vague bitterness over the mid-palate, trending sticky as pillowy resins take hold into the back end for a lush hop consistency, and a flaky crispness persists with drying undertones through the finish.

Overall: Levels of resinous saturation bridge West Coast and New England IPA elements, bringing into focus advanced tropical fruit development born from an ultra-refined and raw hop core, and a deftly established malt profile. This is a measured intensity, and a deceptively potent variation of this West Coast style IPA.

As I pointed out, the "back door" series is only available to take from the Red Rock brewpub in SLC. You can enjoy it while dining at most Red Rock locations. Some of the better beer pubs around the Wasatch Front are picking up the Citra version of A Series of Singularities, but your only option for taking home these 16-ounce cans is at the SSL brewery. As always, cheers!

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