Taste-testing two new "hazy" beers | Drink | Salt Lake City Weekly

Taste-testing two new "hazy" beers 

Grid City and T.F. Brewing bring the haze

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  • Mike Riedel

Before us we have two great beers with the simple word "hazy" on the label. It describes the beer's appearance, but are these descriptors helpful in regards to taste? If the makers of these beers omitted "hazy," would it affect the way you'd enjoy them? Here are my impressions, and I'm curious as to yours.

Grid City - Hazy India Pale Ale: This 9.2 percent ale pours an unfiltered bright, orange, slightly amber color, with a moderate head that fades quickly. Strong aromas of ripe tangerine, strawberry, melon, berry and black tea emerge, along with some tropical fruit and strawberry support. The result is a nice balance of citrus and tropical, like if you mixed orange and pink Starburst, but with some herbal notes. Some sweet malts linger in the background.

It nails the west-coast-style flavor, as I get a lot of tangerine, strawberry, melon, black tea, but less of the tropical than the nose. It's much more of a pine flavor with a medium bite. A semi-strong syrupy sweetness emerges to battle the bitterness, but overall it finishes dry. And it's not quite a Hazy IPA with its strong candied-malt body.

Verdict: I would describe this as one of the best-balanced double IPAs that leans west-coast, with some great grapefruit and tangerine flavors. Nothing stands out, but it definitely leans bitter while capturing citrus and tropical flavors well. I can understand where the brewers were going with this beer, as it really strikes a pleasant balance between bitterness and fruit flavors. If you're not into the west-coast style, this will likely disappoint.

T.F. Brewing - Protect Ya Neckta: It pours a beautiful and softly glowing yellow, with a slight bit of haze to temper its radiance. Bubbles make their way to the top and a cream-colored head of foam that lasts and leaves a sticky, creamy lace until finally succumbing to the 8.8 percent abv and falling, leaving spots and alcohol legs. Nose is big with stone fruit, mostly peaches with hints of mango—ripe, earthy and sweet. Some pineapple and melon pop up to give it a little sugary backing and some tanginess, while some ovely Nectaron hops impersonate all the fruit. The malt is soft as it could possibly be on the nose, a soft sweetness. I observed only a faint fume of the alcohol, and could not even be sure if it wasn't my imagination.

The taste is outstanding, including a perfect level of malt for this big beer. It has substance, but it also has form; it gracefully does not become too heavy, and is made lighter by a good carbonation. The mouthfeel is fuller than the typical IPA, but very big. The fruit is ripe and prominent, as the apricot and melon combine to create a sweet fruit sensation. The beer has some alcohol in the mouthfeel, as well a bit of sweetness and a bit of weight, but this beer is not syrupy or too heavy to be enjoyed. What alcohol presence there is offers just a mild warmth as it finishes with a citrus hop bitter that seems much weaker than it really is next to all that sweet fruit. Itinishes sticky and sweet but drying on the tongue.

Verdict: The Nectaron hops in this hazy IPA take the style in a direction that is less tropical and more heartland, with the big field fruit flavors and the peach/apricot nectars. It drinks like a hazy and It's definitely a glug-glug beer, with high drinkability. It's one is the best hazy IPAs I've had, an excellent example of how well this style can be done.

These are both in limited production, and the inventory that is allocated to-go tends to disappear first. So, if you find they're gone, check with their respective bars to try these 16-ounce cans in-house. As always, cheers!

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