These Aren't the Beers You Were Looking For | Drink | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

These Aren't the Beers You Were Looking For 

Finding two ales that you didn't know you wanted.

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  • Mike Riedel

Proper - Key Lime Ale on Nitro: The name says it all: This is a sour-based beer with key limes. Normally, I'd probably look the other way on this, because adding tart citrus to a base beer that has tart citrus qualities already is just redundant. To be honest, it was the nitro part that got my attention—and I'm glad it did. The frothy herald opens up the key lime juice and lactic tartness, making the mouth water a bit even smelling it; cracker and a mild wheat grain aroma join the malt. It starts to remind you of a margarita, but all lime, and with no hint of booze.

Key limes and sour lemons are right out in front in the flavor, as the lime actually overpowers the lactic tartness and citric acid. That's no small feat for my palate. Next, crackers balance the citrus flavors adding a bit of wheat malt into the equation. At this point, you begin to notice the lack of CO2. It's a bitter gas, and its absence leaves the beer feeling a touch sweeter than it actually is, creating a vague sorbet mouthfeel. The light body allows creamy sensations to emerge. The alcohol level is low, yet higher than some in this style.

Overall: It's certainly an American take on the style: Ratchet everything up to 11 and run with it. But the sour isn't quite overdone, though it tiptoes along the line for the style. It definitely tastes like a key lime beer, but there's nothing "pie" about it, nothing particularly to approximate crust or meringue or whipped cream (depending on your preference). I think it's probably a better beer for eschewing these things, very enjoyable and highly recommended for lovers of key limes.

Wasatch/Three Weavers - Collaboration IPA: Three Weaver is out of Inglewood, Calif., and is kin to Wasatch Beers via shared ownership in the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective. Brewers from Three Weavers made the trip up to Park City recently and created something unique at Utah's original craft brewery. This beer pours an unfiltered, ripe yellow banana-peel color, with three fat-ass fingers of puffy, loosely foamy and bubbly off-white head. It smells of musty orange and white grapefruit rind, slightly dank pine resin, bread and a touch of earthy flintiness, along with leafy, weedy and herbal green hop bitters.

The taste is a cocktail of bread and grainy pale malt, saltwater taffy, muddled Florida citrus grove detritus, stale pine needles, a hint of yeastiness and more gently leafy, weedy and dead grassy hoppiness. The bubbles are adequate in that they're mostly structural, and once in a while playfully frothy; the body is a solid middleweight, and generally smooth, as the IPA bitters take a sort of breather here. It finishes off-dry, the lingering complex malt jostling with the remains of the peppy hop day.

Overall: An interesting foray into IPA-dom. At first glance, I thought that collaboration was jumping on the juicy, unfiltered Vermont style, but that was not to be. Instead, we get a wee taste of bitterness, mixed with a bunch of restrained fruity and green hops—kind of a new thing for some, but for me, the whole is definitely more than the sum of the parts.

The Collaboration IPA sits at perfect for style 7.0 ABV and comes in 16-ounce cans. You can find this at most Wasatch locations; I found it at Park City and at the Wasatch/Squatters Beer Store on 300 W. 1700 South. Key Lime Ale on Nitro is only at Proper Brewing, and it dials in at 5.0 percent. As this is a nitro ale, this can only be enjoyed in-house. Crowlers and growlers don't jive with nitro. As always, cheers!

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