Zombie Versus Sheep | Drink | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Zombie Versus Sheep 

Roastiness or tropical fruit, this week's offerings span a wide range.

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  • Mike Riedel

Uinta - Imperial Baba: Uinta's Baba is a schwartzbier, or black lager. Unlike porters, stouts and other dark beers, they are not overly bitter, lacking the burnt and heavily roasted malt characteristics that these styles tend to depend on. Instead, hops are used to achieve a good portion of the bitterness. This Imperial version of this beer takes it into the 8 percent alcohol range, and malt whiskey barrels catapults it up to its eventual 10 percent ABV.

It pours a deep, dark cola-brown color, topped with a dense, dark tan head. The nose is rich, sweet and malty, with some boozy vanilla notes and a good dose of whiskey from the barrel.

The first sip comes out soft, sweet and rich. It lightly coats the tongue from the tip to the back end of the palate with malt whiskey coconut and muted raisin notes. Chocolate pops up from the base beer; it should be more roasty, but the sweetness from the whiskey makes it seem chocolatey. There's a lightly bitter aftertaste (not quite bittersweet) and more sweetness here on the finish. Mouthfeel is incredibly soft, silky-smooth. The character of this one is warming and then some—deceptively-drinkable, given the alcohol content, so enjoy with some caution.

Verdict: It's got some of the malt character and depth of a doppelbock, with adequate roastiness. This should not be confused with an Imperial stout, though. Any criticisms that it's thin should be taken as a compliment to the brewers who manage to maintain this beer's stylistic character, even though it's amped-up recipe and barrel treatment.

Beer Zombies/Axe Brews - Vengeance: Beer Zombies and Axe Brews out of Las Vegas combine for this take on yet another New England-style IPA. The can art features the iconic "Here's Johnny" scene from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, except this depiction has Shelley Duvall as a zombie.

It pours an opaque, dark lemon-gold body capped with two fingers of rocky, soapy, white foam; solid head retention accents a thin veil of splotchy caps, a slight, frothing collar and a limited smattering of spotty lacing spread thinly around the glass.

Aroma shows raw, prickly hop resin bursting forth into a flowing array of moss and grass to a comprehensively quaffable tropical zest profile. Dank eucalyptus ushers in waves of tangerine, peach and pureéd mango, with red berry and musty gooseberry accents.

The taste opens with zesty peach, mineral-rich dirt, mango, apricot pith and papaya rinds for a fast-paced, dominant, earthy-tropical interplay. Hints of pineapple fade over the mid-palate as light garlic and rye bread contribute to an earthiness lingering with accents of resin and mossy tones to close. Mouthfeel brings a bright, medium body and a prickly, moderate carbonation. A gentle hop acidity balances the mid-palate as a slightly juicy texture evolves in the backdrop, while a more rounded resinous note prevails on the back end and through the finish, with a bitter bite meeting a succinct hoppy smack on the swallow.

Verdict: An undoubtedly complex layout of hops, digging deeply into the raw and earthy as much as the lush and fruity, resulting in an incredibly layered presentation of detail, at once stifling and embracing the palate. In the end, it's a remarkably approachable 8.0 percent NEIPA peaking at the upper tiers of the style.

Vengeance is exclusive to Beer Zombies (located at The Gateway in Salt Lake City), and is a seasonal offering in 16-ounce cans. Imperial Baba is release number 5 of 6 in Uinta's Pro Line of beers. It's limited as well and is also in 16-ounce cans. As always, cheers!

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