5% Alcohol, 100% Flavor | Drink | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Eat & Drink » Drink

5% Alcohol, 100% Flavor

As the ceiling is raised, so is Utah's game.

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MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

Now that the age of 5% beer is here, I thought it would be more than appropriate to begin this new era with two local beers that fully embrace their new ABV content.

Uinta Brewing Co. Hazy Nosh IPA: This new IPA has a light rust-tinged orange color, with a moderate amount of haze. If you want all of the "haze," be sure to swirl the can; all of the suspended matter that makes it cloudy tends to settle rather quickly. A creamy porridge-like cream cap provides a sticky head that laces well on the glassware. The grapefruit pulp is fresh and tart, along with oranges with a higher than average perfume for a session-style IPA. Soft lemon tea combines with toasty grains and light citrus. The freshness of the beer allows most of the aromas to shine, and keeps the beer fairly aromatic.

Floral grapefruit hops have a decent citrus zing and lemonade-style quenching ability, with some tart and orange like tropical flavors. Toasty grains bring a soft dryness, followed by a nice malt awareness with subtle lemons on the finish. You might also find some wet and juicy hops with complementary tropical notes. Compared to some of Uinta's 4% versions of this style, this 5% hazy provides a slippery texture with a good malt base with a solid amount of carbonation.

Overall: A nice show of hops for a session-style label. Toasted grain depth and fresh, wet citrusy hops linger long after the swig, showing little wear and tear on the palate with a good drink-ability rate. Juicy flavors and that hint of lemonade tartness are sure to quench that thirst for hops year-round. Refreshing, with an excellent repeat factor.

Kiitos Brewing Wild Path: This special beer is a collaboration with REI and Weber Pathways, to celebrate the grand opening of REI Farmington on Friday, Nov. 15. Weber Pathways is a nonprofit that plans, promotes, constructs and protects a network of public pathways, trails and related open spaces for non-motorized users throughout the greater Weber County area.

The beer pours a clear burnt amber color, with a loose bone-white head consisting of many tiny bubbles. Some streams of carbonation are visible along the side of the glass. At first, you'll get sweet and somewhat spicy notes of pine, spruce tips and juniper on the nose. It's quite aromatic, and requires little effort to get all of those Christmas tree scents, which emerge even more as the beer warms. I should point out that there is nothing artificial about the aroma; for such a "light" beer, there's an enjoyable amount of complexity to this ale.

The flavor starts off with a subtle juniper berry tartness and a slight hop earthiness, followed quickly by a big, smooth pine flavor—not so much bitter as resinous. Sage begins to emerge at this point, providing a spicy quality toward the end. There's a lingering spruce flavor in the finish, with dry toasted barley and Postum-esque crackery malts.

Overall: This really is well done. It sounds gimmicky but the flavors work and that means it's well-executed. The base style is there, and then you get that extra pine sweetness. Nothing is overpowering; it's complex for a 5% beer, and it's certainly not your typical amber ale.

Wild Path is available in 12 ounce cans with a 360-degree pop top lid. It's available on draft in Kiitos' tavern, beer shop and select locations around the Wasatch Front, and 10% of proceeds go to Weber Pathways. Hazy Nosh is in wide distribution, and can be found in grocery and convenience stores throughout the state. Of course, the best option is always at the source. As always, cheers!

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