- Mike Riedel
This week, we have one beer designed for a party, while the other brew is a perfect party for one. No matter which beer you choose to go with, rest assured that there will be a party in your mouth.
Toasted Barrel Brewery Andy Ale: Andy the Condor—Tracy Aviary's oldest feathered occupant—last week marked his 60th birthday. The Liberty Park aviary staged a big bash where Toasted Barrel Brewery unveiled a limited-edition ale designed to pay homage to the bird's characteristics and home region in Patagonia.
Andy Ale is a dark beer with a nice cap of tan head, showing excellent retention and lacing. It's quite floral initially in its scent, in addition to wildflower honey, rustic malt notes, graham cracker and honey fruits with some pear. Some spicy yeast aromas, along with char, match up against some earthy, grassy hops. Upon first sip, chocolate malts greet you very creamy and stout-like; then some sweet berry character chimes in from some of the lighter malts. Pear notes again, mixed with some cinnamon and floral rose, build on the increasing yeast-flavor profile. The hops begin to provide a bit of citrus toward the end, finishing with some warming earthy notes from the 6.3% ABV. Very nice, though quite off the wall.
Overall: A thought-provoking offering that seemingly blends a porter and a saison. It has a lot of the same malt character as a Belgian stout, with hints of earthiness, licorice and cocoa. The beer evolves as it warms up, showing more of the saison aspects, and when it gets a bit crisper, the earthy dry floral fruits emerge. It's an evolving and enjoyable offering.
Wasatch Soop Joose: Short for "super juicy," this New England IPA pours a deep opaque golden color. The orange-hued gold is very reminiscent of mango juice, and serves as a precursor to the flavor profile to come. The froth is bubbly and about a finger thick.
The nose emphasizes blended tropical fruits, completely unmistakable. Notes of sweet mango, overripe papaya and pineapple combine for an incredibly fruity aroma. Fighting the sweetness, you get just a tinge of citrus acidity and bitterness. Subtle hints of booze round out the aroma profile and balance the complexity.
In contrast to the nose on Soop Joose, the flavors start out with a potent kick from the hops. Hints of spice and a slightly grassy bitterness work together with a zesty lime flavor that all hit the palate first. The bitter, citrusy hops foretell a re-emergence of tropical pineapple, and join a peachy overtone. The overripe fruit profile combines with lingering dashes of melon and stone fruit to round out this continually complex 7% IPA.
Overall: As its name suggests, Soop Joose is a super juicy and fruit-forward IPA. It can be difficult to overcome some of the hype surrounding a lot of these New England IPAs, but when they're as well made as this one, it's difficult to not get swept up in it.
Andy Ale has been out for about a week and is on a limited run, so if this sounds like something you need in your life, the clock is ticking. Look for it at the brewery, at 412 W. 600 North. Soop Joose is finding wider distribution, and is popping up at most Wasatch and Squatters pubs. I enjoyed it at the Utah Brewers Cooperative's West Side Tavern, a great spot for trying the full array of UBC's portfolio. As always, cheers!