- Mike Riedel
As I was sampling this week's beers, I noticed that I was sitting in front of the current alphas and omegas of Utah's craft beer scene. Wasatch, the grande dame of local breweries, is throwing out some of the new high-concept beer styles; meanwhile, the brand-new kids on the beer-making block—er, grid—were going completely old-school. Freud would be impressed.
Grid City Hoppy Pilsner: This one pours a pretty and semi-clear, golden color, speckled with orange highlights. The nose tells you right off: hops, hops and more hops. Tons of floral, assertive, piney, grassy, citrusy, resin-like hops blast you right up front, with honey and honeysuckle, lemon zest and clover rounding out the nose. I like a hoppy lager, and I like where this is headed.
Upon first swig, I can already tell this beer is going to live up to its name. It's intensely hoppy up front, plus a dose of lemon, orange and grapefruit-like citrus, pine needles, clover, freshly cut grass. Slightly resin-like hops is then followed by a touch of honey-like sweetness, some black pepper and orange zest, and finally some bready toasted malt, which serves as a nice backbone for all of those hops. It's medium-bodied in the mouth, with a medium amount of effervescence. That's likely due to the fact that this was packaged in a crowler (can growler). I can't wait to try it on draft, the way it was meant to be served.
Quarantine Desirability Rating: I'm sure there will be a few hardcore zealots out there who will decry this made-to-style pilsner for daring to come in at 4.7 percent alcohol. For you, the cloistering factor of this beer is "get a fucking life," followed by a resounding "shut up, penis-breath" quote from E.T.'s Elliott. For everyone else, this is pure, tie-dyed lederhosen happiness, just screaming to be swilled from the ancient ceramic stein that your dad swears came from the "old country," but we all know he got it at the airport in Idaho.
Wasatch Guava Rosa: It looks like a strawberry-banana fruit juice, and pours the same, with about a finger of dense pinkish-white foam. There's a fresh, fruity, funky and authentic guava aroma wafting up, so that it smells like a freshly-prepared guava smoothie. A very minor herbal spice rack note is present, along with what seems like hibiscus.
The taste evokes something like a "beermosa;" when a beer nerd needs a breakfast beer, they normally look to a chelada or Anacin, with a Pacifico chaser. My game was Hoegaaren and orange juice, and this kinda reminds me of that. There's much more tartness, though, from the base beer, but fresh and fruity, for damn sure. Authentic guava fruit juice dominates, with minor notes of bready malts and yeast funk present in the finish. I hear they may "up the guava" in future batches.
Quarantine Desirability Rating: This beer may seem to have crawled out of your corner smoothie shop, but the 7.1 percent alcohol by volume gives it more of a spring break vibe. Think more Tank Girl, less Kylie Jenner. The cloistering factor here is medium to low, as it wants to pull you out of mom's basement and into your dad's new girlfriend's college sorority party. Kim can be kind of a bitch, but her friends are pretty hot, so proceed with caution.
We're still in that weird flux period when beers are, for the most part, only available at their respective breweries. Guava Rosa may be looking at a trip to the DABC, but the Hoppy Pilsner will only be found at Utah's newest brewery, Grid City, at 333 W. 2100 South in South Salt Lake.
As always, cheers!