Beer reviews: 2 Row Artificial Intelligence and Proper Brewing Yasuke | Drink | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Beer reviews: 2 Row Artificial Intelligence and Proper Brewing Yasuke

Tasty beers that borrow from other reputations


  • Mike Riedel

2 Row - Artificial Intelligence: This new beer from 2 Row Brewing was designed by an artificial intelligence algorithm (with a little nudging from owner, Brian Coleman). To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that this has been done locally, and it may or may not be a sign of things to come. This beer features Ekuanot, NewZilla, Citra and Galaxy hops, and style-wise, it most closely resembles a West Coast Style Double IPA. How did the AI do? Let's get into it.

Pale gold and cast in a heavy translucent haze, Artificial Intelligence brings a dense sheet of stark white froth. Tangy, fruity and herbal aromas gravitate toward the nose, with citrus, tropical fruits and a botanical array that all hinge on greener, underripened varieties.

It's almost shortcake-like in texture, but soft with sweetness; a light hint of honey and cereal provide a faintly doughy, sweet taste of granola on the front of the tongue. Sweetness slowly lifts and the hops quickly build up as the ale crosses the middle palate. The fruitiness of ripe oranges leads the way, while hints of lime, gooseberry, pineapple and passionfruit soon follow, developing into a sharp, fragrant, woodsy and peppery bitterness, with a balance of spruce, lemongrass and tea-leaf frame providing the hop-dominant finish.

Medium in body, the stronger hazy IPA quickly favors the dry and smooth bitterness into a medium-long aftertaste showcasing herb, grass, gin and chive. Remnants of cream of wheat, cereal and dough keep the ale supported, even as the stemmy hops do all the talking late. You get a nice, malty base for a West Coast style. The berry is subtle, but fruity and not tart—drinks quite well, though slightly heavy for a hot day.

Verdict: A good brew overall. With all the other hazy IPA options out there, this is not the best, but overall it is quite enjoyable and certainly worth a try. Did the AI algorithm get it just right? In this case, it's an interesting enough idea that I'd recommend trying again, but based on this beer, Brian Coleman and his crew could handily beat the AI with little effort.

Proper - Yasuke: This is something that I've never tried before from a craft brewery: a Japanese-style Dark Rice lager that has much more Japanese influence than I anticipated. It pours a deep, dark amber, with a nice reddish hue—really dark, which is always nice to see—and a solid inch or two of head forming at the top. The aroma is very toasty and malty for what I thought would be a light malt base. Hints of pine emerge as well, along with an ever-so-slight hint of orange peel in the back. Earthy grains and fresh grass round out the nose.

The palate opens with a nice bready taste—kinda musty with a touch of a cereal grain. As you move on, you're met with a satisfying Koji rice assault. A good amount of toast combined with soy sauce dominates; while there is absolutely no saltiness or brine flavor here, the soy flavors are evident. Some cocoa rounds out the end, plus a hint of grassy hops. I wouldn't call it crisp, but more akin to German or Czech dark lager. Awesome carbonation lasts straight through until the end, as it never did get dull or come across as slick in any way.

Verdict: I liked that the Proper crew were able to come up with a Japanese lager that was far from one-dimensional. The complex flavors absolutely come from Japanese influences, which sets this Japanese rice lager apart from others in the market.

Yasuke is only on draft at most Proper locations, while Artificial Intelligence is available in 16-ounce cans at 2 Row Brewing.

As always, cheers!