- Mike Riedel
Stouts and IPAs are big in the month of March. To start things off, we have two excellent examples to help you get things rolling.
Salt Flats - Luau Rider: Served a deep brown color bordering on black, with nice saffron highlights. Upon serving, there was no head whatsoever. I attribute this to a very gentle pour from the bartender, plus the high oil content from the coconut. I always prefer to pour my own beer when given the opportunity, and most establishments are happy to comply when asked, so I'm not going to knock the lack of foam. The aroma is of a sweet milk chocolate mixed with a moderate amount of toasted coconut. The toastiness really comes through, and is a nice touch. Combined with these aromas are some nice notes of vanilla and a bit of a coffee.
The flavor begins with a nice roasted malt base with hints of milk chocolate. The chocolate grows stronger and seems to pick up coconut milk and vanilla taste as the flavor advances. All the while, a light coffee taste lingers with the other flavors, getting slightly stronger at the end. While the coffee brings a bit of bitterness to the back end of the taste, the coconut counters and brings with it a nice bit of sweetness as it surges, leaving a nice roasted and moderately sweet milk chocolate/coconut combo flavor to linger on the tongue. The body of this 7.5 percent beer was on the slightly thicker side, with a carbonation level that was rather average overall. The thicker body was quite nice for the roasted and darker flavors of the brew, giving it a slightly creamier texture on the whole.
Overall: A rather tasty milk stout with just enough toasted coconut flavor to give it a little something different in the flavor without being too overpowering. The lactose is a bit bold, and with the sweetness of the coconut could be dialed back a bit for my palate. Note: This one is not vegan-friendly.
Bewilder - Dos Hazy Boi: Pours a cloudy golden-yellow color, opaque due to sediment. One finger of head is initially generated, lasting nearly five minutes and eventually giving way to some good-looking splashes of seafoam lacing and a bubbly, filmy cap bordered by the modest, foamy collar. It's not particularly pungent on the nose, but still reasonably hoppy; I'm getting grapefruit, orange and maybe a bit of pine, with suggestions of wheaty malts and tropical fruit.
Tasty stuff, with a fruity, juicy flavor profile. The malts provide a nice base sweetness, with notes of pineapple, nectarine and possibly mango, leading into a citrusy back end with big notes of mandarin orange and grapefruit rind. It finishes off moderately bitter, with the fruitiness giving way to a more floral, piney astringency that hangs on into the aftertaste. Medium in body, with assertive, crisp, pin-prickly carbonation. The drinkability factor is quite high given the sturdy 8.0 ABV, but this one's appealing flavor, smooth texture and tempered bitterness are the main reasons for it.
Overall: This is probably Bewilder's best IPAs to date, if not the absolute best. My beer was gone quickly, and if this becomes commonplace with beer nerds around the state, it will certainly become a staple of this brewery's portfolio. I totally encourage Utah hopheads to give this one a try.
Dos Hazy Boi is a very limited batch, available in 16-oz. cans. Luau Rider is a slightly larger small batch and is available in 12-oz. cans at Salt Flats and the Garage Grill in Draper. As always, cheers!