Bewilder Hopless Romantic and Templin Family Foeder Circus Series | Drink | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Eat & Drink » Drink

Bewilder Hopless Romantic and Templin Family Foeder Circus Series

Like leap year, beers like these don't come around very often.


  • Mike Riedel

This week, we have not one but two locally-made beers that showcase more traditional botanicals, instead of hops, to enhance and bitter the individual ales. Because there are no hops used in these ales, they can be presented in clear bottles. You might be asking, "Why are clear bottles so unusual?" It's because UV light causes hops to "skunk," resulting in that stale, skunk-like odor that can take hold from just a few minutes of light exposure; that's why most beers are packaged in dark bottles or cans. So, with no hops to worry about, the pink hues from the flowers in these two brews can literally shine.

Bewilder - Hopless Romantic: This Belgian-style Saison features hibiscus and rose hips, then it was aged in Beehive gin barrels. A pale pink, Rosé hue looks makes it look like a blush or a white zinfandel wine rather than a beer, except that a wine won't form a head on it. Hopless Romantic pours a pure white head that's pretty loose overall, but drops-out quickly and leaves a little lacing in moderate spotting. Pale malts with an obvious rose note and a little sweetness from light hibiscus make up the aroma.

Airy, gentle sweetness balances with evenly-leveled tartness for the taste as some berry skins pull through. It's a touch lemony as well. The pale malt holds it up while the obvious floral notes rest over everything without dominating. Actually, it's very well-constructed, as the task of keeping a beer as light as this one without openly displaying flaws is a difficult one, not to mention that making a beer this light actually have substance is pretty impressive.

Verdict: The 7.2 percent alcohol mouthfeel is as light as I'd expect, but provides some depth. The body leans toward medium, though it still rests in light-bodied territory. Crispness doesn't disappoint on either the light or heavy end—pretty effervescent, but not overly so—and it's fairly smooth as well. The gin barrel influence is quite subtle, until the beer warms, at which point the gin-oaky tannins begin to take hold toward the finish.

TF - Foeder Circus Series (Rose Petals, Hibiscus and Chamomile): This ale also features hibiscus and rose hips with the addition of chamomile tea. The base beer features soured ale from TF's Foeders (large oak fermentation vessels).

It pours a rose-hued champagne body with lively carbonation. Head retention is below what you'd expect from a beer, but again, there are no hops. An unusual but inviting aroma of caramelized malts with the impact of softly tangy fruit, a subtle tweak of earthy chamomile and prickle of bitter raw hibiscus, giving the aroma liveliness against the richer-than-expected malt body, preventing an overall cloying aroma.

A fine-tuning of the aroma generates a rich but clean malt body blended with the tart and fruity base sour ale. Earthy chamomile quickly transitions to a tart, dry finish, with a trailing hibiscus bitterness to match. Unique and punctuated flavors transition better than expected, with both the chamomile and hibiscus adding subtle complements to the flavor, instead of dominating with overbearing spice and botanical bitterness. The texture is slick, slightly chewy, smooth and very dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a light frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium for the style; the 7.5 percent alcohol presence is light, and there are no "off" flavors.

Verdict: Another experimental sour by TF with overall pleasing results. The chamomile plays a nice complementary role as sidekick to the rich, clean malt body, and the hibiscus accents the tart, bitter and immensely dry finish. Altogether, they form a punctuated sour ale that avoids generating cloying or overbearing flavors.

Both of these beers were designed for Valentine's Day, but have a much broader appeal and should be enjoyed now or laid down in your cellars for a later date. As always, cheers!