- Mike Riedel
A new craft beer pub came to Salt Lake City as COVID began to shut down the world. Founded in 2013, Beer Zombies—a Las Vegas-based Craft Beer lifestyle brand—zeroed in on Salt Lake to extend their brewing project and become an all-around craft beer ambassador in our capital city. The Beer Zombies gang recently collaborated with two California breweries—Bujos Brewing and Mason Beerworks—on two special IPAs that you can only purchase in Vegas and SLC.
Brujos Brewing/Beer Zombies - Wizards & Zombies: Completely turbid, glowing yellowish-orange appearance. The hazy body was topped by a frothy, half-inch tall bright white crown that fell to a thick, lasting collar. The aroma was super hoppy and fruity, with loads of citrus—a big freshly-squeezed orange juice presence. Mango was also quite noticeable, along with a touch of honeydew melon and a bit of dank cannabis. As the beer warmed, the cannabis notes really intensified; skunky weed came to mind. Overall, really punchy and super smooth.
The flavor profile was also very hoppy and fruit-forward, but lightly bitter and with little astringency. Grapefruit dominated, white grapefruit specifically. The hop salad definitely makes its presence known here, while tangy clementine and kumquat notes were also apparent, with a subtle honeydew melon-like quality in the center. More grapefruit and grapefruit rind emerged on the back end and in the finish, super pithy and dry, while big grapefruit rind notes lingered after the swallow. With time, a hint of bitterness develops on the back of the tongue. It offers a medium-light bodied mouthfeel, creamy, slick and smooth. The liquid contained a fine, moderate effervescence that frothed up nicely on the palate.
Overall: Wizards & Zombies is a punchy, fruit-forward and overall really interesting take on a New England-style IPA. This beer turned excessively pithy and bitter on the finish; with a bit more balance, this 10.5 percent beast could be a classic.
Mason Aleworks/BeerZombies - Galaxy Revenge: Pours completely opaque light gold topped with a slight, rocky head of creamy white foam; good retention leaves huge amounts of lacing relentlessly painting the walls of the glass, as well as a minor collar of bubbly foam. This one is about as comprehensively appealing a NEIPA I've come across. Aromas of huge dank, herbal citrus burst from the glass, giving backing impressions of light white wine grape alongside a tropical medley that's so varied, it becomes hard to define. I'm getting guava, papaya, orange and pineapple rind, with lighter tones of passionfruit and peach skins that give way to the faintest creaminess at times. Intense, diverse and balanced.
The taste profile is dank, with herbal pine and earthiness dominating a more nuanced citrus profile similar to the aroma. Plenty of orange, passionfruit, grapefruit pith, guava and pineapple rind can be pulled from the mix. An outstanding union of dank hops and citrus bursts on the finish. The mouthfeel brings a beautifully balanced medium body, slightly juicy and amazingly clean for the level of flavor it carries. Ghostly hop fruits build toward a tightly-composed symphony from the mid-palate through the finish.
Overall: Not much of the 8.0 percent alcohol appears in the lingering finish. Intense in its myriad of subtle flavors and so casually balanced, this one is almost too easy to drink. It doesn't falter much in any area, and has great consistency from start to finish.
These beers may seem Halloween-themed, but the branding is quite typical for the Beer Zombie pubs year-round. These collaborative beers are exclusive to Beer Zombie SLC and the original bar in Las Vegas. You can find Beer Zombies located in the Hall Pass Food Hall, located at The Gateway 153 S Rio Grande St. in Salt Lake City. As always, cheers!