- Mike Riedel
The local IPA game continues to be strong throughout the state. Our brewers' ability to coax fruit-salad flavors from barley, hops, water and yeast is approaching wizard levels of trickery. This week's hop driven beers are fat with flavor, haze and technique.
Uinta Ataraxy: The aroma starts off with a higher-than-typical amount of medium sweetness. The hops shows up first, imparting a satisfying mix of citrus, tropical fruit, floral, dank and light green hop aromas that evolves into a little bit of doughy yeast.
The taste seems similar to the aroma, as it starts off with that same sweetness. Similarly, the hops deliver all the same aspects and show up just as much as they did in the aroma, with the fruit hops sticking out the most in some nice pineapple flavors that are just a bit juicier than the aroma. Up next comes that touch of doughy yeast, leading into the malts which impart all the same aspects that they did in the aroma, but this time just a little lighter. On the finish, there's a medium amount of bitterness with some more sweetness and sweet, fruity hop-like aftertaste. This is a good-tasting IPA, with a solid hop profile where all the flavors work well together.
Overall: What I like most about this 7 percent ABV beer is the aroma and the hop profile. There's actually a hint of countering dankness to make this more palatable than the standard hazy IPA, which brings it up a notch in my book.
2 Row Citra Grenade: The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness, with the hops leading off the party with their appealing mixture of fruity, floral, spice and light green hop aromas.
The taste seems to be similar to the aroma, launching with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness. And again the hops are first to show up, although this time they are a little more fruity with the spicy hops being toned down. Tangerine and grapefruit flavor tend to be pronounced, due to the Citra hops denoted in the name. From there, light guava and peach notes emerge, taking their cues from the malt/hop combination. Up next comes some doughy yeast which leads into the malts, imparting the same aspects that I got in the aroma. On the finish, there's a lighter amount of moderate bitterness, with a 20/80 mixture of hoppy and malty flavors in the aftertaste. This is a pretty nice tasting beer.
Overall: 2 Row has really raised Utah's IPA game, and has truly embraced the hazy IPA style. This beer had nice drinkability; I could quaff a couple, but that would be my limit due to the 8.2 percent alcohol. This has a lower bitterness than the Uinta, so if you're a hazy purist, this will appeal to you.
Unless you're really into the hazy IPA styles, you might not pick up on the subtleties described in these two hop profiles, so the average beer nerd can't go wrong with either of these new releases. The Uinta is very limited, and the 2 Row is a new seasonal, so if having the new newness is a must, you'd better get your butt in gear. As always, cheers!