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Eat & Drink » Drink

Hoppy Holidays

Two hop-forward ales to brighten the holidays


  • Mike Riedel

There's been an onslaught of heavy, boozy beers over the last couple of weeks. The "winter warmers," as they are known, are designed for the holidays and for the seasonal cold that we're currently experiencing. To help break up the heaviness, I thought I'd throw in two hop-forward beers to help break up the monotony of this very atypical holiday season. Both are from breweries that have never packaged in cans before. I hope you seek them out.

Desert Edge - 2020 IPA: Pours a pretty, clear, golden amber color with just a touch of chill haze. The two inches of creamy off-white head are fluffy and keep quite well. The aroma is bright and floral, with a lemon note particularly apparent. It has a zesty sort of citrus quality, with some grapefruit as well.

The palate is also very pleasant, with citrus and a nice amount of hop flavor to begin. It's lemony and grapefruity, a zesty and crisp flavor that's not overly pithy or bitter, but not juicy-sweet either. There is some grassy flavor here, too, as well as a light malt sweetness—not caramel-like, but more akin to a light pale sweetness with a touch of biscuit as well. Hop bitterness is moderate, and it's well-balanced for an IPA. Mouthfeel is a light-medium body, crisp and smooth. It's pretty clean in the finish for a 7.0 percent IPA, with not a lot of lasting bitterness. The result is not overly creamy or oily, just smooth.

Overall: This is the first IPA and canned beer to come from Desert Edge since the brewery opened in Trolley Square in 1995 (The Pub has been there since 1972). I knew this would be a winner because of head brewer Chad Krussel's knack for tasty pale ales. This is really a nice beer—not a super-hoppy assault on the taste buds, but a nicely balanced, crisp and fresh tasting IPA. While it might not be something a hazy devotee is likely to go nuts over, I find it quite refreshing and very drinkable.

Policy Kings - 01-01-01 IPA: Unless you rouse the can, you're likely not going to get all of the suspended matter that you may want from this hazy IPA. The smell of the brew offers citrus sweetness of tangerine and orange, along with a decent showing of a grapefruit citrus hop. Along with these notes comes a little bit of pine and herbal hop, and a touch of a floral aroma.

The taste begins with a nice, heavy grapefruit hop taste that is balanced by some orange citrus sweetness and a bit of a biscuit malt flavor. As the taste advances, a decent hit of pine and herbal hop comes to the tongue. While these are lighter than the grapefruit up front, they grow strong in nature as the taste advances, and soon surpass the grapefruit hops in intensity. With a touch of hay that comes at the very end of the taste, one is left with a nice, semi-crisp and decently hopped taste to linger on the tongue. The body of the 7.6 percent brew is average to slightly heavier in creaminess, with a carbonation level that is average.

Overall: A nice hazy IPA with a bit of citrus hop and sweetness matched by some more dank hops to create a flavorful beer, making for an easy drinker.

As Desert Edge hasn't acquired their package agency license yet from the state, their 2020 IPA won't be available for to-go sales; you'll have to enjoy them at the pub in Trolley Square. Policy Kings' 01-01-01 IPA is only available at the Cedar City brew pub; the family down south will appreciate the stop as you head down for the holidays. As always, cheers—and happy holidays!