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Simply Beer

Uncomplicated brews can still be challenging.

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MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel
Beer shouldn't be difficult. It was never meant to be more than a basic staple to get you through the day while helping take the edge off. But as beer has become more of a luxury, it's becoming more complicated. With the advent of barrel aging, specialized flavorings and year-long naps in oak, some beers tend to get a bit ... fussy. Now don't get me wrong: I love complicated every once in a while. But for everyday drinking, simplicity rules. This week's two beers are simple; they might taste complicated, but that's just a tribute to their craftsmanship.

2 Row Chasing Haze: 2 Row Brewing has perfection issues when it comes to their beers. Every IPA that comes out of their Midvale brewery has to be better than the last. It's this internal struggle that guarantees innovation and promotes competition. This Northeast IPA has unleashed more game-changing flavors that will alter the way people perceive Utah beer. It pours an opaquely hazy medium-orange/amber color, with two fingers of dense, soapy foam that clings to the inside of the glass. The aroma provides big tangerine, grapefruit, peach, papaya, mango, guava and light pine. Every whiff lights up the senses. The taste doesn't disappoint, either; a huge fruit salad awaits, combining grapefruit, orange juice, peach and papaya. Once the fruity shock calms down, you're able to pick out some nice cracker notes barely perceptible through the malt sweetness. From there, the hop fruitiness reasserts itself, adding another course of mango, melon, guava and citrus zest. The finish adds minimal pine, along with some spicy herbal bitterness. Zero warming alcohol is present in this 6.5 percent juice bomb.

Overall: This is an incredibly well-concocted Northeast style IPA. Its all-around amazing complexity, robustness and balance of insanely juicy, with lightly dank hops and balanced bready malts creating a smooth and insanely easy-to-drink beer. It's an amazing offering, and a perfect style example.

Bohemian Lagerpalooza Best of Show Pre-Prohibition Lager: Lagerpalooza is Utah's preeminent lager-only home brew competition. Every year, Bohemian Brewing collaborates with the best-of-show beer and produces a limited batch to be sold at the brewery. This beer was developed by Lagerpalooza's 2017 winner, Sasha Taddie, who created a pre-Prohibition-style lager boasting a rich malt profile, big malts and flaked corn. The result is a brilliantly clear medium-golden copper color with a small dense off-white head. The nose yields typical lager aromas, but amped up a bit. Big cracker, toasted biscuit, brown bread, herbal, floral, grass and yeast earthiness swirl around the lip of the glass. Upon first swig, flavors of cracker and toasted biscuit create a solid base on the tongue. From there, hints of corn come next, adding an almost multigrain bread character when combined with the aforementioned cracker and biscuit. Just as you think it might be getting too sweet, an herbal, floral/grassy bitterness takes hold of your taste buds, providing a nicely dry counterpunch to the malts. This combo leaves you with a finish that is earthy, grassy and spicy.

Overall: It's nicely robust for a lager, minimally dry and fairly clean, with muted yeast notes. Zero warming alcohol is present here, as well, though the 6 percent ABV does add body. It's a great example of how lagers were produced before Prohibition transformed the American love of beer.

These beers are both very fresh and have a limited production run. Flavor-wise, they're on opposite ends of the bittering scale, which make them both shine when enjoyed together. Try this one-two punch, and your tongue will thank you. As always, cheers!

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