- Mike Riedel
Spring is a time of rebirth, and with all of the optimism in the air, it really feels like we're getting a new lease on life. I stopped into a couple of breweries to check out what's new, and these beers seemed to be getting a lot of attention in their individual pubs, where everyone was ready to get on with their lives.
Uinta - Ghosts of Sego: Very nice-looking brew here—pale copper and brown bodied, with maybe just a hint of red color to it. It's nearly crystal-like in appearance, with an excellent solitary ream of fine carbonation. The solid aroma presents a good dose of crispy brown bread, like toast, on the nose. A sweet caramel comes through as well. You might also notice a significant coffee dryness, which seems to bring an odd mingling to the hops, which are quite small.
Simple syrups greet the taste with elegant maltiness, faint caramel and supple honey tones. Equipped with a floral upstart, light bread and baklava come to mind as the lager's gently rolling sweetness reveals a mild coffee presence, and the bourbon barrel spices things up a bit. Growing intense over the middle, the common Maibock flavors are traded for a more savory dopple-demeanor. Its light golden body is indicative of the strong honey sweetness, bready firmness and light caramel presence. It's a graceful yet boastful beer. Finishing with a strong bourbon overlay, the spices of the indigenous bluegrass booze balance the sweetness to an even-keel offset. At the finish, it's malty-sweet but with wood spices, vanilla and coconut to give the ale much more than honey and caramel. Its trailing warmth turns this commonly quaffable ale into a delicate sipper.
Overall: This has nuance, strength and flavor in equal parts, The 6.5 percent alcohol is well hidden, which is what makes this beer quite drinkable for a barrel-aged beer. The coffee is interesting but, I could take it or leave it. I hope they continue to hone the already-evident skill at play, and broaden what this beer can be.
Ogden River - 3:10 to El Dorado: This beer pours a sort of hazy, medium golden amber color, with three fingers of puffy, rocky and sticky eggshell-white head, which leaves some stellar bonsai-tree-like webbed lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away. It smells of grainy and doughy caramel malt, strong, estery florals, edgy lemongrass, juicy stone fruit, a touch of hard water flintiness and more leafy and earthy hop bitterness.
The taste is more rather doughy caramel malt, prominent mixed citrus flesh notes (inclusive of the lemongrass), further tropical fruitiness, a minor pithy chalk character and some lesser leafy, grassy, and floral hoppiness. The carbonation is quite laid-back in its welcoming frothiness, the body a solid middleweight and actually quite smooth. This particular hop is not of the spoilsport type, it would seem, even allowing for a gentle emerging creaminess. It finishes on the sweet side, with the robust fruitiness and back-burner malt lingering on into that good night.
Overall: This is a hop that you don't see too much in a single-hop pale ale. It's a very enjoyable and drinkable American ale, as the El Dorado hops are very capable of carrying off the whole bittering affair, it would seem. Tasty, and a nice spring-friendly pale ale, especially with the subtle lemongrass spiciness.
Uinta is offering Ghosts of Sego in 12-oz. bottles; they're one of the few breweries around that still have the ability to bounce around from bottles and cans. You can find it at their brewery store or to enjoy in their pub. Need a growler or crowler fill? 3:10 to El Dorado is good to go, and on draft at the Ogden brewery. As always, cheers.