- Mike Riedel
Normally, I prefer a little a little bitter with my sweet; it helps create balance and a drinkabilty. That being said, when a gooey pie of cake or pie is staring you down after savory meal, screw the balance—placate that sweet tooth, post haste! If you're craving a little decadence, have a got some treats for you.
Red Rock - Baked Pastry Stout: The pour is dense and thick, with a darker-than-black body and rather stately looking head. After about five minutes, the deep-mocha suds simmer down to a fine ring measuring about a quarter-finger. The nose is pretty much like German chocolate cake: swaths of chocolate, coconut, coffee and even some whipped frosting-like elements just jump out of my glass. That's some very tempting and decadent stuff here. It smells rich and sweet, but I can sense a little bit of roastiness and a hint of earthy notes (maybe hops for balance?).
My first few sips are surprisingly tame, but definitely still very flavorful. It's sharp up front, with milk chocolate syrup and a defined creaminess that plays with nutty and roasty malt notes in the mid palate, before the coconut and coffee flavors seep into the finish.
Overall: This is actually a nice, smooth, and well-defined beer, luckily. I think the carbonation might be a bit too prickly, but at least this isn't as dense and overly-sweet as I'd feared. Perhaps they were trying to be a little conservative, as sometimes vanilla can take on a coconut quality when combined with a melange of flavors.
Uinta - Mango Golden Spike: It poured a nice, fairly hazy orange color that takes on more of a brighter orange color when held to the light; three fingers worth of bubbly, creamy and slightly off-white head died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away. The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness, with a big mango aroma being the first to show up. It reminds me of a mango-scented Glade plug in the way it almost perfumes. Up next comes some more fruitiness, with some sweet malts showing up and some pale malts and grainy malt aromas showing up in the background.
The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma, and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness. That same mango aspect is the first to show up, imparting a pleasant, candied mango flavor with a lot of sweetness, and also a creamy, slight vanilla-like flavor. It's fairly smooth, a little cloying, a little sticky, not too crisp, a little spicy—on the thicker side of being medium-bodied, with a lower amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is pretty satisfying, and it works well with this beer.
Overall: I thought this was a nice example of the style. It's pretty much a fruit beer with how much the mango dominates it, but thankfully the wheat comes into play towards the end. This beer doesn't have the best drinkability; one glass is more than enough for me, as the intense flavors and sweetness start to wear on me. So if mango is your jam (or chutney), I recommend that you pursue this; if not, there are plenty of other offerings from Uinta that will take up your time.
I expect the Mango Golden Spike will be everywhere by the time you're reading this. You're going to need to do a little finagling with your local beer nerd for some Baked, or at the very least head to a Red Rock location to enjoy it there. As always, cheers.