- Mike Riedel
Templin Family/Horus Aged Ales: This collaboration between Salt Lake's TF Brewing and Oceanside, Calif.'s Horus Aged Ales marked at least a couple of "firsts." One, it marked the first collaboration between a local Utah brewery and a San Diego brewery; two, this is the first lager that this ale house has created, to the best of my knowledge. Using a type of craft pilsner malt that hails from the San Diego area called Atlas, the lager has a yeast-hazed, cloudy sunburst straw body, with a proud three fingers of off-white head that will not budge; it's like a nitro head, and I'm impressed with that kind of staying power. Honey and bread notes emerge up front, lingering on forever with a touch of spicy hop character. It's not an overly complex aroma, but it promises a bountiful swig of bread and honey goodness—and who doesn't like bread and honey?
Yep, this is as good as expected; TF fails to disappoint yet again. The reason I love their Kellerbier is that, for a lager, it tastes round like an ale, but with the clean quality of a lager. Atlas has bread, honey, spice/pepper, light floral hop notes and a dry cracker finish—all the good stuff, with a cleaner and lighter feel. Mid to light/almost medium-bodied, with that classic German creamy but light carbonation that makes you realize, "These lager nerds know their shit."
Overall: I could drink this all day. In any case, this is a damn solid Zwicklebier, and if you've never come across the style, be forewarned: You might find it a bit on the dense side and lacking in spritziness. It's certainly not a palate-cleanser, if that's what you're after. This is real beer done in a traditional fashion.
Templin Family - Barrel-aged Grisette: This beer has been aging in chardonnay barrels with chardonnay must for nearly a year. The base beer is a light Belgian ale, akin to saisons. It has an amazingly nice-looking head that is off white in color and starts out about three fingers thick with nice uniform bubbles throughout. It retains very well, settling into a one-finger-thick head and becomes pillowy dense. The color of the brew is yeast-hazed straw, with soft carbonation rising to the top and the lacing is all right—nothing special in the grand scheme of things.
There is plenty of chardonnay barrel sweetness in the nose that straddles the fence between wine grapes and tropical/orchard fruit (apricot, pears)—smooth dry spice (pepper), hints of wild funk and a peachy apple finish. This is rich and very vinous.
Initial flavors of oaked earthiness, chardonnay wine robustness and creamy biscuit/yeast come out up front—very little alcohol in the body, and the yeasty dryness makes this style what it is. The finish becomes fruity, with apricot kernel and citrus rind, while throughout there is a hint of vanilla from the oak. Perhaps a soft hopped bitterness ensues on the finish
Overall: This is a highly drinkable ale that is medium-to-full-bodied, and has awesomely tight carbonation that reminds me of a sparkling chardonnay spritzer. The 5.0 percent alcohol isn't very noticeable, which makes it prime for August drinking.
These two beers are quite different, and really showcase the versatility of TF's portfolio. While they are gaining a reputation in the beer industry for their lagers, beer like this session strength, barrel-aged ale will keep beer nerds and the curious coming back to see what all the fuss is about this week. Atlas is available on draft and in 16-ounce cans, while the grisette is only available on draft for a limited time. As always, cheers!