- Mike Riedel
Salt Lake City's beer selection as of late has become more than a single beer nerd can handle. There are so many good breweries that everyone has to set themselves apart to keep us consumers from getting bored. This week's beers are definitely not boring, keeping old styles fresh and new.
RoHa Brewing Project Millenium Falcon: Pours a copper, amber in color with a good amount of frothy white head that dissipates to a thin layer of foam. The aroma definitely showcases the hops—very floral, perhaps more on the pine and juniper side than citrus and grapefruit. Also predominant are bread and butter, honey and toffee. The taste is much more balanced than I expected. The sweet toffee and brown sugar malts hit first, with not as much bread as in the aroma. Next comes the hops, which are actually a bit more grapefruit-like than the nose had led me to believe. There is some pine as well, but it's nicely offset by the citrus. The beer finishes on the bitter, hoppy side with some spice and very slight astringency; a hop and malt balance lingers on the tongue. The gas creates a good medium-bodied beer with low carbonation. It has a nice cream-and-toffee chewy feeling on the tongue that I wish was a bit more prominent, as it comes off a little thin overall.
Overall: This is very drinkable and well-balanced amber-red ale, but RoHa has definitely created better versions. This one lacks a bit of the flavor and complexity of other beers in its portfolio, and it comes off a little bit thin on the tongue. This is, of course, nitpicking, as the beer as a whole still provides more than enough flavor for a hop-forward ale. Still, with a little bit more polish, this 5% ABV ale will be a classic contender.
Bewilder Brewing Co. New Zealand Kellerbier: The "Keller" part of this beer means that it's unfiltered and that no clarifiers were added; the "New Zealand" part denotes the origin of the hops used. The result is a beer that has a pretty, golden copper-amber color with a solid two fingers of white head that keeps hanging in there. Nice aromas of bready, toasted malt emerge up front, imparting notes of freshly-baked sourdough bread or English muffins. I also get notes of caramel and brown sugar, along with some spices of black pepper and parsley. There's quite a bit of lemony, grapefruity citrus as well. I get lots of grassy, piney, hops tingling my nostrils, along with a faint soapy aroma as well. The taste mimics the aroma with toasted malt up front, imparting notes of freshly baked bread or muffins. These flavors are followed by caramel and brown sugar-like sweetness, as well as that peppery quality, plus quite a bit of citrus punching through. Finally, I get lots of grassy, piney hops, which really asserts itself as the beer gets closer to room temperature. Medium-bodied with a good balance between smooth, creamy and effervescent gasses. With an ABV of 5%, there's a surprising amount of pleasant alcohol on the palate.
Overall: This is an interesting lager, much more hoppy than I was expecting, which drew me into this Southern Hemisphere style of lager. This would be a great entry beer for those who like IPAs but don't like lagers. If you find yourself in that camp, I'd check this one out.
These draft only beers can be found exclusively at their respective sources. As with all seasonals, don't procrastinate or you'll be shit out of luck—and we don't want that. As always, cheers!