- Mike Riedel
Full-flavored IPAs aren't falling out of vogue just because the temperature is rising. It doesn't matter if it's thick and chewy, bold or robust; if you find that brilliant malt and hop combo, you'll do anything to keep chasing that beer dragon. These might not be summer sippers, but they'll satisfy your cravings like only a pub version of a black-diamond run could.
Templin Family (TF) Brewing Northern Red Pale Ale: This beer begins with a nose so hoppy that it explodes into the room. Full of caramelized sugars, grapefruit and pine, the scent is one of enticement and intoxication as thick streams of pastry-like malt aromas engulf the senses. On the tongue, the beer opens with a hoppy blast that is surprising, even given the hoppy nature of the nose, coating the tongue in a sticky layer of berries, pink grapefruit and pine. The bitterness is surprisingly palatable; yes, it does gnaw at the tongue and soft palate, but it's so well blended with sugars and varied hop flavors that it assumes a role of equal billing to the malts. From here, the grains add heavy sugar and fruit esters, while the vague berry-like malts, and orange and white grape flavors dance about the edges. Hints of toast and biscuit help grind down the otherwise potent sugars. The finish is mainly hops, which lingers after the sugars die off in the aftertaste, creating a pungent bitterness that reminds me of biting into orange zest and bitter greens.
Overall: This amazing 7.5% beer takes you into barleywine territory, and manages to transcend what could be viewed as a simple malt bomb. Even though it contains healthy amounts of sugars and even more massive hops, none of the ingredients overpowers the others, and they instead work together in lovely syncopation.
2 Row Brewing Bullet 4 My Haze Bros: Utah's favorite IPA-making machine is at it again with yet another brilliantly concocted New England style IPA. This latest edition to their portfolio pours a cloudy dark yellow color that leans toward orange in hue, with a thick and foamy two-finger stark white head that has a solid amount of staying power. Wow, the citrus hops are strong and fruity—like sticking your nose into a sliced orange—yet the caramel and malty graham cracker come through to add fantastic balance accompanying the mix of pineapple, mango, grapefruit, dried apricots and pineapple chunks. The herbal and citrusy hops provide a mild spice trail, keeping this bad boy sweet and fruity-smelling.
Taste-wise, the beer picks up right where the aroma leaves off with fresh juicy hops, tangerine, orange peel and grapefruit. The hops selection also adds a slight pine and herbal flavor profile. All of these build on a nice bedrock of caramel, honey, pineapple and mango. Then, botanical hops wrap up the hops assault; earthy herbs like spruce and spices and pepper keep the 7.6% ABV hidden, and work well with the malt backbone to allow the hops to dance on the tongue in a prickly manner.
Overall: This is an outstanding beer. It's nice that 2 Row has the ability to obtain hop varieties that don't necessarily play to the usual flavors. While this beer does offer popular and familiar essences, it provides the drinker with challenges to their preconceived notions of what a hazy IPA can be.
Both of these beers are highly desirable by beer nerds from all over the state. I'd start a hunt for them as soon as yesterday. Their respective breweries are your best bet, but I've also seen them at places like Beerhive Pub, The Bayou, Beer Bar, Dick N' Dixie's and Slackwater if that's more helpful. As always, cheers!