- Mike Riedel
Fisher/City Weekly - Private Eye: You may not know this, but Colby Frazier of Fisher Brewing Company was also an award-winning journalist for City Weekly some years ago. His time in the brew house hasn't softened his love of journalism or City Weekly, however, and to prove it, he and CW grand poobah John Saltas got together and created a special beer to honor SLC's weekly paper of many decades, all while donating a few drachma to Press Backers, a nonprofit aimed at supporting free alternative news-media outlets.
This pale ale pours a solid apricot-blonde color; it's quite clear considering it's not filtered, and is topped with one finger of frothy, off-white head. It recedes gradually over a period of minutes, leaving behind a soapy film on the surface. There's a generous collar around the edge, and a loose draping of lace is left behind on the glass—a beautiful-looking beer. The aroma isn't half-bad either, with notes of bready malts, lemony-pine notes and a touch of grapefruit.
It didn't take long for my palate to give this one a hearty thumbs-up. A sturdy backbone of pale, bready malts and caramel sweetness soon gives way to some citrusy grapefruit peel and resiny pine notes. The finish is pithy and bitter, with a lingering, astringent aftertaste. It's on the light side of medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation levels that are appropriate for the style. Fairly refreshing, with a reasonably hoppy kick to it, definitely session-worthy.
Overall: Private Eye is a very respectable 5.0 percent pale ale. Its bitterness does tend to take you on a trip to IPA territory, but the malt bill quickly boomerangs you back. This makes for an enjoyable glass, and one that I'd definitely recommend to those in the market for a hop-forward pale ale.
RoHa Barrel-Aged Nights Out: The RoHa Brewing Project took their Belgian-inspired stout and aged it for six months in Beehive Distilling's rye whiskey barrels. The result is a beer that pours basically pitch-black in color, with two fingers of tan colored foamy head that was full of tiny bubbles which faded slowly and left very nice foamy lacing and a spotty layer on top. Smells of dark chocolate, roasted malt, peat moss, charred wood, vanilla, faint bourbon, oaky/barrel notes, brown sugar and sweet malty accents emerge. The rye whiskey, vanilla and chocolate dominate, and then some fruit notes pop up, like raisins and red wine. There's no real sign of the booze, making it nice to inhale.
Flavor builds upon the nose with the same line up, and some additions which taste like dark chocolate, molasses, roasted malt, coffee grinds, peat moss, charred wood, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit, oaky/barrel notes, brown sugar, caramel and sweet malty/grainy notes. It almost seems like a piney hop bite, adding a dash of peppery spice and cutting down on the sweetness, making this seem balanced even though I know it's all malt, all the time. The rye is always present in a subtle way, adding pleasing complexities. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with mild carbonation—a medium-to-heavy body that has enough texture to resemble a meal in a bottle, but doesn't come off as thick or dense.
Overall: The level of sweetness covers the 8.6 percent ABV very well, but still allows the whiskey and vanilla flavors to add a lot of depth. A really tasty stout with six months of age, this one is enjoyable enough that I'll try to get my hands on more of it.
Barrel-Aged Nights Out is a limited release, so I don't have to tell you to move your ass to snag some of this. Private Eye is available on draft or in 32-ounce cans from the brewery. If you want a can, I'd hurry before all the CW employees buy them all. As always, cheers!