- Mike Riedel
With all of the new beer options hitting me from every angle possible, it's easy to overlook some of the breweries that have been faithfully helping maintain our psyches over these last few years. So I got my ass over to Salt Flats Brewing Co. to see what's new, and found a few extra adult-beverage surprises.
Slipstream IPA: It pours a sunny light orange to copper—very bright with a thick, white-ish head, about a finger tall. Pineapple and orange peel hops are prominent, with plenty of grassy and bready barley malt aromas. Some earthy hops, along with light floral tones, round it all out. Earthy, piney hops, along with some mild grain, start you off at first swig. It really runs through the garden as far as hops flavors go: Earthy, piney, mildly citrus with floral and herbal breads that complement the beer well, and is noticeably different from the traditional sweet caramel malts most brewers are using in IPAs these days. The more I drink this 9% beer, the more the grassy and floral hops come through, adding to the piney and citrus notes that try to dominate. As you get to the end, a smooth and mildly robust finish awaits, with more herbal citrus and pine lingering on the tongue.
Overall: Some of you might look at the color and the clarity and find it to be a bit out of your wheelhouse. That's due in part to the current trends of light stone fruit colors and a whole lot of un-filtering. This, to me, is an excellent example of a Northwest style IPA. The copper color and the earthy, robust citrus and pine are a good reminder that IPAs reflect their regions—or at the very least, their place in time.
Tankslapper Double Rye Ale: This new IPA shares similar hues to its sibling Slipstream—which is wholly appropriate, I might add—with its attractive burnt amber color and the earthen-tinged foam on top. Tankslapper opens to an aroma of hops, which bring sharp grapefruit rind, pine resin and lesser notes of lemon oil and eucalyptus. There's also a touch of sweet pink grapefruit from the hops, which mixes with a good bed of orange, berry and maybe even a touch of peach. A medium-strong pepperiness floats throughout, some of it from the hops, but likely much of it from the rye.
On the tongue, the beer opens with a surprisingly strong hop kick, considering the nose, with huge pine resin and grapefruit rind notes up front. Lemon and hints of anise (I think) are not far behind, with the hops geared heavily toward bitterness. This mixes with the pepperiness from the rye, which again stirs up notions of anise from the hops, adding spicy overtones to this 9% ale. Brown rye bread and biscuit add further complexity and earthiness with a dose of brown sugar, as well as a few bits of orange and berry. The hops wrap up the whole package providing a medium to strong palate-wrecking zap. The aftertaste is a bitter continuation of the main mouthful, lingering on the tongue for a long time.
Overall: It's impressive how much hop flavor is present here; hopheads definitely should put this on their must-try list. In the end, however, there's too much emphasis on the bitter and peppery notes. But this is a rye IPA and to me, rye makes every beer just a smidge better.
You can find these at Salt Flats Brewing Co., including their Garage Grill in Draper. And if you are more inclined toward cocktails, Salt Flats will soon be introducing their own line of locally-blended canned cocktails from Salt Flats' new distillery, adjacent to the brewery in its Salt Lake City home at 2020 W. Industrial Circle. As always, cheers!