May 2015 Beer Reviews

There’s that old adage: “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it!” In a nutshell, that’s our ancestors screaming at us from the past, telling us to leave a good thing alone. In many cases, that’s true—there are hundreds of things that impact our daily lives that have remained virtually unchanged since they were brought to our attention. Take the bicycle, for example: For the most part, it’s remained the same basic shape for over a hundred years. The people who coined that phrase never met a 21st Century beer brewer, however. Their mantra is: “If people love it like this, they’ll love three versions of it even more!” That is what we have to talk about this month—beers that have already made their mark locally and have now been given a new lease on life. Some of these beers will still be recognizable, others mind-bendingly different. Either way, those things that made them great are still there, with a little somethin’ extra or a little somethin’ taken away.

Kettle Sour IPA
Brewery/Brand: The Annex
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: Draft

This one pours a somewhat hazy apricot color with a thin-to-moderate amount of foam. Citrus and floral hops dominate the nose with a bit of sour dryness beneath. The taste starts with sour green apples, a bit of citrus and floral bitterness. Resinous, lemon peel slightly rounds out the back end, leaving a ghostly sweetness on the sides of the tongue. This beer is not lockjaw sour, but there is some puckering in the finish.
Overview: Basically, what has happened here is that the brewers have taken their Session IPA and added enzymes to sour the beer. Kettle Sour IPA still retains its hoppy IPA characteristics, but now has a dominant lemon tartness that makes it shockingly refreshing and drinkable—but not for the more timid of tongues.

Lil’ Brainless Raspberries
Brewery/Brand: Epic Brewing Company
ABV: 5.2%
Serving Style: 12 oz. can

To look at it, this ale looks like many other fruit beers—its fuchsia color and pinkish head almost squeal Katy Perry. Get your nose on top of that foam and you’ll find a nice raspberry perfume that has the slightest bit of co-riander lingering in the back. The taste starts with subtle raspberry flavors that are tart with some dry and puckering tannin notes. Next comes the malt with a bit of that phenolic spiciness from the yeast. Some floral bitterness from the hops lingers on the back of the tongue towards the end, with a finish that is semi-tart and dry.
Overview: Originally conceived from Epic’s Brainless Raspberries, this lighterin-alcohol, high-on-taste re-creation has everything a couch potato or backpacker could want. It’s not just a fruit beer— its Belgian roots are still present in the spiciness of its unique, funky yeast.

Polygamy Nitro Porter
Brewery/Brand: Wasatch Brewery
ABV: 5.5%
Serving Style: 12 oz. bottle

To pour this beer properly, one literally needs to turn the bottle “ass end up” so that the beer is dumped with gravity’s full force. If you do this in an appropriately sized glass, you’ll get a nice Guinness-looking, foamy nitro cap that contrasts well against the ebony body of the beer. The nose has some nice roast and char characteristics with a bit of sweet malt as well. Chocolate and black coffee dominate with caramel, raisin and fig. The taste tends to appear much sweeter than its sister wife, Polygamy Porter. The nitrogen gas tends to taste sweeter than the usual carbon dioxide. It’s mostly chocolate and vanilla up front with nice raisin and bold espresso notes rounding it out. The finish is light and creamy.
Overview: This locally made beer is one of only two beers bottled with nitrogen gas (Left Hand Milk Stout is the other). This is not the same Polygamy Porter you’ll find on draft or at the grocery store. Its higher ABV and nitro conditioning gives this beer an enjoyable milk stout feel, which makes it unique in the market.