One of my favorite things about beer is hops. They can transform a sweet soup of malty goodness into a palatable, heavenly dream. Once upon a time, hops were primarily used to balance out the beer’s sweetness and make it a more drinkable experience. Soon thereafter, its preservative qualities made its mark on the culture, adding to the mysterious flower’s importance. In today’s beer life, we in North America (and around the world, for that matter) have discovered that there is a complex ribbon of bitter/resiny flavor profiles out there that have transformed delicious, traditional beers into uncanny fruity impersonations of beers that, previously, could only have been dreamed about. Sure, you can alter a beer’s flavor by adding fruits or chemicals, but to make a fruity tropical beer as it’s meant to be with just malted barley, hops, water and yeast—now that’s a special feat that should be appreciated and cherished. I’ve found a couple of new additions to the market that fit the great, hoppy criteria that I think are definitely worth your time.
Rodeo Rye Pale Ale
Brewery/Brand: Payette Brewing Co.
Serving Style: 12 oz. Bottle
Description: The look of this beer is really nice. I love the deep, clear ruby hue against the contrast of the white, foamy cap. When it’s appealing to the eye, you know you’re in for a treat. The nose has a nice Citra hop “pop” of tropical fruit and a slight hint of mustiness. The flavor is quite nice as well. Passion fruit, peaches and mangoes are up front with a malt profile that has that nice, spicy rye kick. The finish is slightly piney and a little dry.
Overall: This is a nice, low-alcohol addition to our market from Idaho. It’s not as thin as some of the other low-alcohol beers that have come in from out of state—definitely worth your time.
Escape to Colorado IPA
Brewery/Brand: Epic Brewing Co.
Serving Style: 22 oz. Bottle
Description: Pours a slightly hazy butternut squash color with a nice foamy head of pure white. Get your nose down in there and you’ll find a shload of big mango fruitiness with a bit of toasted cereal beneath. The taste starts with a smidge of pale malt, and the fruitiness from the nose is also present on the tongue. Grassy/earthy hops are much more prevalent toward the end. The finish is dry, clean and toasty.
Overall: This beer was never really meant for the Utah market, but as production schedules at Denver’s Epic Brewery have normalized, we can now reap the benefits.
Heelch O’ Hops DIPA
Brewery/Brand: Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Serving Style: 12 oz. Bottle
Description: This one has great clarity with a pleasant glow of orange and yellow against the bar light. The nose is full of pine, citrus and peach. The flavor starts where the nose left off: peachy with citrus and pine. Sugary caramel malt and toast bring up the middle with a nice, piney bitterness rounding out the end, finishing semi-dry with a hint of alcohol.
Overall: Anderson Valley’s beers have been in the Utah market for nearly 10 years. This double IPA is fairly new and one of their better hoppy offerings.
After you’re done here, skip on over to UtahBeer.blogspot.com and check out what other beer jewels may be floating around town this month. Cheers!