Tonight I am revisiting First One Down, a Wasatch Brewery brand beer brewed by the Utah Brewers Cooperative of Salt Lake City, Utah.
I did not realize until now that I reviewed it last December. (Thank goodness I checked before posting. Phew!)
First One Down pours a dark amber that is leaning toward brown. The color has a deep ruby tone, too. A finger-width of light tan, dense head laves a few spots of bubbles, a skim, a ring around the edge, and a little lacing stuck to the glass. The first whiff is reminiscent of black IPA, though not as dark and roasted, with scents of pine, toasted malt, cocoa, caramel, and citrus that may be grapefruit (why not?). The flavor is quite a mix; it almost has a little of everything. Sweet caramel, toasted malt, hop citrus, bitterness, and a touch of booze. There is a pleasing but not overpowering astringency from the pine and toasted malt. Dark fruit is present, too, mostly with cherry licorice. The toasted malt slowly starts to gain prominence. Citrus remains, though. The flavor evens out and becomes a tasty blend that has a boozy edge.
Comparison to previous tasting: Either I am losing my ability to pick out aromas and flavors or this beer has been tweaked. (Or perhaps I am just that burned out.) There is not as much citrus and absolutely no tropical fruit this time. Everything else seems to be there, but it is missing that bouquet of citrus and tropical fruit I noted previously. Last year I gave this beer an A-, but this time around I was poised to give it a B. Oddly enough, though, the price is exactly the same — only this year I bought it at the Hy-Vee on Waterfront in Iowa City. I was also going to make the same comment about the beer’s 7.1 percent ABV: I thought breweries in Utah were limited to brewing beer less than 5 percent ABV. Perhaps the law changed in the ol’ Beehive State. I will need to check on that.