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Happy Hour at Belt's Beer Garden: This Beer Tastes Like ESPN3

We're committed to finding new beers to try each week just for you! The things we do for our readers!

We're not your average dive bar
We're not your average dive bar

Carter Adler and I contend that nothing goes with MAC sports as well as beer does. And so, in this brand new weekly segment, we've committed ourselves to drinking a new craft beer each week and bringing you our analysis of it. It might be the hardest homework we've ever had, but it's for a good cause and someone's got to do it!

The first beer to ever be featured in our Beer Garden is Short's Autumn Ale, which was reviewed by Carter.

shorts 2

Carter: For the first go-round of this, I sampled a seasonal outing from one of my favorite breweries: Short's Autumn Ale.

To those who aren't familiar with them, which is probably everyone outside Michigan - since they don't distribute below the Mitten - Short's is in the small town of Bellaire, Michigan (1,086 people as of 2010), which is on the northwest side of the Lower Peninsula, about midway between Traverse City and Petoskey. Bellaire is the county seat of Antrim County, the entire population of which could fit into any MAC stadium (in some cases, in addition to the normal attendance). I've heard mixed reviews of Joe Short's business acumen, but let the record show that he's a brilliant brewer.

Autumn Ale pours to a beautiful reddish amber color. There's not much head, just enough to confirm that it's not flat. At first whiff, it smells slightly sweet and malty, a smell that calls to mind a good home-brewed beer. In my mouth, I can feel a tiny bit of carbonation, but again, not a lot. The flavor isn't as sweet as the scent, fading to a very slightly bitter finish (I see Autumn Ale listed at 30 IBU; compare to my summer go-to, Huma Lupa Licious, which is listed at a ridiculous 140 IBU).

This is a solid beer, high quality without being flashy. In football terms, this would be a team that never runs any kind of misdirection or trick play but always executes on the fundamentals (we're looking at you Akron). Speaking of which, at 5.75% ABV (alcohol by volume), it's a little strong for a session beer (though not out of the question), but could work pretty well for a shorter tailgate, or if you're watching at home and the game's not going well. And at $10 for a six-pack, it's not going to break the bank either.

I'd give it a 7.

7 beers 2

The other beer we're featuring this week is Maine Beer Company's Another One.

maine another one

Dave: For my inaugural tasting I went back to a favorite of mine, the Maine Beer Company. Maine Beer Company operates out of Freeport, Maine and doesn’t have a huge following or large distribution – but they should! You can only find them in a handful of states – mostly on the east coast and in Chicago (yes, it’s not a state, but could be) - but they have so many great choices, and would recommend you try any of them if you can find them. This week I (re)tried Another One – an American IPA.

Another One is 7% ABV and when you pour it, it flows golden but slightly clouded. It smells beautifully of citrus and hops (I am biased, I love me some hops!). You can taste the carbonation, but it is not overwhelming. There is a strong citrus flavor with some hints of pine. It’s a dry finish, but still refreshing and quite tasty. In fact, I need another drink, hold on a moment…

Man, that’s good. Overall, this is one of the best IPAs I’ve ever had. Now, the price can be steep - $7 for a 16.9 oz bottle (in my city) – but it is worth every penny. And if getting drunk on it isn’t reason enough, how about this:

Not only does MBC bring people great beers, but they donate 1% of all sales to environmental non-profit organizations, use natural energy, donate used grains/yeast/bags to local farmers, and support local charities with a percentage of their tasting-room profits. If that’s not a reason to drink more of their beer, I don’t know what is!

Another One is great for those MAC games you have to watch online. The taste can relax you if you’re winning, while the 7% ABV can make those losses seem more bearable. It’s a good, consistent beer that no one has heard about about – kind of like Toledo’s football team…only better! Much better! Actually…it’s more like the Huskies…yeah, it’s that good. I give it a 9.

9 beers

Agree or disagree with our assessments? Or have a beer we should try? Let us know - we love trying new beers!