Carter and I are now on week three of the Belt's Beer Garden, and that means we've now brought you a six-pack of beers you should be drinking.
The first beer we're featuring this week comes from Tallgrass Brewery, as I break down their Ethos IPA.
Dave: Well it’s now week three of Belt’s Beer Garden and I’m reviewing yet another IPA. That’s two IPAs in three weeks if you’re not keeping track (I already told you, I love hops). This time it’s Ethos by Tallgrass Brewing.
Tallgrass Brewing might not have a household name as of yet, but they do have a well known beer in their 8-bit Pale Ale. Tallgrass calls Manhattan, Kansas their home (just like Kansas State University. Right now they only distribute to 11 states, all in the Mid-West (sorry Indiana – you don’t get them), and part of Alabama. You can see if you get their beer on their website, linked above.
Ethos, when poured, has quite the head and is a dark copper color. It’s smells of caramel and malts and is rather inviting. After the first sip (or gulp, I don’t judge), caramel is the overwhelming flavor profile. As you are drinking, the beer leaves a nice lacing around the glass. The malts are there, but its more caramel than anything, with just a few hints of citrus. It’s very drinkable. The can says it has 110 IBUs, which is quite a lot. However, it does NOT taste as bitter as the can would suggest, as the malts subdue what bitterness there would be.
Ethos is 6.8% ABV (alcohol by volume, which hopefully everyone knows by now) and is relatively cheap. A four-pack of 16-ounce cans is only $10, or just $2.50 per beer (much cheaper than the other beers I’ve reviewed so far).
It’s a great beer for those winters in the MAC, where you have to sit in the bitter cold for 3+ hours. This IPA will warm you up in the stands at any stadium, and is worth the cost of admission. I give it a seven.
This week Carter had a slight problem and had to improvise, as he reviewed an old favorite - Short's Huma Lupa Licious:
Carter: For the most part, I’ve been using this series to explore beers that are new to me, sharing them with you as I experience them for the first (or almost first) time. I had planned to continue that this week, but what I had thought to be an early winter seasonal release turned out to be a leftover from last year. Aside from that not really being a fair tasting, since beer’s flavor can change with age, a quick internet search suggested that an unpasteurized beer might actually spoil, and my dedication to beer tasting for Hustle Belt does not extend to risking food poisoning.
So instead, I thought I’d share an old favorite with you.
If you’re not sure what to expect from Shorts’ Huma Lupa Licious, you need look no farther than the name, derived from Humulus lupulus, the binomial name for hops, and the giant image of a hop flower cone on the label.
From the name, to the label, this beer is all about the bold hops flavor, and there’s no let-up once you open it. Huma Lupa Licious comes with a slightly sweet citrusy aroma, and a flavor even bolder. The massive hops taste bears a strong similarity to grapefruit juice, though without the acidity. The malt never really comes to the fore as a flavor, but is clearly present enough to blunt the intense bitterness. But, make no mistake, this beer is bitter. Depending on who you believe, it’s somewhere between 96 and 140 IBU (there are technical problems with calculating IBU levels over 100). If bitterness is a problem for you or if you don’t tend to like IPAs, don’t even bother with this one. I can guarantee you won’t like it -- but if you’re into that kind of flavor, you certainly won’t regret drinking this one.
At $10-$11 per six-pack, you won’t want to drink it like water, and at 7.7% ABV you won’t need to...though despite the strength, I think I could drink this as a session beer. I enjoy it most in the summer, when its crisp flavor is refreshing enough to rejuvenate me after a day of yard work or a hot sunny afternoon at a football game. But even in cooler weather it’s one I come back to fairly regularly. The only downside is that, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, Shorts doesn’t distribute outside Michigan, so add travel expenses to that price.
If you don’t like a grapefruit-like bitterness, you’ll spit out your first mouthful and rate this beer a 3 or worse, but if, like me, you’re a fan of hops, this beer is a good solid 9.