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Belt's Beer Garden: Giving Thanks For Beer!

We can all agree that beer will help us immensely in getting through this holiday season.

"Paintings are like a beer, only beer tastes good and it's hard to stop drinking beer." - Billy Carter
"Paintings are like a beer, only beer tastes good and it's hard to stop drinking beer." - Billy Carter

As most people spent a lot of time with family yesterday, it means most of us consumed a lot of alcohol...we're no different here. So just in case you didn't have anything good yesterday, we're here to show you two new beers that will help you get through dealing with your extended family for the rest of the weekend.  Good luck!

First up, Norm tried something to remind him of those warmer months we just lost.

daisy cutter

Norm:  While the season says I should be something more along the lines of a winter ale or stout, I'm going to rewind the clock a few months and try what I consider to be a summer beverage.

Daisy Cutter is by Half Acre Beer Co. out of Chicago, IL. I don't think a beer named Daisy was brewed to be drank while wearing flannel lined jeans but it IS available right now, and summer is not. So why wait. This is an American Pale Ale that I've somehow managed to avoid up until now. It's an ale that's well known and respected in the Chicago area craft culture - maybe too much so and I've always taken it for granted. Whatever the reason, I've now tried it and have realized the error of my ways.

Smooth...really smooth. Like mercury on Teflon smooth.  That was my immediate reaction after my first taste. And my second. Before I knew it I was quickly on to three, four and five. Where'd my beer go? This beer goes down so easy it's probably a good thing it checks in at only 5.2% ABV.

This pours to a lovely light golden color with a decent head that left about a finger's worth of lacing. I found the aroma to be rather mild. More towards the pine and grass notes over the less noticeable citrus aroma. Overall, it's got a decent floral whiff of ale but nothing too unique.

As I stated earlier, this beer is extremely smooth drinking. What surprises me is that the initial flavor is a tad bitter. There's some hop in there as well, but it takes a backseat to the earthy bitterness. There's also a hint of grapefruit in there that helps keep things crisp. This bitter-floral-citrus effect is really refreshing going down, and then it leaves your mouth a bit dry after it's gone.

Beyond the obvious winter reasons that the next four months of Midwest hell will bring us, Daisy Cutter has given me an extra incentive to look forward to spring. I will undoubtedly be sitting on a patio, in the sun, wearing outdated cargo shorts, enjoying this once ignored, delicious, ale by Half Acre. I give it an eight!

8 beers

Dave: I have decided to try something more seasonal, in a dark winter ale.

nogne winter

Nøgne Ø might have one of the weirder names as far as beer companies go, but that's because they're not from around here...in fact they're no where near America. Nøgne Ø calls Grimstad, Norway its home and is the largest brewery in the country. Their name means "naked island" in Norwegian and they opened in 2002. Nøgne Ø has been available in the US since 2005, but I cannot find a map of where they are distributed - so if you can't find them, I am sorry. But on to the beer.

The bottle in America may say Winter Ale, but its original name is God Jul - so if you find that beer, it is the same one. This Norwegian beer pours dark, dark brown - almost black - and is topped with two fingers of brown head. It smells of chocolate, coffee, and alcohol - and at 8.5%, it is a rather potent ale, with very little bitterness (at only 30 IBUs). The taste is not nearly as strong as the smell, but it is very malty and is followed by a stout like aftertaste that lingers for a while. Their Winter Ale tastes almost like a roasted coffee with a bit of an alcohol burn, but is better than I was expecting from the smell and appearance (as I usually like IPAs and other lighter beers).

It almost tastes like a porter/stout so, if you like those, it is worth trying. I will say this, it is one of the more expensive beers I've had, at $10.99 for a 16.9 ounce bottle, but if you can find it on sale or cheaper, BUY IT! Because I don't normally enjoy these types of beer, it will be a lower grade than I have previously given out but, again, it is a pretty good porter-like beer. Overall, I give it a six but fans of dark beers should definitely try this.

6 beers