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Belt's Beer Garden: who needs eggnog when there's beer!?

With Christmas fast approaching, there's never a better gift than beer! So here's two more new brews for you to try.

"Everybody has to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." - W.C. Fields
"Everybody has to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." - W.C. Fields

Norm and I are here once again reviewing two more beers. Christmas come at a cost...all that stress from shopping, family, and buying presents. There is no better way to get through the holidays than great craft beers.

This week Norm tried something from Minnesota, eh.

Norm:

bedlam

What happens when Belgian-style yeast combines with fruity citra hops? It's bedlam, I tell you! Bedlam! Ale Asylum's Belgian IPA named Bedlam to be precise. Ale Asylum is a nice little brewery out of Madison, Wisconsin and Bedlam is one of their better offerings.

This beer pours to a hazy orange with minimal head that recedes quickly and leaves little lacing. Traces of sediment were left lingering in the bottom of the bottle. The aroma is sweet, tropical fruit with earthy yeast undertones. Or is it an earthy yeast aroma with citrus undertones? The citrus notes are very prevalent, but they are in a battle with the yeast biscuit aroma for supremacy. Not far behind are nice floral scents. The combination is something I don't encounter too often, but it is an interesting combination.

The taste is very much in line with the aroma - sweetness upfront with a yeasty backbone to follow.  If you're a fan of Belgian ales, I can't help but think you'll dig this. The dominant sweetness is reigned in by the smallest amount of hop bitter. Just a tad. I also seem to notice the slightest hint of clove.

I came into this tasting with a bit of trepidation. I'm usually into high powered, biting IPAs that depend on overwhelming hops and plenty of grapefruit citrus to cut the ABV down to size. This sweeter, more biscuit tasting IPA is really a nice change. It has found its own way to cut a decent 7.4% ABV down to an insignificant factor, yet still being very drinkable.  Belgian ale fans should really enjoy this offering.  Well done Ale Asylum. 7.5.

7.5

Dave: I have decided to yet another limited release beer...hey they're only around for a short amount of time!

high tide

Port Brewing Company began only a few years ago in 2006, when Stone Brewing Company moved into a bigger building. The owners of Port decided to take the old Stone building in San Marcos, California and created their own brewery with the philosophies of "brewing outside the box" and flavor first. They are one of the ten best up-and-coming breweries in the country, and for good reason.

I know I have already done quite a few fresh hopped beers already (like 3), but this is the last of them...I promise. High Tide Fresh Hop IPA pours a light, hazy, golden color with two fingers of head topping off the beer. It has a nice, subtle lemony-citrus aroma, but when first tasting High Tide, the hops immediately come out. You can taste the carbonation, the hops, and some pine lingering in the background. The malts balance out the hops pretty well, but you can still feel them on your tongue. As far as fresh hopped beers go, it's pretty good. There is no alcohol burn, nor is it too dry, or difficult to drink - if it was less carbonated, it would be the smoothest fresh hopped beer I've tried.

I can't find the IBU anywhere, but I can tell you that it's 6.5% and $7.99 for a 22 ounce bomber, both of which are pretty reasonable. Port Brewing may not be a household name quite yet, but if they keep making beers like this, then they will be soon. Yes, it is a little more expensive, but definitely worth it. I give it an 8.5.

8.5