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Belt's Beer Garden: Happy New Beers!

Let's start 2015 off right, with two new beers to try.

“Beer's intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.” - Ray Bradbury
“Beer's intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.” - Ray Bradbury

This week, I've got beers from the East Coast and the Midwest - both of which are quite good. I rang in the New Year by trying a local (for me) brew from Hailstorm Brewing.

prairie madness

Normally, I try to drink a beer that can be found across the country (or at least in MAC country), but this week, I decided to stick locally. Hailstorm Brewing is relatively new on the craft beer scene; in fact, I can't even find when they officially started brewing beer. However, I do know that they operate out of Tinley Park, Illinois and so far strictly distribute to the Chicagoland area, which will hopefully change soon.

Prairie Madness pours a dark copper color, with about a finger or two of head topping off the beer. You can immediately smell the citrus and hops - to me, it smelled wonderful, so I dove right in. When I first sipped it, there was quite a bit of carbonation to it, as the head was still dissipating, but the taste wasn't as citrus oriented as the aroma would have you think. There was a lot of pine in the taste with the citrus just lingering in the back. It's got a rather light body and the carbonation feeling lasts throughout the beer, but it is a rather easy beer to drink.

At 6.6% ABV and 66 IBU, it won't knock you down but it will make you feel pretty good. It is on the drier side and neither the malts nor hops overtake one another. It's a really well balanced IPA and makes me want to try their other beers. It is on the more expensive side, at $7.99 for a 22 ounce bomber, but hopefully that won't deter you! If you find them, try them! I give Prairie Madness an 8.5


The other beer I've got for you this week is from a national powerhouse - Dogfish Head.

midas touch

Dogfish Head has been around since 1995 and is one of the few good things that have come from the state of Delaware (just kidding Delaware, we love you!). Located in Milton (and Rehoboth), Dogfish Head is famous for their 60 Minute, 90 Minute, 120 Minute, and any other duration of time beers that they want. They currently distribute to most of the US, but just to be safe you should see if they're near you with this page here.

Midas Touch was first brewed in 1999 from an ancient 2,700 year old recipe found in the drinking vessels of King Midas' naturally I had to try it. It's an ale made with honey, barley, grapes, and saffron and pours a clear golden color with little head and quite a lot of bubbles. When you first smell Midas Touch, the honey and saffron come out, as it is a sweet, floral aroma that fills the glass. However, on the first sip it's the grapes that come out - almost like a beer-champagne hybrid. The grape taste lingers for a moment before disappearing into a honey after taste. However, towards the end that honey aftertaste dissipates and there is a slight alcohol burn - not enough to dissuade me from drinking it, but it is there.

At just 12 IBU, there is no bitterness at all - it's incredibly smooth, thanks to the honey. But at 9% ABV, this is beer is dangerously tasty. I can see why they drank this beer even two millennia ago! It holds up really well. The only possible drawback is the price tag. At $13.99 for a four pack of 12 ounce bottles (or $3.49 per 12 ounce bottle), it's a little steep, but not overly expensive. Somehow, it was worth every cent though. Dogfish Head has done a whole series of Ancient Ales and this is the first, and only, one I have found so far. But if they all taste this good, I'm in! I give this an 8.5 as well!