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Belt's Beer Garden: An outside perspective

I bring in an outsider this week to help try some new beers.

Normally on this here I have other Hustlebelt writers Norman Miller, Carter Adler, and even our (fearless?) leader Alex Alvarado help me with reviews. Today, I'm bringing in someone different. My best friend Taylor wanted another crack at a review and I'm going to allow it. You might remember her, as she helped me out way back in April as well.

This week we bring you two new beers from the Chicago beer scene and, as always, ladies first. Here's Taylor's review of Half Acre's Gone Away IPA.


I know that cool cans don't count for much - but this can is pretty sweet.  Even though Half Acre is brewed and canned in Chicago, this beer can's design gives off a more western look.

gone away ipa

Half Acre's history began in 2006 where they've stated they brewed their beer in a spare bedroom.  They required assistance from a brewer in Wisconsin to get off their feet and begin selling in Chicago. A very humble beginning indeed. Half Acre now has a host of beers that they brew, some seasonal of course, some collaboration and others that they've brewed once, possibly never to return.

Cracking open this pint can, this golden wheat colored beer foams to perfection with just a little foamy head sitting on top. At 7% ABV, the initial light flavoring of this IPA gives way to a bitter rush as you swallow the beer.

It is definitely a mild IPA, balancing the right amount of flavor and bitter. It will leave that biting taste on your lips even after you swallow. Of course, like many IPAs, as you continue to drink the bitter flavor tends to take control sip after sip.

Personally, I have a very high opinion of Half Acre Beer. I've never had one that I didn't like, they are dependable like a good friend, but they're not afraid to do something different (i.e. "Chocolate Camero Stout" and "QuakerBridge" a Barley Wine Style Ale).

At $9.99 for the 4-pack 16oz cans, Gone Away is undoubtedly worth it. You can pick this bad boy up anywhere in the Chicagoland area but, sadly, that's the only place as of now. This IPA will keep you coming back for more of its mild and bitey combination.

Overall, I give this beer a 7.5/10.


Dave: I recently found two new beers (Fruit Sloop and Alemerica the Beautiful) from a brewery that I had never heard of (South Loop Brewing) before. Naturally, I needed to try them both. But I couldn't decide which one of the two to write a review on.

After using the trusty ol' method of flipping a coin, I finally settled on Fruit Sloop.

fruit sloop

South Loop Brewing Company is from, as you may have guessed, is from the south loop area of Chicago. They haven't been around too long yet and are only available in Chicago and select suburbs so far.

Fruit Sloop is an unfiltered pale wheat ale that, when poured, is a slightly cloudy straw color. The beer is quickly topped by just under two fingers of head but, just as quickly as it built up, the foam dissipated down to a thin layer, blanketing the top of my glass.

There was a strong aroma of a fruit salad emitted from the brew - I could pick out the likes of mango, peaches, and cantaloupes among others. I also picked up on a light hoppyness to it...that I much looked forward to.

My first sip was just what my nose sensed. The mild carbonation fizzed on my tongue, as did the flavors of peach and cantaloupe. There is a certain smokiness to it from the malts that lingers on the backend but otherwise you mostly get the peach as an aftertaste.

As I continued to drink more and more, Fruit Sloop continued to punch my tongue with peach and tropical fruit flavors. The little bit of foam that remained sure made itself known around the glass, lacing each of my sips with a solid white ring.

The hops do provide a tiny sting towards the end of each sip the further along I went, but there really isn't too much bitterness to this brew. At 5.5% ABV, drinking the whole 16.9 ounce (500 mL) bottle won't knock you down...but it will give you a nice buzz.

Overall, this is a pretty solid beer. The dank, peachy aftertaste does become harder to handle towards the bottom of the glass but the $6.99 price tag isn't excessive, so it won't kill your bank account. South Loop Brewing might not be available in a lot of areas yet, or even well known. But from what I've had of their stuff, they soon will be. 7.5/10


P.S. Their Alemerica the Beautiful was REALLY good: 8.25/10