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Belt's Beer Garden: 50th Beer celebration!

It's a big day for the Beer Garden, as we reached our first milestone.

"I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer." - Homer Simpson
"I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer." - Homer Simpson

After 25 weeks of reviewing beers, starting way back in October, we've finally come to a big milestone - our 50th beer reviewed. And to celebrate, next week we'll be bringing out an article ranking all 50 beers in order.

But until then, here's the 49th beer featured on Beer Garden:

Norm:

Since the Belt's Beer Garden is on the cusp of its 50th beer reviewed, I thought I should reach for something as hard working as the crew here at Hustlebelt. A noble working-class brew for the masses. No, not Budweiser. We try a little harder than that at the Belt's Beer Garden to bring you a higher quality beer to review.  Don't get me wrong, I'll have an ice cold Bud every now and then. Emphasis on ice cold. Beer starts to lose some of it's flavor the colder it gets. Ever wonder why Coors Light wants you to drink their beer at almost freezing temperatures? But really, Budweiser isn't all that bad. They did give us this adorable SuperBowl ad from a couple season ago.

I'm talking about a real blue collar type beer. I'm talking about a tougher time and tougher people. I'm talking about Porters. Porters surfaced in the early to mid 1700's in and around London. It was one of the first beers to be mass produced and was especially popular with the working class.

baltic porter

After giving this style beer another try with a review in mind, I may have to rethink how tough times were back then. If they had beer this good, how bad could things be? Dysentery and Typhoid aside, the porter I'm trying is Baltic Porter by Smuttynose Brewing out of New Hampshire. This beer comes in at 9.24% ABV.

Baltic Porter pours to a very rich, creamy, medium sized head that leaves a nice amount of lacing. It's almost opaque as it sits in your glass. An extremely dark amber brown bordering on black, barely allowing any light threw.

A strong roasted malt aroma just dominates at first. Hints of chocolate and berry are slightly present.

The taste on this one is just great. There's a good balance of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and a touch of fruit, like fig or raison. It finishes off with a bit of smokiness.  Nothing here overwhelmed the senses and this beer has a real nice balance. Very flavorful all around and masks any trace of the higher alcohol percentage.

I have been much more of a stout drinker in the past, and while stouts and porters are very closely related, I'm going to shift some of that dark beer love over to the porter section. With summer approaching, it may not be the beer to enjoy during yard work or a game of bags, but with a nice meal or a night cap, this could be just the thing. I'm going to give this porter a stout rating of 8.5/10.

8.5

Dave:

So here it is! Without further ado, the 50th beer!

molotov cocktail ssh

Brooklyn, New York is the home of Evil Twin Brewing. They've been around since 2010 but do things a little differently. All their beers are brewed off location, at one of 10 different breweries around the world including Holland, Denmark, Brazil, and South Carolina (after all, it is a different world down there).

I have not had the regular version of Molotov Cocktail, but I know I usually enjoy Simcoe hops, so I thought I'd give this one a try. Molotov SSH was brewed using Two Roads Brewing facility in Stratford, Connecticut. This Imperial IPA and pours a cloudy amber color with loads of tiny bubbles escaping upwards towards the surface. However, there is very little head that tops this beer.

There is a sweet citrus aroma emanating from the beer. It's like a combination of tangerines, oranges, grapefruit, and hops. I've got to say, I love the smell and had to dive right in.

The taste is just like the smell, only sweeter. I was a little surprised by how sugary-sweet the beer was. The malts and hops play in the background while the syrupy/citrus notes overpower the rest. Molotov leaves you with a lingering bitterness and thickness. The bitterness fades quickly but you'll be left smacking your lips trying to get more water to your mouth in order to combat the syrupy residue left by the marmalade of fruit and sugar.

Molotov SSH is 13% ABV, which means it packs a wallop. The alcohol is hidden incredibly well by the citrus and hops; I never would have guessed it was so high in alcohol content if the bottle hadn't told me so. There is a bitterness to the beer but it isn't too bad at all. I can't find a listed IBU rating for it but I'm betting it'd be somewhere around 60-80.

I got my 22-ounce bomber for only $6.99, which is a steal compared to the rest of Evil Twin's brews (it's hard to find one of their beers for under $10). I have yet to have their regular version of Molotov but, after trying this one, I think I'll need to give it a try.

Molotov SSH is a rather tasty beer with a rather unorthodox aftertaste. The sticky mess your mouth is left with after drinking is not ideal but the rest of the experience is well worth the cost of admission. It is similar to Tango Delta from Horny Goat but with a nicer taste up front. 7.5/10

7.5