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Belt's Beer Garden: Lights, camera, action!

These craft beers would make some great summer blockbusters.

This week Norm and I have a few beers named after what I feel would be some pretty sweet action flicks. I know I'd be waiting for the midnight show of these.

Norm's up first with a great Chicago beer:


It's always good to have a standby. Whether its your favorite fast food meal deal, TV show reruns, or after 2 am back-up plan. In my case, my standby pertains to beer. My favorite local beer. Pipeworks. Of all of my favorite Pipeworks, there is always one reliable standby brew. Ninja vs Unicorn IIPA.

While Pipeworks has mastered many amazing IPAs, who's quality is rivaled only by Three Floyds in my opinion, NvU is their flagship IPA. Not their best. But it's year around and always available.

Newly available in 4 packs of 20 ounce cans, NvU checks in at a moderate 8% ABV, yet carries a hefty price of $11.

When I open an IPA, I want a blast of citrus notes with a touch of pine and hop. This is just what you get with this beer and another reason it's one of my favorites.

When I look at a full glass of IPA, I want to see a golden orange, slightly hazy beverage with a decent, but not to foamy head. Again, just what you get with this.

When I taste a great IPA. I taste this beer. Hop forward with plenty of grapefruit and mango. Milder malt taste than many IPAs, and that's fine with me. Just enough bitter on the back end to be enjoyed, but not leave an unpleasant taste.

This is, and will be, for quite awhile my go-to IPA. And now that it's available in cans, even more so. It's limited to the Chicagoland area and New York, so not so easily attainable. But much like it's namesake icons, its a mystical brew. 9/10.

9 beers

Next up, I have a local brewery that hasn't gotten the respect it deserves from us here:

kick em

After nearly eight months of reviewing beers I realized I had neglected the biggest brewery with in 10 miles of me. Today, I fix that. Warrenville, Illinois is home to Two Brothers, a staple in the Chicagoland area. They began way back 1996 as a family owned business and are proud to still be one. Since 2003, they have exploded around the area and are now available in 10 states, mostly in the Midwest: Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, and Florida.

This imperial pilsner pours a slightly cloudy golden color with barely a touch of head topping it. The aroma is crisp with a sweet malty backbone, some hops, and a floral sweetness to it.

When drinking, the floral notes and hops hit my tongue first. A bubbly, sweet flavor comes across - almost all floral with a tad bit of bready maltness to it backing up the sweetness.

However, if I hadn't read the label, I could have been persuaded to believe that this was an IPA as the hops attack first and, at 45.2 IBU, there is a tinge of bitterness to it. The beer is rather well carbonated and leaves just a slight lacing around the glass as you drink. At 7.5% ABV, it's no slouch in the alcohol department but hides it really well.

There is only one real flaw in the beer: that aftertaste leaves a semi-sticky flavor lingering on my tongue. Not that it was a big deterrent from drinking it, as I found Kick ‘Em to be a rather smooth and tasty beer.

A 22-ounce bomber will run you $8.99 so it isn't the cheapest beer they offer, or frankly the best (that belongs to Sidekick), but it isn't overly priced for what you're getting.

Kick ‘Em is the first imperial pilsner I've had and is more hop-forward and IPA-ish than most pilsners. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it and so, as far as pilsners go, it was one of the better one's I've had. As a limited release, it won't be around for long, so if you find it, snag a bottle. 8/10

8 beers