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Belt's Beer Garden: Memori-ale Day drinking

Here are a few beers you should be searching out for your Memorial Day party.

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This weekend is Memorial Day, which means most of you will have it off...which means most of you should be drinking. Unlike some beer brands that want to try and be patriotic by changing their name (looking at you Budweiser!)...here are some brews you should be looking for that are ACTUALLY owned by Americans.

First up Ale Asylum's Hu$h Money.

Madison, Wisconsin might be home to a B1G team but the city’s North Side also houses Ale Asylum. Since 2006 they have been slowly building an arsenal of tasty beers, like their Demento session pale ale or their Bedlam! IPA. As of right now, you can only find their brews in Wisconsin and Illinois but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them expand again soon.

Hu$h Money is a limited edition IPA that, surprisingly, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The 22 ounce bomber is just $6.99 and pours a murky, muted apricot color (almost like a light amber) with just under a finger of head that quickly faded into a thick bubbly ring around my glass with almost no head in the middle.

The brew has a strong piney aroma with some biscuity malts, a hint of honey, and quite a bit of dankness to it. It’s got a very weed-like resin quality to it.

Flavor wise, this IPA sticks to its guns. Throughout the entire sip there is a strong nutty taste with a cracker-like backing to it…and not much else. The description says it’s full of white grapes and fruit…but I didn’t find any of those in my bottle.

It starts with just the slightest fizz of carbonation before the nutty hops kick in and are immediately followed by the biscuit-like pale malts. The flavors don’t linger much after the taste, nor is there a lot of bitterness.

The 7.8% ABV is hidden behind all the nuttiness and not noticeable at all…which makes this brew slightly dangerous. There is no dryness to this brew and just a moderate amount of lacing as I continued to drink it down. There were pretty much no lines but a few spider webs of bubbles were left around the glass.

Overall, this beer is not my forte. I have never been a huge fan of malt or nutty hops, and I’m still not. It has so much pine and biscuit to it…and yet, the more I drank the more it grew on me. I was actually really surprised that I grew to tolerate the flavors (I wont say I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t bad). 7.5/10

7.5

Next we come back to Illinois for one of Arcade's new releases.

Arcade Brewing is no stranger to BBG, as this marks the fourth time they have been featured. The Chicago brewery calls Logan Square home and is actually housed in the same building as Ale Syndicate – another Chicago brewery.

This beer was created in collaboration with Valiant Comics to celebration the re-release of the Archer & Armstrong comic book. Its label art was even designed by the well-known Spanish artist David Lafuenta who has worked projects like Ultimate Comics: Spiderman, so if you love comic books and beer…this is for you. The 22 ounce bomber will cost you a tad bit more than the comic book, however, setting you back $8.99.

Archer and Armstrong is an American pale ale made with Cascade, Chinook, Columbus, Mandarina Bavaria, and Palisade hops. It pours a cloudy caramel color with some lighter amber hues towards the bottom of the glass. About two fingers of fluffy white head topped the beer. The head didn’t stick around too long and, just about a minute or so later, there was just a half inch or so of foam left.

On the nose, this beer is pretty balanced. There are some nice whiffs of citrus fruit, mostly tangerine and grapefruit, and pine that are mixed in with bready and caramel malts.

Much like the aroma, the taste is balanced as well. There is a pretty mild, but noticeable, carbonation that leads off the sip before the caramel malts cut into the fizz and give the beer a sweet taste. The hops aren’t too present in this beer for the most part, as you only get hints of the citrus from time to time during the sip. However, at the end there is a piney flavor that lingers on the tongue after each taste.

There isn’t really too much bitterness (it has an IBU rating of 29) as the malts really curtailed the hops on the flavor. Archer and Armstrong ends on just the tiniest dry note and has a light, semi-watery mouthfeel to it. The 7% ABV this bottle contains was barely noticeable at all. There were a few times towards the end of the bottle where I felt the booze warming my chest up as it went down…but it was a very easy to drink 7%.

As the beer continued to disappear from my glass, it leaves a strong amount of lacing around the container. There were bold, thick lines of bubbles clinging all around the glass which created an intricate ladder of lacing.

It’s hard to explain though; because there is nothing wrong with the beer…but for me it just lacks something. Maybe I miss the hoppy bite or wanted more of the citrus. I don’t really know what it is…I just felt it was missing a certain quality to it. It’s good, just not great. 7.5/10

7.5