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Belt's Beer Garden: No (Cincin)Natty Light here

Cincinnati gets its time to shine at the Beer Garden


This week, I'm bringing you two brews from a city that is just starting to emerge in the craft beer arena...Cincinnati, Ohio. Some of you will point out that, yes, technically one of these breweries is from Kentucky, but since it's literally just across the river...I'm counting it!

Up first we have Truth IPA from Rhinegeist.

Truth IPA from Rhinegeist Brewing

Rhinegeist is housed in a building that dates back to 1895 in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio – hence their name (which means Ghost of the Rhine). They brewed their first batch of beer in 2013 and have been quite successful since then. Right now you can only find them in parts of Ohio (those being Cincy, Columbus, Dayton) and Northern Kentucky.

Their West Coast style IPA, Truth, poured a cloudy golden amber color with more than two full fingers of fluffy white head. The head was quick to dissipate, leaving just a small dusting atop the liquid in less than a minute. However, quite a few bubbles didn’t want to leave and clung to the side of the glass creating a splotchy patchwork of foam lacing.

The West Coast influence really came out in the aroma, as there were plenty of citrus and hops to be found. Mostly I got grapefruit and a hint of piney hops with some mango and pale malts hiding beneath the surface.

The first sip didn’t quite mirror what my nose had picked up. The sip begins with a rush of carbonation, with the hops and just a slight grapefruit flavor tingling on my taste buds. As I began to swallow, the mango really showed itself. The whole backend of the taste was mango and pale malts to cut down on the otherwise bitter brew.

I was a little surprised how much the mango showed itself since the aroma had me thinking there would be more grapefruit. That being said, it was a pleasant and really tasty surprise.

The aftertaste brings back the piney hops witch lingers for a moment between sips. Truth ends on the dry end of things which brings some of the bitterness (it clocks in at 75 IBU) back for the moments between sips.

At the start of the beer the foam laced the glass quite well but, as I continued to drink down the contents of my glass, there was less and less lacing occurring. By the time I was more than half done, there were only one or two foamy spider webs stuck to the side of my glass.

Despite the higher IBU rating and the solid ABV (7.2%, which is completely hidden) this is a really smooth IPA. I could drink this all night long…and I would if I had more than just one can.

Overall, this was a great first impression from Rhinegeist. I really enjoyed this can and will be sure to find more of their brews anytime I’m in their distribution area. Truth IPA was smooth, had tons of mango and citrus flavors, and was almost too easy to drink. Even the price is right! A six pack of cans will only cost you $9.99. What’s not to like?! Really good stuff here! 8.5/10


Secondly, I wanted to bring Kentucky's Ei8ht Ball Brewing to your attention.

Ei8ht Ball calls Bellvue, Kentucky – which is next right next to Cincinnati, Ohio...just across the Ohio River. In fact, they are a mere three miles away from the above-mentioned Rhinegeist Brewery.

They’ve been brewing since 2013 and have a taproom featuring 42 different draft beers (a mixture of their brews and guest beers) at any given time. I can’t find online where they currently distribute but I know Kentucky and parts of Ohio can find them.

Prodigal is Ei8ht Ball’s American pale ale. The brew is generously dry hopped, and you can tell. As soon as I popped the can open, there was a very pleasant piney, citrusy aroma with a solid hop backing that flowed from the beer. There were also some grassy and caramel malt notes lingering behind the hops.

When poured, Prodigal is a medium amber color with just about a finger of fluffy white head that dissipates into a dusting around the edge of the glass in under a minute.

The first sip was quite nice. There was a tiny carbonation fizz to start off the sip before the citrusy (light grapefruit and tangerine mostly) and piney hops made their mark. The beer then ends on an earthy/grassy slide with some caramel malts cutting nicely into the hop sting.

At the end of each sip there is a tiny bitter aftertaste (at roughly 40 IBU, it’s nothing too bad) that lingers for a few moments, but it’s nothing too harsh. This APA has a slightly watery mouthfeel to it with some pretty solid carbonation; but, to my surprise, there was not a huge amount of lacing. Just a few cloud groups clinging to the side with no clear lines.

As the contents of my glass continued to disappear, the flavors changed slightly. Towards the end, the malts really outdid the hops. The piney bitterness slipped away and more of the citrus and caramel came out, which really boosted this beer up, in my humble opinion.

Clocking it at 6.5% ABV, the beer is no slouch at all; and it even hides the booze really well! And, since it’s just $1.99 for the 12 ounce can, you can afford quite a few.

Overall, Prodigal is a very solid and quite sessionable APA. The light body and mouthfeel combined with the higher alcohol content and slight grassy flavors make this a great beer to have after mowing the grass…or even going outside at all. 8/10

8 beers