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Belt’s Beer Garden: good for what ales ya

Crux Cast Out and Breckenridge Mango Mosaic

A lot of people around me have been getting sick lately...which is weird since it’s summer. But, in honor of them and under the firm belief that alcohol kills germs, here are are few brews to help you ward off any sickness you might have around you.

Up first, Oregon’s Crux Fermentation Project.

crux cast out
crux cast out

Crux Fermentation Project is located in Bend, Oregon where they have been brewing up beer since 2012. They offer a variety of beers and love to brew in non-conventional ways. I can’t find their full distribution area but, from what I saw on my trip, they’re only available in the Pacific Northwest.

I got a 500 mL bottle of their Cast Out IPA for the modest price of $5.99.

Cast Out is made with copious amounts of Galaxy hops from Australia and pours a cloud straw color with an orange-ish hue. About two fingers of light airy head built up before slowly dispersing; leaving a few lines stuck to my glass.

On the nose there was a whole lot of citrus – pineapple, orange, and grapefruit. There was a slight piney aroma hidden behind all the fruit and a few hoppy, floral notes as well. It smelled delicious.

My first taste started with just the tiniest fizz of carbonation that, like the foam before it, built up on my tongue throughout the sip. The fruit came next; with orange, grapefruit, and some pear flavor hitting my palate (the pineapple remained hidden). Halfway through the sip there was a piney, wooden flavor from the hops melded into the citrus flavor slowly. However, it ended up taking over and dominating the last half of the taste.

This IPA ended with that pine flavor lingering quite a long time after the liquid had been swallowed. A slight dryness and some bitter flavors (clocking in at 60 IBU) followed as well.

As the liquid was drained the foam continued to cling to my glass, leaving whole sections of the snifter covered in little bubbles. The 7.6% ABV is hidden throughout the beer, with no traces of it ever surfacing in the flavors.

Overall Cast Out has some really great flavors initially. However, the back half took a little away from the overall taste as the piney, bitter flavor stuck with me for a long time. If the beer tasted like it smelled the whole way through, this could have been one of my favorites. As it is though, it’s good but not amazing. 7.5/10

7.5

Next up, a new release this summer out of Colorado.

Breckenridge opened its doors way back in 1990 in the Colorado town that it shares its name with, and is one of the oldest craft brewers in the state. They have since expanded to two locations, with their newest production facility opening last year in Littleton, Colorado.

You can find them all across America and can now be found everywhere except the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Deep South. And I picked up their newest year-round offering which was just released back in June…a beer that combines fruit with hops and one that I am really excited to try.

Mango Mosaic is an American pale ale that is intended to add even more tropical fruit flavor, with the addition of pure mangoes, to an already fruity hop (in this case, as the name suggests, Mosaic hops). It’s light, crisp, golden amber color is paired with an amazing, sweet mango aroma. It smelled more like juice than beer and I wanted to dive right into it.

Mango Mosaic had very little head (only a white ring of foam around the edge of the beer) blocking my way to beer below. My first taste was everything I could hope for.

There was almost no carbonation up front to deter the super sweet mango flavor from flooding my taste buds. Initially it was all juicy mango (with just a slight hint other citrus) before the Mosaic hops added a bit of bitterness as the sip continued. That’s also where the carbonation finally erupted…a tiny fizz to cut into the sugary sweetness of the fruit as the flavors faded.

As the beer left my palate, there was a sticky bitterness that remained on my tongue, as well as a dryness that lasted just a few moments after each sip.

And speaking of sticky things left behind; the beer didn’t have much head to begin with but the little it did have stuck nicely to my glass, leaving distinct lines that marked each of my gulps.

This pale ale is quite sessionable as the 29 IBU and 5.5% ABV were both hidden incredibly well behind the awesome flavors and lighter body. It’s perfect for hot days where you have nothing better to do…and killing a six-pack of this would be damn easy. With six-packs costing under $10, even the price is good.

Overall, this beer reminded me of Clown Shoes’ Mango Kolsch…with just a tad more hoppy bitterness attached to it. I loved that beer and this one is right behind it. Check it out while the weather permits. 8.5/10

8.5