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Belt’s Beer Garden: I think I’ll guava nother beer

Two guava brews - Clown Shoes’ Josh the Guava King & Odd Side’s Pink Guava Dank Juice - to get you through the week

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As the weather turns colder, I wanted one more fling of lighter, fruity brews...so I reached for a couple guava-infused beers to remind me of those 80° days.

First up, Clown Shoes...who is making its third appearance on BBG this week.

The brewery, located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, started making brews in late 2009. They now have a few year-round beers but release tons of seasonal and specialty brews with a lot of awesome ingredients. Most of the country can find their beers, as they’re available in the entire Northeast (minus Vermont for some reason), most of the Midwest and southeast, and some states sporadically out west. Here's a handy map to see if they're in your state.

Today I have one of their more interesting specialty beers – Josh the Guava King, a double IPA dry-hopped with Mosaic hops and plenty of guava added. The four pack of 16-ounce cans doesn’t come cheap though…it’ll set you back $15

This DIPA poured a dark straw, slightly copper color with plenty of head topping it off. The thick, dense, white foam climbed to nearly three fingers high before beginning its slow decent downwards.

The aroma of Josh the Guava King is outstanding. It’s a medley of guava and other tropical fruits (like pineapple, tangerine, and melon) with just a hint of hops and some lightly toasted malt. If you close your eyes and take a whiff, you’d never expect this to be a beer. It’s that juicy.

My first sip begins with a creamier mouthfeel than I was expecting and just a mild carbonation level.

Up front there is a light hoppy bite that quickly gave way to a huge level of guava that flooded over my tongue. The guava is made even sweeter by some caramel malt and the other tropical fruit notes, namely pineapple and tangerine.

The middle of the sip presents a slightly spicy, slightly fruity funk and some bready malts that brings the sweetness level down some before the hops and guava once again take over in the final moments of the taste.

I don’t know what Clown Shoes does differently but their fruit beers just seem to add so much more flavor than other breweries. Their Mango Kölsch was super mango-y and delicious and this one wasn’t any different.

Lingering after each sip is a combination of things: a hoppy guava bite and a minor alcohol sting. And, with this beer clocking in at 8%, it’s pretty hefty in the booze category so it’s not too surprising.

As the beer was excavated from my glass, the foam proved to be pretty sticky as it laced the sides of my snifter well; leaving well-defined cloud lines and a weaving of bubbles across it all.

Overall this was a pretty good double IPA. The guava was certainly front and center and the other flavors complimented it nicely. That slight Belgian-esque funk added an unusual funk that the malt and hops couldn’t hid. But if you’re a fan of tropical IPAs, this one is right up your alley. Just wish it wasn’t so expensive.

Next, from Odd Side Ales...a familiar, but slightly changed, beer.

Odd Side Ales has been a staple in Grand Haven, Michigan since early 2010. The small city on Lake Michigan has around 11,000 people and is about 35 miles west of Grand Rapids and 75 miles northeast of Kalamazoo. You can find them throughout Michigan and in the Chicagoland area…and possibly more places that I just don’t know about.

Odd Side has one of my favorite beers, Citra Pale Ale, but has expanded their repertoire a lot since I first had them in 2015. Recently they have embraced this whole New England IPA trend and, as a fan of that trend myself, I really wanted to try some of their Dank Juice series.

They took their initial NE IPA, Dirty Dank Juice, which I just pitted against another NE IPA in the latest Brew-FC match, and have released quite a few modified versions (9 different ones!) including apricot, pineapple, passion fruit, mango/peach, and this guava one.

I really hope the mango/peach one makes it to Chicago…but, while I wait, I went with their Pink Guava Dank Juice. I grabbed a six-pack right away (which set me back $13)…because the only fruit better than mango in beers is guava. At 7% ABV and 55 IBU it looks like it’ll be a pretty modest hitting IPA.

It poured a crisp straw color and was a lot clearer and less hazy than I was expecting it to be as a NE IPA. Just over a finger of slightly off-white bubble topped it off and, within a few moments, there was just a dusting across the top left but a lot of foam stuck to the sides of my glass.

On the nose though, you could certainly tell it was a hazy IPA. There was a big and juicy aroma of orange juice with some guava backing and a slight spice to it. Light malts backed it all up. Couldn’t wait to dive in to this one.

My first taste began with very little carbonation but burst of some hops and light spice that lasts a moment or two. Then a huge bundle of flavors emerge. Smooth and juice-like in its mouthfeel, the initial burst is that of oranges and other tropical fruits like guava (duh), grapefruit, and pineapple.

Pink Guava Dank Juice then turns back to the herbal spices that actually blend very well with the fruit juices and create a very sessionable, very tasty brew. The light spices end the sip with some sticky fruit juice and a very, very tiny hop presence.

The few bubbles that remained laced my glass nicely as the beer was imbibed (rather quickly, I might add), as there was a nice array of webs strung about the side of my glass.

And, as an added bonus, that 7% ABV and those 55 IBU are virtually nowhere to be found in the taste at all. It drank much more like a 5% beer, big on flavor with no hint of alcohol.

Overall, this was a very tasty, very easy to drink beer. Well worth the $13 you have to shell out for the six-pack. If you find it…try it. Even if you don’t like IPAs…this one is just tasty enough that you might like it.