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Belt’s Beer Garden: Juiced Up!

Second Self Citrus IPA & Sam Adam’s Rebel Juiced IPA


A lot of people around me seem to becoming ill lately. I wanted to combat those sick germs by loading up on Vitamin C and alcohol (hey, it kills germs!).

With that plan in place I decided it was time for some juicy, citrus IPAs...which isn’t much of a change, but it’ll keep the doctor away.

I’ll start with a Georgian brewery that has some cool labels...Second Self.

Second Self was founded by two friends that began home brewing back in 2005. It wasn’t until 2014 that they founded the brewery in Atlanta, Georgia. Since then they’ve grown and have been able to expand everything from their brewhouse to distribution (however, you can still only get them in Georgia).

My brother found me one of their year-round beers…and he knows me so well, as he brought me back their Citrus IPA.

Citrus IPA is made with copious amounts of Amarillo, Citra, and Columbus hops…then they dry-hop it with more Citra and Amarillo. Inside each can is 6.2% alcohol and a solid 50 IBU. A six pack runs around $8.99.

This IPA poured a bright, clear, golden amber color with eggshell white head. The dense, yet airy, bubbles exploded upwards of three fingers and decided they wanted to stick around. Slowly they began to fade but, as they did, there were quite a few that clung to the edge of my glass – creating a heavy lacing even before I’d had a sip.

Citrus IPA had a heavy resinous aroma with a lot of (you guessed it) citrus fruit backing. There was grapefruit, lemon zest, orange, and light tangerine. Hiding behind all that was a light pine note and some bready malt.

My first taste started with a burst of lemon and grapefruit. The beer itself had a lighter, watery mouthfeel to it and, despite all the foam up front, very little carbonation.

As the flavors began to unfold on my tongue, all the fruits from the smell showed up in the taste too with the grapefruit and lemon leading the way. That lemon zest was so prevalent that Citrus IPA had an almost tart quality to it before everything was all said and done.

After all the fruit had faded, the bready – and slightly sweet – malt battled it out with the hops on the backend. And they fought to a stalemate. The beer ends on a dry note but with no real lingering aftertaste; the malt had completely cut out any hop bitterness, making it an incredibly sessionable beer.

By the time the liquid had been more than halfway drained from my glass, the bubbles must have run out of clinging power because, outside of the initial lacing, there was very little the rest of the way down. Instead just small pools of bubbles made a ring around the where the beer met the side of the glass.

Once the beer starts to warm up the flavors don’t change much…but there is one tweak on the backend of the sip: the hops begin to overpower the malt, leaving a bitter sting that lasted between sips.

Overall, this was a really tasty brew. It was balanced, flavorful, and incredibly easy to drink (almost too easy…). But make sure you don’t let it warm up too much or those hops will take over. Luckily it’s good enough that you’ll drink it quickly too. 8/10

8 beers

Next up, an IPA with some mango added by one of the nation’s largest breweries, Sam Adam’s.

Sam Adam’s is one of the founders of craft beer in America, starting some 30 years ago. Their Boston Lager (and now multiple other brews) made them one of the biggest independent breweries in the US.

And, even though they are still a craft brewery, I try not to review beers from big name breweries like them. However, Sam Adam’s has come out with a few new beers from their Rebel series that I actually wanted to try; including this one – Rebel Juiced IPA.

Rebel Juiced is made with Mandarina, Mosaic, and Zeus hops, a pale malt blend, and, because you can never have enough citrus in an IPA, they then added mango juice to it. Each bottle includes a 6.2% ABV and 55 IBU with a six pack costing the usual $9.99.

It poured a clear honey gold color with just a finger of thin, wispy head. The bubbles don’t stick around long and, soon after it’s all poured, there is just a tiny ring around the edge remaining with a cloud or two floating in the middle.

On the nose the syrupy mango sweetness takes control. There is a little hop dankness and some orange and grapefruit notes as well from the other hops but otherwise it’s like taking a whiff of a mango puree. And, to me, that was delicious…I was immediately ready to dive into the beer.

The sip begins with a rush of carbonation and a medium mouthfeel. The flavors coated my tongue immediately after the fizzy bubbles seceded. And, as the smell had indicated, the flavor that burst through the most was the mango.

However, the mango was not alone. Grapefruit, orange, and some lemon zest followed the mangos lead. You could tell that the malt, although not too defined in the citrusy flavors, was balancing out this beer by cutting into any hoppy bitterness; the 55 IBU were rather muted and unnoticeable until the very end.

As the beer left my mouth, there was a bit of dryness that was left as well as a lingering bready malt flavor and some piney bitterness from the hops. But, as I said, it was a very subtle and easily handled bitter sting. Nothing another sip wouldn’t fix.

Rebel Juiced doesn’t leave a ton of lacing as it disappears from my glass; just a sporadic web formation here and there. The 6.2% alcohol is hidden entirely behind all the flavors, as it’s not too strong to start off with.

Overall though, this was a tasty beer from them…especially if you like mango. It’s a little dry and bitter at the end but otherwise it’s a really balanced, flavorful beer. I don’t drink their stuff often but Sam Adam’s has a good one here. 8/10

8 beers