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Belt’s Beer Garden: Hare of the Dog(fish)

Red Hare’s Gangway and Dogfish Head’s Flesh & Blood

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This week I have two beers from the Atlantic coast for you. One from Delaware and another from Georgia.

I’ll work my way south and start with Delaware’s largest brewery: Dogfish Head.

Dogfish Head is one of the nation’s biggest breweries. In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard of them. If not…(get out from the rock you’re under) they’re from Milton, Delaware and have been making beer since 1995. They’re famous for their 60 Minute, 90 Minute, 120 Minute, and whatever duration of time they come up with next (fingers crossed for a 30 Minute session IPA).

I recently was gifted their Flesh & Blood IPA, which is made with Centennial and Warrior hops and a slew of different citrus fruits – including orange peel, lemon flesh, and blood orange juice. The beer has a sturdy 7.5% ABV, only 45 IBU, and comes in six-packs that cost $11.99 (a tad bit higher than average).

Flesh & Blood poured a dark reddish, amber color with about a finger of tan head that built up and disappeared quickly. Within a minute or so, the foam was down to just a thin ring around the edge and a solitary cloud in the middle.

There is a very balanced aroma emitted from the beer; malt and hops blended together nicely. But the most noticeable scent is all that citrus fruit that’s jammed inside this bottle. It was big on grapefruit and the blood orange but, lingering behind those, there is also a slightly sour lemon zest quality.

My first sip begins with some mild carbonation and a more watery mouthfeel than I was expecting. It wasn’t nearly as heavy as I though it would be from the color.

Once the flavors began to emerge, like the smell indicated, it was a very balanced beer with some citrusy tartness. The malts added a light bready sweetness that cut into the hop bite; while the hops added more citric flavors and some light pine notes as the flavors subsided.

The addition of the orange peel, lemon zest, and blood orange juice meant that Flesh & Blood had a tart, slightly mouth-puckering, quality to it before those malts saved me and cut into the sour notes.

On the backend of the sip, there is a tad dryness that lingers. And, not wanting to be alone, the dryness brings a slight bitterness with it from the hops. But it’s just a great reason to grab another sip.

As Flesh & Blood is drained from my glass, the little remaining head sticks to the surface of the beer and not to the glass, providing no lacing what-so-ever. That monster 7.5% ABV is hidden incredibly well and, throughout the whole beer, I never even got a glimpse of it.

Overall, this is a very solid IPA. It has a nice balance between the hops and malts, some really nice citrus flavors, a high alcohol content (who doesn’t appreciate that?!), and a pretty decent price point. Even with that higher ABV, it’s still quite sessionable and makes a great beer for parties/tailgates/lonely nights/everything. 8/10

8 beers

Up next from suburban Atlanta...Red Hare and their go-to IPA.

Red Hare began in 2011 in downtown Marietta, GA (a northwest suburb of Atlanta). They own the distinction of being the first brewery to can beer in the state of Georgia and, just last year, at the 2016 U.S. Open Beer Championship they won not one or two, but five(!) medals and were named the fourth best brewery in the country.

Currently you can find Red Hare in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and northern Florida. They offer five beers year round along with multiple seasonal and limited release beers.

I found their staple IPA – Gangway IPA – which made with Cascade, Chinook, and Willamette hops then dry-hopped with Falconers Flight hops. Each can contains 65 IBU and a 6.2% ABV. A six-pack of cans runs the typical $9.99, so the price is certainly right.

This IPA poured a golden amber color with a huge amount of sediment floating aimlessly throughout the beer. More than two fingers of eggshell white head built up, creating a slightly dense wall that slowly faded into a dusting over the course of a couple minutes.

On the nose this beer was quite hop forward, with bold notes of pine and tropical fruit - the main contenders being pineapple, mango, and grapefruit. Underneath the hops was a biscuity malt backing that attempted to balance everything out.

My first sip started with mild carbonation fizz and a medium, slightly chewy mouthfeel. The flavors immediately flowed over my taste buds and, like the aromas suggested, the tasty hops were showcased. However, the pine seemed to fade away leaving only the bright citrus notes. Grapefruit led the way with the blend of other citrus fruits lagging behind.

The bready malt added a slight sweetness that did indeed cut down on the bitterness, leaving the beer with a really smooth, clean finish. Gangway didn’t even end with much dryness, making it very sessionable.

Once the beer began to warm up some there were some slight changes to it. Most of the tasty flavors remained with the main difference coming on the backend. At the end of the sip, the pine began to cut into the citrus some giving an added flavor profile. Gateway also started to become a tad more dry, making me want to drink it that much quicker.

And, as I continued to drink down the beer, the sticky bubbles clung to the edges creating well defined lines of lacing around the entirety of my glass.

Overall, Gangway was a really enjoyable IPA. It had some great flavors mixed with a really solid balance that cut into any bitterness, making it super easy to drink. Grab a six-pack and enjoy it all day. 8.5/10

8.5