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Belt’s Beer Garden: Kent touch this

Alltech Kentucky IPA & Palmetto Huger Street

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Another week, another collection of new IPAs to try. This week I have a Georgian beer and a Kentucky brew.

First up, I tried an IPA from one of the country’s few combination brewery/distillery: Alltech.

Alltech calls Lexington, Kentucky, home and has the official name of Alltech Lexington Brewery and Distillery (which is a mouthful). As one of the few joint brewery/distillery facilities in the US, you can even find them along the way of the famous Bourbon Trail.

They have been brewing up bourbon and beer since 1999 and most well known for their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, but they offer a full variety of beers though, including a blackberry porter, a honey brown, a kölsch, a peach wheat, and, of course, an IPA.

You can find Alltech in 13 states (Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin)

Naturally I elected to try their Kentucky IPA, which was made with Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe hops in addition to three types of malt. A six-pack will run you just $8.99 (which is a right about average) with each 12-ounce bottle containing 70 IBU and 6.5% alcohol.

It poured a clear golden amber color with just about a finger of head billowing up. The pretty dense, slightly off-white foam stayed put; never really fading past half a finger.

On the nose, the malt stood out while the hops took a backseat. There was a strong aroma of sweet caramel and light bready malt up front but, behind the malt, stood the hops – a bright burst of citrus and a hint of pine.

The first taste started with minimal carbonation and a lighter to medium body. But, unlike the smell, it was the hops that took control of the taste and, I for one, loved that switch.

Bold and juicy grapefruit and lemon zest started the taste with the sugary malt cutting the otherwise bitterness from the hops…at least initially. As the flavors danced on my tongue the hops began to push out any malty characteristics and began to spotlight themselves.

A subtle, long lasting, bitter twinge lingered after each sip and it was just enough to remind you that there are indeed 70 IBUs crammed in this beer.

All-in-all, it was an easy to drink beer with some really nice flavors and great balance between the malt and hop (at least for most of the taste)…but there was something that was lacking. It was just pretty sessionable but just standard fare…however, it would make a really great IPA for those new to the style.

If you’re looking to down a six-pack in a short amount of time or just want a standard brew, this one is perfect. 7.5/10

7.5

And, secondly, I finally review a beer from South Carolina...

The first beer featured from the Palmetto State is naturally from Palmetto Brewing in Charleston, South Carolina – the oldest brewery in the state. They have been brewing up beer since 1993 and are currently available in South Carolina and parts of North Carolina (maybe more, but that’s what I was able to find).

They offer six seasonal brews to go with their five year round beers…of course I picked their strongest readily available beer: Huger Street.

Huger Street is a wheat IPA made with Cascade, Chinook, Citra, and Falconers Flight hops and three types of malt. At 7.2% ABV and 58 IBU, it should pack a punch without being overly bitter. A six-pack will run you just $8.99, so it’s a bit cheaper than average (gotta love the prices down south!).

When I poured Huger Street it was a hazy, dark amber color with pretty minimal head and tons of sediment. At most a just a finger or so of beige foam built up…which was surprising. And, just as quickly as it rose, it disappeared into a tiny ring around the edge with a single cloud floating in the center of my glass.

On the nose it is definitely malt forward, with a sweetness from the bready/caramel malt. Lurking behind the malt are the hops, which bring some floral notes and a light citrus backing. The more I breathed it in, the more there seemed to be a hidden tart lemon zest aroma peeking through as well.

My first taste began with just a rush of fizzy carbonation. It was had a light-medium body to it but it was still a softer mouthfeel than I was expecting from the dark color and aroma. Then, slowly the flavors began to crawl forward from all that effervescence…and I do mean slowly.

Flavor wise, this was one subtle IPA.

None of the flavors burst forward or exploded on my palate but instead crawled to the forefront. And it all started with a heavy dose of those caramel malts. The caramel sweetness soon blended with tiny hints of citrus – like lemon and grapefruit – and a dash of pine.

On the backend the hops took over, not with any strong flavors, but with another slow building, lingering bitterness that stuck with me until the next sip. But, at only 58 IBU, it wasn’t a strong bitter sting – just a enough to remind you how many hops they added to this brew.

As I drank it down, the small amount of head didn’t provide much lacing…just a single web of bubbles on one side of my glass. Even the dusting on the top of my beer had vanished into a razor-thin border atop the liquid.

Overall this was a weird, but pretty good beer. Outside of the start and the finish there wasn’t a whole lot going on here. Huger Street begins with a big rush of fizz then ends with the low-lying bitter twang…with just a few moments in between for you to get all the flavors the hops and malt provide.

Again, it wasn’t a bad beer at all… just wish the flavors were more noticeable and lasted longer. A solid beer but nothing spectacular. 7.5/10

7.5