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Belt’s Beer Garden: Triple-double

Heretic’s Evil3 & Mikerphone’s Super Duper Special Sauce

neon3

In honor of all the triple-doubles that are occuring in the NBA playoffs/finals, I decided I wanted to have a triple-double of my own - naturally, a triple IPA and a double IPA...which, afterward, certainly made me feel like an MVP.

I’ll begin with Heretic’s triple IPA.

Heretic is midway between San Francisco and Sacramento in Fairfield, California. You might remember that they were just featured on BBG not too long ago. Heretic’s Evil Cousin was so good I went back for more and found that they had just released a special beer…Evil 3! They’re still only available in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and a few major cities (Chicago, Miami, Portland, and Philadelphia).

Evil 3 is a triple IPA made with Amarillo and Australian Summer hops along with crystal malt to smooth everything out. At 11.6% ABV, and an undisclosed but probably high IBU, the 22-ounce bomber is sure to be enough to get you tipsy if not drunk. Each large bottle costs the average price of $8.99…but you’re sure getting a lot of booze for your buck.

The beer poured a cloudy golden color that darkened to an amber hue towards the top of the glass. Topping the liquid was a finger of sticky, fluffy, off-white head that stayed for quite awhile.

On the nose there was a bouquet of candied tropical fruits such as grapefruit, pineapple, and melon. Behind the fruit there was some hoppy, piney bitterness and a slightly bready, slightly caramel malt aroma.

My first sip begins with a rush of carbonation that quickly fizzles out, making room for the beers flavors to emerge quickly. The crystal malt gives off a sticky, candy-like taste that the citrusy hops play off of, creating a sugary blend of lemon and grapefruit.

The melon scent makes a brief appearance midway through the sip before quickly fading out. As the sip ends there is a bready yeast flavor that tries to cut into the hops but, instead, ends up the background notes to a hoppy bitterness that lingers after everything is said and done. Once the flavors have gone, there is a slight aftertaste of bitter piney hops.

The amazing thing about it though is that, for being 11.6% ABV, the alcohol is hidden incredibly well! It drinks more like a stronger IPA than an imperial. The booze is only noticeable at the very end of the bottle, once the beer has warmed up a bit. An 11.6% ABV means drinking this beer is about the same as drinking FIVE Coors Lights…so maybe share…I mean, I didn’t but, ya know, don’t drive afterwards.

As the beer is slowly drained (it’s on the heavier side of things so drinking quickly is quite difficult), the few bubbles that remain laced my glass pretty well – thin layers of clouds sporadically coated the sides of my glass all the way down.

For a huge triple IPA, this certainly doesn’t drink like it. I’ve had regular IPAs that end with more bitterness and don’t have as much taste to them. Evil 3 was tasty, surprisingly easy to drink, and its only downfall was just being a bit sticky/bitter at the end.

I’m quickly learning that Heretic is a master when it comes to high ABV/strong IPAs…their double was awesome and this isn’t far behind.

I don’t know how long this special release will be around for but I do know that if you like IPAs and see Evil 3, you should try it.

The double IPA is easier to find and comes from a local brewery that I’ve come to love...in fact, anyone that follows me on Untappd, will probably have noticed a brewery that’s been popping up a lot lately…Mikerphone.

Mikerphone creates “craft beer inspired by music” and is owned by Mike Pallen (hence the spelling of microphone). He used to have a very limited distribution, driving from place to place and dropping the beers off himself. Back in 2015, Mikerphone was named one of the best new breweries by both RateBeer and BeerAdvocate! So, after all that success, they were finally able to open their taproom in Elk Grove Village, Illinois to a massive crowd of happy drinkers.

They offer a variety of one-off brews and don’t really have any main-stay beers. Instead he drops one or two new beers each week that are only available at the brewery. And today, I have a treat for you…Super Duper Special Sauce.

SDSS is a triple dry-hopped NE style double IPA made with Mosaic hops and only sold on draft at the brewpub and in 750 mL bottles. Each bottle will set you back around $12 but comes with an 8.5% ABV.

Super Duper Special Sauce poured a bright, slightly cloudy, copper color with about a finger and a half of eggshell white foam topping the brew. It wasn’t as cloudy or orange as most NE IPAs, but looked great none-the-less.

On the nose there are huge juicy aromas of mango, pineapple, and other tropical fruits. A sweet malt backing cuts into the hops and there is very little bitterness from the hops in the smell…it

The first sip begins with a creamy, smooth mouthfeel and just a pinch of carbonation. The flavors emerge subtly, flowing across my taste buds. The tropical fruits once again take the main stage; with notes of pineapple, mango, and oranges. Once again, the malts compliment the hops and add a sweet caramel and slightly bready note that really slashes the bitterness down.

As the flavors begin to fade out the hops make sure to remind you that this is indeed a DIPA with a low, lingering fruity bitter twinge. SDSS does end on the dryer side, which is slightly amplified by the hop sting at the end.

For having a higher ABV (8.5% is no slouch!), the booze is hidden really, really well. You feel it more than you taste it as I could feel my cheeks going flush and chest warming up before I even made it to the bottom of the bottle.

The bubbles that still remained laced the glass pretty well, leaving a thin cloudy layer across one side and thin sporadic patches everywhere else. SDSS does have a heavier body to it so it fills you up pretty quickly.

Overall, this is a very tasty beer. The only downfall is how filling it is and that little bitter stitch at the end that amplifies how dry it finishes. I recommend sharing the bottle with a friend or two since the higher ABV and heaviness will slow a single person down about halfway through (trust me I know…). But if you can find this (or any other Mikerphone) beer or can make it to the taproom…do it. Mikerphone has quickly become one of my favorite breweries in Chicagoland. Everything they make has been delicious. This is no different.