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Belt’s Beer Garden: Tennessee-ing Double

Yee-Haw’s Pale Ale & Big Hoppa


Very rarely do I share two beers from the same brewery in a Beer Garden article...but today is one of those rare instances.

Recently I took an excursion to the Great Smoky Mountains with a few friends. While in Gatlinburg, Tennessee I went on the hunt for beers I hadn’t had (of course!). There wasn’t many places where you could buy craft beer there but I was able to find a couple of beers from Yee-Haw Brewing that I wanted to share.

Yee-Haw was founded in Johnson City, Tennessee back in 2015, so they’re relatively new still and only have ten total beers (four year-round brews, four seasonal beers, and two high-gravity creations). Their Dunkel actually won the bronze medal at the 2016 World Beer they might be new but they are making some noise early on.

Right now you can find them across Tennessee and in western Virginia as well.

Shockingly, they don’t have an IPA. So I picked up the two next best things…their Pale Ale, which is one of their year-round beers, and their Big Hoppa, a limited released double IPA from their High-Gravity series.

As you should do with beers, I’ll go from lighter to darker and start with their Pale Ale.

Pale Ale cost the usual $9.99 for a six pack and had some solid stats attached to it (5.7% ABV and 30-35 IBU).

It poured a much darker color than I would have guessed. It was a dark copper color with just about a finger of tan head topping the beer. The head quickly fizzled down into a light build up around the edge of my glass with a small cloud floating around atop the beer.

Almost immediately the aroma from the beer hit my nostrils and it was…amazing. It was sweet. It was floral. It was balanced. It was everything you could want in a pale ale. There were some caramel and bready malts that gave it a sweetness that led off the scent but, behind that, there were some floral hop notes with just a hint of light citrus. I really couldn’t wait to dive into this one after smelling it.

My first sip started off with a light rush of carbonation that fizzles out about halfway through. The flavors take a moment to really pop but, out of the carbonation, they rose.

A sweet caramel flavor started it all off with some bready undertones quickly following suit. But, not be outdone, the hops then broke through about halfway through the taste. There was a burst of hibiscus-like floral sweetness and some lemon and orange zest that mixed nicely with a tad bit of bitterness.

There was an incredible balanced between hops and malt. There was no hop bite nor was it overly malted…it was simply, and perfectly, balanced.

As everything began to fade away those hoppy fruit tones stayed with my taste buds, leaving a slightly bitter, mostly sweet citrus, aftertaste that lingered for a few moments. Yee-Haw’s Pale Ale also left a bit of dryness in my mouth but, for the most part, it ended rather cleanly.

The alcohol was hidden entirely and, despite the pretty solid booze level, this was an amazingly sessionable brew. If I had access to this year-round, like most Tennesseans do, this would be my tailgating beer.

I’ve had a ton of pale ales…and this is one of the better ones. It’s ridiculously balanced, ridiculously tasty, and I can’t wait to drink the other five I have.

Now on to their stronger brew!

Big Hoppa has the second highest ABV of any beer they offer, at a very solid 8.5%! However, it has one of the lowest IBU rating I’ve ever seen a double IPA have (just 60!). It’s only offered in a four pack of bottles and is a little higher in price. I paid $13.99 for case but I’ve seen it online for as low as $12.

This double IPA poured a lighter amber color with just more than a finger of pure white head building up. The airy foam quickly disappeared to a ring around the edge of the glass and a lone cloud in the middle.

I was surprised at the aroma, as it was rather subtle on the nose. There was not the huge in-your-face hop presence I was expecting…instead it was a sweeter, smoother smelling DIPA. Sure, the hops were there with a somewhat bitter citrus aroma but there was also a very sweet caramel and bready malt aroma that really calmed it all down.

Big Hoppa started off a little iffy…but then really turned into something good.

There was a strong burst of carbonation up front that stung my tongue before quickly fading away. Then, following that, was a bitter, hoppy bite that, for a double IPA, actually turned out to be rather tame and manageable (again, it is only 60 IBU…which is super low for a double). After those two things happen in the first second of the sip, the beer really evens out and the flavors emerge.

The Northwest hops add a very nice citrus flavor (some orange, lemon, and just a hint of mango) and, like their Pale Ale, some floral notes follow. When those are paired up with the sweet caramel malt, it makes for another insanely balanced beer.

I feel like this is a DIPA that even people who hate IPAs would even enjoy. Yes, there’s some initial bitterness but it quickly fades and gives way to this wonderfully balanced beer. The citrus and floral notes play well with the English malts to give Big Hoppa a variety of tastes (some sweet, some bitter, some zesty citrus).

Yee-Haw was a brand I had never heard of or seen before but I sure am glad I grabbed these two cases. From what I’ve just tasted they spent a lot of time creating some very high-quality beers and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of their other stuff.

Big Hoppa was a really tasty, really balanced double IPA that went down so easy! It might be the most sessionable DIPA I’ve ever had!