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Belt’s Beer Garden: Field of Greens

Green Flash’s GFB & Green Man’s Rainmaker

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This week I felt like going green. So I did it in my own way - with two beers from opposite sides of the country.

Going from east to west, we’ll start with a brewery from the Tar Heel state: Green Man.

Green Man has been an Asheville, North Carolina staple since 1997. It’s one of the cities oldest breweries and their beers can be found around Florida, Georgia, both Carolinas, and Tennessee.

While in Tennessee, I only found one single case of their beers. It turned out to be a special release that I realized I should buy immediately – Rainmaker.

This limited edition, and monster, DIPA packs a huge punch with a 9.3% ABV and a whopping 158 IBU. The four-pack of bottles doesn’t come cheap though, as the 48 ounces ran me an exorbitant $14.

Rainmaker poured a very cloudy orangeish copper color and had just over a finger of head topping the beer. The off-white bubbles were quick to disperse and very shortly after pouring the beer all that was left was a hint of accumulation around the sides and a swirling thin cloud in the center.

On the nose Rainmaker was a bold hop bomb with some light citrus notes but mostly had heavy pine and earthy aromas. There were some features that tried to cut into the hops, like some sweet caramel and bready malts, but for the most part this double didn’t mess around.

My first sip starts with some moderate carbonation that lingers underneath everything for a while before fading away mid sip. From the aroma and listed IBU, I was expecting a massive hoppy…but it never came. Sure there was some bitterness but nothing like I was preparing myself for.

Instead it was some pineapple and a lemony citrus flavor the billowed up from the carbonation first. Then, those earthy undertones picked up and created a rather nutty taste that was balanced well by the caramel and bready hops.

As it was all ending the pine flavors took control and ended the taste with a bitter bite of resinous hops and some moderate dryness that lingered for a little while.

The alcohol was mostly hidden but, every now and then, there’d be a boozy spike that would burn the back of my throat as it went down. However, it was still rather palatable for such a high ABV. This is definitely a one-and-done type brew though as it sits heavy and fills you up.

It’s not optimal for tailgating but great for the second half of games…especially when your team is losing to a FCS or B1G team. Want to forget about the game real quick? BOOM! Rainmaker can make that happen with just 24 ounces.

As far as DIPAs go, this is a solid one that drinks a lot easier than the stats say. The 150+ IBUs and the 9%+ ABV are not nearly as daunting a task when drinking as you might think they would be. Plus, the other flavors do well to get rid of most of the bitter sting that the hops impart.

Rainmaker is a very solid DIPA.

Next up, from the Pacific coast, Green Flash’s new(er) beer.

Green Flash was established in San Diego, California back in 2002 and they’ve really grown since then. They opened a second brewery in Virginia Beach, Virginia and even expanded into having their own barrel-aged beer line called Cellar 3 in nearby Poway, California.

Towards the end of last year they released a new blonde ale called GFB (which, as far as I can tell, stands for Green Flash Blonde) which has a modest 4.8% ABV.

GFB has since been released in 12-ounce cans and bottles and an oddly size 19.2-ounce can. The price though is pretty solid: a six-pack of the 19.2-ounce tall boys costs just $12 which is as much as some regular sized beers cost. Having never had this particular beer, I grabbed a normal sized bottle to try.

This blonde ale poured mostly a crisp straw color with some hints of amber towards the bottom of the glass. Topping off this beer was just about a finger of dense white head that actually disappeared much quicker than I thought it would. After a few moments, all that remained was a dusting across the top.

There was an interesting aroma to GFB which had me curious as to what to expect from this beer. It had a very yeasty, very earthy aroma to it – almost like fresh cut grass – with some bready malt backing everything up.

My first taste began with some moderate carbonation that fizzled out quickly and made room for the flavors to appear.

GFB begins with the yeast on full blast. It starts with a light spice before the yeast just gives up and assaults you for the whole first half of the sip. Initially it tastes like some breweries smell…that stale kind of yeasty aroma that hits you when you walk in.

But, luckily, the second half of the sip is no where near as assaulting. That’s when the good tastes start to kick in with some crackery malt, some honey, and a pop of citrus fruits that really eliminate that yeast flavor. There are some nice lemon and orange bursts that compliment the honey really well. As everything ends, there is a moderate dryness that lingers well after everything. That dry feeling is accompanied by a slight bready malt aftertaste.

I will say that as this beer warms up some the heavy-handed yeast aspect really falls and the beer becomes much more malt oriented and actually much tastier. It’s almost like the second half was a different beer altogether.

All in all, GFB didn’t live up to the standards that I’ve come to have for Green Flash. The second half of this beer was certainly better than the first but this is probably my least favorite brew from the otherwise very good San Diego brewery.