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Belt’s Beer Garden: Keepin’ it positive

Voodoo Good Vibes & Hop Butcher for the World Hoppy Days are Here Again

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Let’s keep the mood nice and positive this week. After all, I have two awesome beers to share with you.

I’ll begin with Voodoo Brewery’s popular seasonal beer.

Voodoo Brewery has been crafting beer in Meadville, Pennsylvania for over a decade now. The original brewery opened up back in 2005 but they have since expanded to seven locations across the state.

You can find their beer in a few states – all in big cities on the east coast. They have distribution across Pennsylvania as well as in Massachusetts (Boston), Maryland (Baltimore), Michigan (Detroit), New York, Ohio (Cleveland/Columbus), and Virginia (Richmond).

Today I have their Good Vibes IPA.

This seasonal release is hopped five times in the kettle with Amarillo, Apollo, Galaxy, and Mosaic hops and then, just for good measure, it’s double dry-hopped as well. A four pack of bottles costs a tad higher than most, at $11.50, but the limited availability and 7.3% ABV and 85 IBU make this a full-bodied West Coast style, worth the extra cash.

When poured, Good Vibes is a bright copper color with just over a finger of foam fizzling up. The sticky, bright white head disappears rather quickly into just a mere dusting across the top.

Good Vibes is as dank as a beer can get. A resinous tropical citrus aroma filled the air with that weed-like dankness lingering behind it all. Huge, juicy notes of grapefruit, mango, melon, guava, and papaya emanated from the liquid.

My first swig began with just a dash of carbonation before the flavors really punched my taste buds in the face.

Big tropical flavors, just like the smell indicated, wash over my palate. Grapefruit, melon, and mango led it all but those super dank/bitter hops follow close behind. However, the fruit never backs down and takes control the entire way though with the exception of about three seconds.

Midway through there is a light soapy quality that only appears for a brief moment before a burst of juicy orange and lemon ends it all.

This IPA has a very dry finish with a strong lingering resinous hop bitterness that is so dry that it calls for a swig of water every so often. The bitterness fades away after a few moments and, surprisingly, all that remained after a minute or so was a tropical hop flavor (mostly oranges and lemon).

Overall, this was a delightful beer - massively fruity and hoppy with just the right amount of bitterness. The only knock was how dry Good Vibes finished. But, outside of needing to drink some water every so often (which, I should probably do more often anyways), Voodoo has an amazing find here. Get it while you can.

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Up next, a more local brew (for me at least) with Hop Butcher for the World’s newer beer - Hoppy Days Are Here Again

Hop Butcher for the World calls the Chicago suburb of Darien home for now…until they can find a permanent location. The brewery has been open for a while but, after a trademark dispute in 2016, they were forced to change their name from South Loop Brewing Company. They found their inspiration from a line from Carl Sandburg’s poem “Chicago,” in which he called the second city the “hog butcher of the world,” and settled on Hop Butcher for the World. They’re cool with just Hop Butcher too…as long as you keep in mind the last part is just as important to their name.

Hop Butcher usually releases small batch brews and has an infinity for hops (as I do too), so they make a lot of IPAs and pale ales.

It should come as no surprise then, that I have an IPA for you today. I have their Hoppy Days Are Here Again which comes in packs of four 16-ounce cans for around $13, with each can containing a 6.5% ABV.

This Ekuanot and Simcoe hopped IPA poured a slightly hazy, bright golden straw color with some darker hues towards the top of the glass. Just about a finger of off-white head ever built up. The foam quickly disappeared but was quite sticky, leaving a ton of lacing around my glass before I had even taken a sip.

Hoppy Days had a beautiful aroma that featured big tropical fruit notes and a light malt backing. Mango, pineapple, melon, passionfruit, and grapefruit filled the air in a sweet and juicy tropical medley. Behind the fruit, some caramel and bready malts peeked out along with a dash of hoppy bitterness.

My first taste started with a very mild carbonation and a surprisingly watery mouthfeel – this was a much thinner IPA than I thought it would be.

However, the flavors wasted no time pouncing. In what was essentially drinking a fruit salad, the hops created a mixture of mango, melon, grapefruit that was followed with a bitter twinge that sat at the back of my throat.

The bitter sting didn’t last too long as, midway through the sip, there was a burst of orange and lemon that washed everything else away for a few stunning moments.

But, as the flavors began to fade for good, the hops would make a comeback. Left behind was a dash of dryness and a strong resinous/citrusy bitterness that lingered on my tongue for a few minutes after each swig.

Having a few quick sips seemed to amplify the dryness and required a sip of water to counteract the hoppy aftermath of the brew.

Hoppy Days was a really tasty, almost New England-ish, IPA. Tons of citrus and tropical fruit with some limited bitterness. The only real drawback I thought was the dry finish that seemed to refuse to fade away with out the assistance of water.

This is a limited release beer…so if you see it, you best buy it!

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