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Belt’s Beer Garden: Iris You Were Here

Bearded Iris’ Ditto - a double IPA made with strawberries and mangoes

Bearded Iris is one of the best breweries in Nashville, if not all of Tennessee. They originally were very hop-focused, releasing hazy IPA after hazy IPA. However, they have since expanded their arsenal of tasty brews to include stouts, sours, and everything in between. In fact, BIBCO won my pick for best non-hoppy beer of 2020, with their V. Latte: Blue Heron, a delicious oatmeal stout made with Blue Heron coffee, vanilla, and lactose.

You may have heard of them before, especially since Bearded Iris is no stranger to Belt’s Beer Garden; having appeared four times before. But last month they released a new beer that I just had to get my hands on - Ditto. I was lucky enough to be in Nashville when it dropped on December 8th and wasn’t leaving the city until I found it.

Ditto is a Double IPA brewed with Styrian Wolf and 630 hops and then fruited up with a nice combination of strawberries and mangoes. It has a very solid 8.2% ABV and a four-pack was priced at around $17. This review was written on January 15th, just over a month after the release of the beer.

The beer poured a cloudy and rather dark orange color with about a finger and a half of eggshell white head building up. The foam was rather thin and quickly faded down into a thin layer of clouds sitting atop of the beer with just a slight accumulation around the edge of the glass. There was some lacing as it dissipated but not too much.

On the nose, this beer was a nice combination of hops and fruit. A sweet, muddled strawberry aroma led the way with some lighter mango notes underneath it. Behind the fruit, some flaked oats/wheat added some more sweetness and the hops added a touch of dankness and a light bitter note.

Each swig began with a nice rush of carbonation that hid the flavors for a brief moment. Then, appearing out of the fizz, was a big pop of juicy, slightly tart, strawberry. The mangoes were mostly overpowered by the berries but, every so often, a sip would feature a nice, super juicy mango burst.

The hops and grist basically just gave way to the fruit additives for the most part. But, around the halfway point, the hops prickled the tongue with a small amount of bitterness and some light grapefruit (and when I say light...I mean very, very light grapefruit...like, so light it could be a LaCroix flavor).

Ditto finished a bit dry but otherwise insanely clean. After some sips, a strawberry hop aftertaste would linger for a minute but, for the vast majority of the time, it ended cleanly and quickly.

This DIPA was super crushable. After just a few minutes, my glass was nearly empty. The tart and sweet strawberries mixed with the juicy mangoes made it so easy to drink. And that 8% ABV was nowhere to be seen at all…making it a dangerously good double.

You might be able to find it around the Nashville area still and, if you can, I highly recommend going to search for it! It’s well worth it!

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