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Belt’s Beer Garden: Enjoying a 666-Pack

Devil’s Trumpet Make It a Cheeseburger & Catawba White Zombie

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This week features a witbeir and an IPA with some demonic themes.

Up first, Indiana’s Devil’s Trumpet.

Located in Merrillville, Indiana (a city near the Illinois border that’s more Chicago than it is Indiana) and just 15 miles away from 3 Floyds is The Devil’s Trumpet Brewing Company.

Devil’s Trumpet opened a few years back, in 2014 but, outside of going to the brewery, they still have a very limited distribution to just a handful of places…all in northwest Indiana.

Their year-round IPA has quite the interesting name so, when a friend of mine was headed there, I asked her to pick me up a six pack of it.

Make It a Cheeseburger, their staple IPA, doesn’t have too much information about it online…other than its got a 6.66% ABV and has 66 IBU. I wish I could tell you more but all I know is its ABV/IBU and that a six-pack costs a few dollars more, at $14.

But, as an IPA lover, I figured I’d give it a shot (it was between that and their pale ale called Yoga Pants…).

This IPA poured a super dark, mostly translucent, amber color with almost no head what-so-ever. Maybe a finger of eggshell white foam popped up to start with but, almost immediately, there was nothing separating me from the beer. There was, however, a razor thin line of bubbles hiding around the edge of the glass.

On the nose, this unfiltered IPA was definitely more malt-forward than hop-centric (if the color didn’t already tip you off). A massively sweet caramel and bready malt aroma filled the air but, behind the malt, I could pick up some citrusy hops and a slight bubblegum scent.

My first sip began with just a dash of carbonation before the flavors really began to pop. As expected, it was a sweeter IPA but not overly sweet. There was a nice balance between the hops and malts that also made this one easier to drink than I was expecting.

It all started with a burst of citrus fruits; grapefruit, orange, and lemon mainly. The citrus wasn’t alone and, before long, some floral notes kicked in softening the hop bite.

Midway through the taste, a candy-like sugary sweetness showed up and mixed well with the caramel and toffee notes that malts added.

It seemed that the hops stopped showing up after that initial burst (with the exception of a slight bitterness that lingered after everything was gone) and that Make It a Cheeseburger let the malts run wild in this one.

Towards the very end of the sip, the caramel malts gave way to that slight bitter bite I mentioned above, which followed the floral and sweet flavors to completion. Make It then finished with a modest amount of dryness and a lingering floral aftertaste that mixed in with the sticky-sweet sugary malt.

All in all, this is a decent brew. The fact that the malts took control made this IPA much easier to drink than I would have guessed from a beer that’s 6.6% ABV and has 66 IBU. I would have liked to have seen more of the hop presence in it. Plus, Make It a Cheeseburger is a tad expensive…but, all that being said, it’s still worth a try if you’re in the Merrillville area.

Up next, White Zombie - a witbier from North Carolina.

Catawba is making its second appearance in under a month. For those that don’t remember from their pale ale, Mother Trucker, the brewery is located in Morgantown, North Carolina but has four locations throughout the Tar Heel State.

They have seven brews available all year and you can find them in five states - Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Today I have another one of their year-round brews – White Zombie, a white ale made with Golding and Magnum hops and Flaked Wheat malt.

It started as a Halloween seasonal beer but became a staple soon after. And, like most witbiers, they added coriander and orange peel to give it some zest. At just 5.1% ABV and 7 IBU, it’s a rather light beer and costs the usual $10 or so.

It poured a light straw color with no more than a finger of head building up. The pure white bubbles didn’t stick around too long and, within a few moments, all that remained was a thin line around the edge of my glass.

On the nose, White Zombie is almost your standard witbier…almost. Unlike others, here the coriander seemed to dominate the smell, providing a nutty and spicy addition to what otherwise is a sweeter beer.

It begins with a mellow carbonation that works behind the flavors, giving this beer a zip throughout the sip. The coriander, as expected, leads the flavors off as well with that warm, spiced flavor but, it’s not nearly as overpowering in the taste as it is the aroma. A peppery spice follows up the coriander before the flavors switched gears some.

After the initial burst of spicy flavors, the orange hit with some nice citrus and rush of zesty lemon adds a tartness to it. The flaked wheat malt adds some more sweetness to this brew and gives it a corn flake-like taste that really hits midway through each gulp.

The flavors all begin to mingle together and intertwine for a brief moment before everything begins to fade away. White Zombie then ends rather cleanly, with just a hint of peppery spice clinging to my tongue afterwards but nothing else, not even any dryness.

Wits aren’t my favorite style of beer, as the coriander and orange can seem to get repetitive in them all. But there’s something better about this one than most. It’s not amazing, nor do the flavors differ much, but it was quite drinkable.

It wasn’t just coriander and spice. There seemed to be more citrus and sweetness to it than most. White Zombie is great for when you need a break from hops but don’t want to sacrifice on flavor.