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Belt’s Beer Garden: Could you be more Pacific?

Two brews from the Pacific coast: Georgetown’s Bodhizafa & AleSmith/Pizza Port’s Logical Choice

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This week I have two brews that span the Pacific coast...one up north and one way down south.

Moving from north to south, we’ll start with a Seattle brewery that’s been around for a while.

Georgetown Brewing has been a Seattle staple since 2002 but, up until 2017, they were strictly a draft only brewery. Luckily for those of us that don’t live in Washington, they now can beers as well and can be found in four states – California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Their website gives some cool facts about the brewery, such as 70% of their production is their Manny’s Pale Ale, 27% is the other year-round brews and just 3% are limited release brews.

And, today, I have one of the 27%-ers…their Bodhizafa IPA, which won gold at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.

Bodhizafa is brewed with Chinook, Citra, Columbus, and Mosaic hops and 2-Row Pale and Munich malts. A six-pack of cans costs a tad higher than normal, at around $11.50, but each of the cans has a very solid 6.9% ABV and 80 IBU.

It poured a slightly cloudy pale straw, almost copper, color with very minimal head. No more than a finger of bright white bubbles appeared and, with in a few moments, all that remained was a razor thin layer of foam.

This beer emitted a super tropical aroma with just a twinge off hoppiness lingering behind. Honeydew, mango, grapefruit, and lemon lead the way in this tropical medley but there is more than just citrus to Bodhizafa. Hiding behind is a semi-dank grassy element and some low-level pine.

It started with a surprisingly bold fizzle of carbonation before those fruity flavors began to slowly flow across my taste buds. As the smell had indicated the tropical fruit led the way with grapefruit and lemon showing up first and some light melon hitting a few seconds later. However, this IPA had more than just tropical elements.

The hops seemed to switch gears midway through the sip and, while there were still some light fruity notes, the flavors turned to a somewhat oniony, somewhat earthy dankness which seemed to release a sticky resin across my tongue.

Then, as the flavors began to fade, there was one last push from the citrus. A bloom of orange, melon, and mango spread across my palate that brings an intense dryness and sticky resinous feeling that lingers long afterwards.

When the tropical flavors have control, Bodhizafa is really, really tasty. But then there’s those oniony, earthy moments that sneak in and that prominent dryness that bring this brew down a little.

It’s still a solid brew though…and, now that you can get it in cans as well, it’s not a bad investment.

From there we head to one of the southern-most cities on the coast, San Diego.

San Diego is a hop-head’s dream city, so it’s no surprise that a lot of the beers I try are from southern California. And today I have a collaboration between two of San Diego’s biggest breweries – AleSmith and Pizza Port.

AleSmith began way back in 1995 and can now be found in 26 states and a handful of countries. Pizza Port was founded in 1987 but didn’t brew their first beer until 1992. Since then, they have expanded to five locations around the San Diego area and have won an impressive 91 medals at the Great American Beer Fest.

Over the past 25 years both have become staples of the craft beer community in San Diego and so a collaboration just seemed right…and they seemed to agree as they named their collab Logical Choice.

As folks from San Diego love hops, another logical choice for their association was a hoppy brew…so, naturaly, they made a triple IPA. I couldn’t find what hops/malts they used but I do know that a six pack of cans costs $11 and, for the amount of booze you get, that’s a steal. Each can of Logical Choice has a massive 10% ABV and 115 IBU so it’s not for the faint of heart…or quitters.

This triple IPA poured a hazy light copper color with just over a finger of airy head building up. The foam doesn’t stick around long and, with in a few moments, is nothing more than an incredibly thin line of white bubbles around the edge of the glass.

On the nose, Logical Choice has a slightly boozy aroma with hints of pine, tropical fruit, and just a dash of crackery/bready malt. I could tell that it wasn’t messing around with its massive alcohol content but also seemed somewhat inviting and not as harsh and heavy as one might expect…but there was only one way to find out.

My first swig began with a shockingly smooth and creamy mouthfeel that eventually became a pretty heavy sitting brew.

The hops hit hard up front and just keep punching. There is a bitter bite that seems to grab hold of my taste buds and up front and didn’t let go easily…despite the flavors attempting to set them free.

Tropical fruits such as mango, papaya, and grapefruit, lead the way with a slightly resinous quality following suit. But, as quickly as the citrus arrives, it is pushed away just as fast by a semi-sweet malt base that has a light caramel, very bready quality that does what it can to hide the hop sting but is just no match for the massive amount of hops in this brew.

At 10% ABV, this is a very strong beer and, even though the hops and malts do their best to hide the massive booze content, it’s just not going to happen. Coming at the back end of every sip is a burning alcohol feeling that makes its home at the back of the throat and starts to warm up my face and chest after just a few tastes.

Yes, it’s bitter. Yes, it’s boozy. And yet, all in all, Logical Choice is a surprisingly easy to drink triple…well…as easy as 10% and a fistful of hops can be. If you’re a hop lover, give it a shot. If not, it’ll probably be too much.