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Belt’s Beer Garden: Tried and Tröeg

Tröegs Perpetual IPA & The Alchemist Holy Cow

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Continuing my northeastern travels, I have a beer from Pennsylvania and another from Vermont to share with you today.

First up, Tröegs and their go-to IPA.

Tröegs is one of the older independent breweries in the US, founded back in 1996 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. However, after a decade of growing and growing, they had to move to a larger space about 15 miles away in Hershey.

Today they are available in ten states – Connecticut, Deleware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – along with Washington, DC.

I have their staple IPA – Perpetual – which is made with Bravo, Cascade, Citra, Chinook, Mt. Hood, and Nugget hops. A six pack of bottles cost the usual $10 and each bottle packs a very solid punch, with an ABV of 7.5% and 85 IBU.

This IPA poured a light copper/dark straw color with roughly a finger and a half of slightly off-white head protecting the liquid below. After a few minutes the foam had slowly fizzled away into just a dusting across the top.

Perpetual had a surprisingly balanced aroma. The hops added some light citrus (like lemon, orange, and grapefruit) and earthier notes of pine and grass while the malt provided a sweetness with some caramel and bready qualities.

My first swig began with just the tiniest bit of carbonation before the flavors kicked in. I will say, I was a little surprised at how light and watery this brew was for an IPA with its stats.

The flavors, however, were anything but watery. Up front, the pine and grassy notes led it all off before a caramel malt sweetness sliced into the hops, preventing any bitterness initially.

From there, the citrus bloomed midway through the sip – the lemon zest and orange really leading the charge with a tart grapefruit following close behind. The balance, up to this point, was really quite amazing.

However, the hops would begin to steal the show as everything began to come to a close.

The final few moments of the sip consisted of a resinous half citrus/half pine flavor that seemed to sealcoat my taste buds with a sticky, slightly bitter, film that refused to leave.

Even after all the other flavors had vanished, the resinous quality lingered on…and on…until I took my next sip or had a swig of water.

However, for a beer with 85 IBU and a 7.5% ABV, this was incredibly smooth and shockingly easy to drink. The higher alcohol content was completely hidden and the bitter twinge of the hops didn’t rear its head until the closing moments of it all.

Good flavors with a slightly bitter finish.

Up next, from Vermont...The Alchemist and one of their rotating IPAs.

The Alchemist is one of the country’s most sought after breweries. Opening up in Waterbury, Vermont in 2003, they specialize in fresh, unfiltered IPAs – their Heady Topper and Focal Banger are always two of the highest rated/most wanted beers in the US.

Because of their massive popularity, they recently opened a new Welcome Center in nearby Stowe to help take some pressure off their old brewery. Currently, they only distribute within 25 miles of their brewery and only in Vermont.

If you’ve had an Alchemist beer, odds are it was Heady or Focal…but they make more than just those two brews. So today, I have one of their other IPAs – Holy Cow.

Holy Cow is brewed with Amarillo, Columbus, Huell Melon, and a couple other hops and has a smaller ABV of just 5% but around 85 IBU. At the brewery you can grab a four-pack of 16-ounce cans for $12.50.

This IPA poured a slightly cloudy straw color with just over a finger of head building up and a ton of sediment floating aimlessly around before finally settling at the bottom of the glass. The bubbles quickly evaporated, leaving just a small dusting across the top.

There was a very dank, slightly sweet, hop-forward aroma to this IPA. The dankness brought some piney and earthy notes while the Huell Melon and Amarillo hops provided a light citrus that includes grapefruit, lemon, and melon notes.

My first taste brought a sharp sting of carbonation and a surprisingly bitter bite from the hops before the flavors were released.

Up front it was a wave of oily tropical fruits – mostly orange, grapefruit, and melon – that was accompanied by a sticky resinous feeling that coated my tongue. Dank pine and grassy flavors followed the citrus with more of that hoppy twinge adding some bitterness to it all.

The malt bill provided a dash of sweetness with some caramel and biscuity characteristics that managed to peek out every once in a while, but, for the most part, was way over shadowed by the hops.

Holy Cow’s flavors quickly faded out but the hoppy bitterness did not.

This IPA clocked in at just 5% ABV but has a strong 85 IBU…and, while the ABV isn’t noticeable at all, those IBUs sure are. Lingering on well after was a low-lying pang that made its home at the back of my throat and didn’t want to leave. After every few sips, I felt I needed a swig of water just to reset my taste buds.

Overall, this was a solid beer with some nice qualities but a very strong bitter finish. It had a nice balance of hoppy flavors – the citrus and dankness played well together up front, I just wish it had lasted longer.