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Belt’s Beer Garden: The Maine Attraction

Maine Beer Co + Half Acre “Son of Sapping Mammoth”

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Sadly this week I only have one beer for you but I made sure to choose a good one.

The star of this week’s show is a collaboration between Maine Beer Company and Half Acre.

Maine Beer Co. has been my favorite brewery ever since I first tried their Peeper pale ale back in 2014. And, last month, they released their second collaboration with one of Chicago’s biggest breweries – Half Acre. Both breweries are masters at creating tasty, hoppy, IPAs/pale ales that are incredibly easy to drink so I can’t wait to try what they’ve created.

Four years ago the two breweries made a beer called Sapping Mammoth (which I wish I had gotten to try) and it was a huge success…so, naturally, when they decided to made a sequel to it, they named it Son of Sapping Mammoth.

When I heard the bottles were coming to the Chicagoland area this time, the search was on. After calling multiple stores and visiting God knows how many locations, I was finally able to get my hands on a couple bottles of it.

Son of Sapping Mammoth – an IPA brewed with Midwest grown grains and experimental hop HBC 522 – is available in 16.9-ounce bottles that cost $8.99 (a dollar or two more expensive than most Maine brews) with each bottle having a decent 6.5% ABV.

It poured a bright straw color with some light haze and just about two fingers of purely white, somewhat dense head building up. The foam slowly slips away, lacing the glass well and leaving sticky pockets of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

A beautifully tropical aroma met my nose with notes of pineapple, grapefruit, mango, and some light melon. The grain provided a somewhat oaty/wheaty scent that lingering behind the fruit and meshed well with the citrus rind.

A flash of carbonation met my tongue first and fizzled on well into the sip. The flavors, though, wasted no time in flashing across my taste buds with a zesty lemon tartness leading it off but being followed quickly by grapefruit, mango, and just a hint of honeydew. The malts provide some sweetness and a hint of breadiness that balance well with the hops.

Midway through, there is a slightly resinous grassy component that tries to compete with the tropical flavors but, after a good fight, is eventually pushed aside by a grapefruit bitterness that ends up finishing off the flavors.

Son of Sapping Mammoth then ends with a dry, sticky feeling that coated my tongue with a hint of that grapefruit bitterness that was still hanging around too.

As the beer was excavated from my glass it left reminders of just how much I had consumed, with very defined lacing that marked each swig with a solid line across the side of the glass.

And, as the beer warmed up in the glass, the resinous feeling seemed to fade some, making way for more citrus to bloom across my palate and more of that ending grapefruit flavor.

Overall this was a very easy to drink IPA…which is no surprise when you look at the two breweries that made this beer. It had some nice flavors and went down quite smooth; however, it was a bit dry and had that lingering bitter twinge that seemed to last longer than it should.

But, if you can find this one, don’t hesitate. It’s worth it.

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