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Belt’s Beer Garden: Juicy Fruit

Bearded Iris Mood Ring: Pineapple, Mango, Pink Guava & Perrin Push Hop Strawberry

neon3

Happy New Beers everybody!! And, to start 2019 off right, I bring you two juicy IPAs enhanced with fruit to make them even better.

First up, a brewery that’s been making a lot of noise in Music City...Bearded Iris.

Bearded Iris, out of Nashville, Tennessee, will be celebrating their third birthday in early February. But, in that short amount of time, they have become one of the state’s best – and one of my top-5 – breweries.

BIBCO is now available throughout Tennessee and in the major cities of Kentucky. They are known for their amazing IPAs, including their Mood Ring – a double IPA made with Citra, Mosaic, and Vic Secret hops and a healthy dose of lactose to make it smooth and creamy.

But, instead of leaving Mood Ring as it is, they’ve began taking that same base and adding various fruits to it. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of those variations.

The version I have today takes the original Mood Ring but has the added bonus of pineapple, mango, and pink guava to make it sound even more dreamy. It’s sold in four-packs of 16-ounce cans that cost a bit higher ($16 at the brewery) but each beer has a very nice 8.5% ABV attached to it.

When poured, Mood Ring: PMG was a slightly hazy straw color that thinned out towards the bottom of the glass. There was surprisingly little head, no more than a thin line ever appeared, but you could certainly here the carbonation crackle as it was poured.

On the nose this beer was sweet and fruity. The lactose providing a soft vanilla sweetness up front with each of the fruit additives easily being picked up behind the lactose. The pineapple seemed to be most prevalent, as is the case with that fruit (it tends to take over the other flavors sometimes), but the mango and guava were both noticeable as well.

My first sip started with a surprising amount of carbonation that quickly fizzled away and made room for the massive flavors that came flooding across my taste buds shortly thereafter.

It started with that silky vanilla from the lactose briefly before a pineapple tartness kicked in with its usual sting.

And, while that typical pineapple acidity did lead for a good portion – mostly in the middle of the sip – the mango and pink guava were definitely not pushed out by the pineapple. Instead, those flavors swelled up early before the pineapple took control and then again, briefly, as all the flavors were coming to a close.

Mood Ring: PMG ended very cleanly and very quickly. All that remained after a few moments was a slightly dry feeling, which just made me want to go back for more even faster.

Somehow this beer is a double IPA…which boggles my mind because, outside of a hint of hoppy bitterness near the end of everything, this version of Mood Ring tastes like you’re drinking a carbonated fruit cocktail drink. It’s dangerously easy to drink for beer with an ABV over 8%.

If you see this variation of Mood Ring, or any other version, or hell, any Bearded Iris brew really…it’s a very safe bet to just buy it. Well worth the cost and always delicious.

A-

Up next, a brewery from the MAClands of Michigan - Perrin.

Perrin Brewing, out of Comstock Park, Michigan, can now be found in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio with a few locations stocking them in Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina.

And, while I can’t speak for the rest of the country, they’ve really made a huge push here in Chicagoland since they’ve started distributing here just over a year ago.

And, speaking of push… back in late October they introduced Push Hop, the first in their new line of “sorbet IPAs”, a New England-style IPA brewed with lactose and fruit (very similar to a milkshake IPA).

Their inaugural version is Push Hop Strawberry which is, naturally, brewed with massive quantities of strawberries in addition to the lactose. It has a solid 6.3% ABV and about 35 IBU. A six-pack runs a few dollars above average, setting you back $13.

Push Hop Strawberry poured a dark pink, nearly red color and matched the can’s label perfectly. About a finger of bright white head fizzled up before quickly disappearing into a light dusting across the top.

Strawberries dominated the aroma, as one might expect from both the color and name. But there was also a strong grainy scent, like that of oats and wheat, that was right behind the fruit and accompanied by a hoppy bitterness.

My first swig started with a minute carbonated sting before a rush of fruit flavoring reared up and took control.

There was no other way to describe it. It was a tidal wave of juicy, and surprisingly tart, strawberry puree flavoring washing over my tongue. There was a sharp sour sting that I was not expecting from the strawberries but it didn’t last too long as was quickly outdone by the beer’s other flavors.

After the attack of strawberry flavoring, those oats from the aroma made an appearance, bringing a grainy flavor that killed any hop bitterness while allowing the fruit to keep control of the show.

The lactose wasn’t as noticeable as I thought it would be and, honestly, I would have liked to see more of it in there. There wasn’t that creamy and sweet milkshake/sorbet flavor that I was hoping to see and, instead, it drank like a typical fruited ale.

Push Hop ended quickly and cleanly with no real aftertaste and just a hint of dryness sticking about. And, after a few moments, even that dry feeling had vanished.

Overall, it was a rather easy to drink beer with tons of strawberry flavor and a moderate tartness to it. I would have like to see more lactose to create that creamier feel and flavor to this “sorbet IPA” as it was more just a fruited beer than anything.