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Belt’s Beer Garden: Dust to Dust

Levante’s Counting Clocks & Barebottle’s Amarillo Dust

This week, I have beers from opposite sides of the country - one from near the Atlantic and one from the Pacific coast. Let’s start out west with Barebottle’s Amarillo Dust.

Founded in 2010, Barebottle Beer Co. has been an emerging brewery in the San Francisco area. They are a crowd-inspired brewery that uses local ingredients (when possible) and partners with local homebrewing groups to create a lot of their beers.

In addition to that, they also choose which beers to brew in a committee. After brewing a select group of “beer finalists” they then ask the public to vote for their favorite and the winner gets made.

They’re still only available in Northern California but I was able to snag a can of their beers through Tavour. I got a 16-ounce can of their Amarillo Dust IPA for $8.

Amarillo Dust was brewed with more than just Amarillo hops though. In fact, four other hops were used as well – Citra, Lemondrop, Mosaic, and Warrior – but the brewers used a lot of Amarillo hops and used them often…adding them three times during the brewing process.

The coolest thing, though, is that since they’re so fond of homebrewing (and actually encourage it), they added the recipe to the can so anyone can brew their own version of this beer at home.

Amarillo Dust poured a nice and hazy golden orange color, like that of a beautiful sunset, with two fingers of frothy eggshell white building up. The dense foam slowly fades down into a light accumulation that rings around the edge of the glass.

This brew featured a nice balanced aroma that featured soft, tropical fruits and biscuity malts. The hops showcased a mixture of tangerine, pineapple, orange rind, and some grapefruit bitterness. Then, sitting behind the hops, was a flaked oat and rye-like sweetness and some bready wheat notes added by the malts.

My first swig began with a fizzle of carbonation that tingled underneath and almost continues for the entirety of the sip.

Atop the fizz the hoppy flavors began to emerge. Up front it was the grapefruit peel and flaked oats that start it all off with a mixture of sweet and bitter.

From there, the bitter twinge fades some as a juicy burst of tangerine rushes forward. Accompanying the fruit are some floral ang grassy notes as well. But, for every hoppy attack, the malts counter almost immediately. Joining the tangerine was a massive flaked oat and wheat flavor that added some additional sweetness but a whole lot of breadiness.

As the beer begins its decent, it ends mostly clean. There are no lingering flavors but a small resinous feeling sticks around and there is a tiny alcohol burn, which at 6.8%, is surprising. But Amarillo Dust does sit on the heavier side of things and had me feeling full after the pint.

All-in-all this was a pretty good brew. I really love that the can has the recipe on it and the beer has a nice mixture of flavors. For me, I would have liked to have seen more out of the hops (especially those citrus and tangerine flavors) and less from the malts. But I can do that myself, if I decide to brew my own version of it!

*Note: canned on 8/22/19. Opened/reviewed on 9/17/19*

Next up, a beer from the Philadelphia area.

West Chester, Pennsylvania is home to Levante Brewing, which was founded in 2015. The brewery “began” in a college dorm room with a 3-gallon homebrewing kit before years of hard work (and a few leaps of faith) allowed the owners to open up the 15-BBL brewhouse they’re in now. You can find them across Pennsylvania but most of their stuff seems to stays around the Philadelphia area.

Today I have their Counting Clocks IPA. The beer was brewed mostly with Nelson Sauvin hops, along with some Amarillo and Citra added in as well. It has a decent 6.5% ABV and the 16-ounce can cost $6.

The beer was a slightly hazy dark straw color with minimal head building up. No more than half of a finger of off-white foam ever appear and, within a few seconds, a thin dusting was all that remained atop the brew.

There was an intriguing blend of smells to Counting Clocks. It had a blend of light wine notes, some dank tropical fruits, and a peppery spice mixture from the hops while the malt added some bready notes of flaked wheat and oat.

It began with a light hum of carbonation that continued underneath the flavors for the majority of the sip. The beer had a lighter, somewhat watery mouthfeel to it; which is not what I was expecting, as the aroma led me to believe this would be a thicker, more pillowy IPA.

Like in the aroma, there was a nice blend of flavors appearing throughout each swig. The Nelson hops showed their dominance early by starting the beer off with notes of white wine grapes that were accompanied by a brut-like dryness. Joining the white grapes and champagne dryness were some lighter floral notes that lingered underneath.

From there the tropical fruit flavors appeared. During this part of the sip, the dryness was washed away with juicy bursts of orange, grapefruit rind, and apricot. The new additions blended in with the grapes, never taking full control but, rather, just mixing in for a few moments before fading out again.

As the juicy tropical flavors vanished, some of that peppery spice peeked through. It was a light sting and sat mostly in the background but it made sure you knew it was there.

Counting Clocks then began its full descent, fading away slowly. The Nelson hops impart a lasting brutish dry feeling and lingering flavor of grapes and pepper.

The beer seemed to “thicken up” some as I progressed through the pint. That lighter, watery feeling from the beginning turned into that more pillowy, heavier mouthfeel as the beer warmed up…which I actually enjoyed more.

Overall, this brew really highlights those Nelson hops and, despite the dry ending, it went down smoothly and easily. I enjoyed the mixture of flavors I got with each sip with the only downfall being the dry feeling left behind.

If you like white wine, brut IPAs, or dry/hoppy West Coast IPAs…this is the beer for you.

*Note: canned on 8/13/19. Opened/reviewed on 9/21/19*

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