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Belt’s Beer Garden: Bossed Around

Old Nation’s Boss Tweed & pFriem’s Juicy IPA

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After the big 500th review last Friday, it’s back to business as usual this week.And we’ll start with an Oregon brewery that I’ve never had before.

In August of 2012, pFriem Family Brewers opened their doors in Hood River, Oregon, about 60 miles east of Portland and right on the border of Oregon and Washington. Since that time they have won numerous awards and were even named The Beer Connoisseur’s Brewery of the Year in 2018.

Despite only being available in Oregon and Washington, I was able to get a 16.9-ounce (500 mL) bottle of their Juicy IPA for the very reasonable price of $7. Made with Amarillo, Chinook, Citra, El Dorado, Mosaic, and Vic Secret hops and two types of malts, this IPA has a solid 7.2% ABV and just 35 IBU.

Juicy IPA poured a bright golden straw color with some nice haze to it and just under three fingers of fluffy white head topping it all off. The dense foam took it’s time fizzling away but laced the glass nicely on its way down.

They used the perfect adjective to describe this brew’s aroma. Loads of tropical fruits gave it an incredibly juicy scent that featured peaches, oranges, mangoes, papayas, white grapes, and a bit of bubblegum. It also gave off a somewhat pillowy feel which I admit is a weird thing to pick up from the smell…but it just seemed like it would be heavier.

My first taste began with just a hint of carbonation that hummed quietly in the background for a few moments. The fruits subtly crept forward from there.

The stone fruits made an appearance first, with the peach and mango leading the way. From there, a soft orange and citrus flavor is accompanied by some papaya sweetness.

After a few moments, the white grapes pop up and add a brut wine-like dryness that lingers for the remainder of the sip. The dry, stickiness allows a few of the other flavors to cling to my tongue and last longer than they otherwise would have.

Towards the backend, the mangoes burst one last time. The final bloom of tropical fruit eliminated some of that dry feeling and restored the brew to its juicy beginnings.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last too long and the hops imparted a bitter twinge in the final moments of the sip. That bitterness carried through for the remainder of the sip and revived the dry feeling, which then lingered for a few moments after everything else had vanished.

After a few consecutive sips, however, my mouth needed a swig of water to vanquish the dry ending.

I thought the beer would be on the heavier side but I was wrong. It wasn’t light by any means but it didn’t have that thick, pillowy feel like I thought it would. Instead it had the standard IPA body to it – not light, not heavy…just right.

The 7.2% ABV was hidden all the way and that made this beer even easier to drink. Despite the dryness, this IPA was super easy to drink. I had finished the 500 mL bottle in no time and, now looking at my empty glass, I wished I had gotten another.

Totally worth it.

*bottled 10/1/19, reviewed on 11/25/19*

Next up, a Michigan brewery that’s getting a lot of praise lately - Old Nation.

Old Nation Brewing comes out of the Lansing suburb of Williamston, Michigan. They hit it big with their year-round brew M-43 in 2017 (which continues to be amazing) and can be found in Michigan and the larger cities of Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, and Vermont.

Today I have another of the sought-after beers, Boss Tweed.

This DIPA is brewed with Azacca, Citra, Magnum, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops and checks in at a massive 9.3% ABV and 68 IBU. A four-pack of 16-ounce cans runs about $18, so it isn’t the cheapest.

Boss Tweed poured a super cloudy orangish-copper color with about two fingers of head building up. The eggshell white foam laced the edges of the glass on its way down, coating the sides almost completely with bubbles.

An incredibly juicy smell flowed from the brew. Tons of tropical fruits could be picked up that included mango, papaya, tangerine, grapefruit, and orange with some light pineapple and lemon also being present. There’s also a soft malt backing of oats and wheat that gives off a slightly biscuity aroma.

My first sip began with a very light carbonation up front and the beer had a thicker, creamy mouthfeel that seemed to expand once it hit my tongue, taking up every inch of my mouth.

There was a sting of hoppy bitterness up front, the 68 IBU hitting early, but it was quickly quieted by the flavors of tropical fruit and bready malt. Sadly, though, all those fruits I picked up in the aroma didn’t make it to the taste…most did but there were a few missing.

Instead, it was the pineapple that spiked with a nice acidic prickle. Joining the pineapple were notes of slightly tart lemon, mango, and a sticky grapefruit rind flavor. The hops also offered a bit of earthy pine midway through.

The malts were mostly quiet in the flavor as well, as the hops dominated this DIPA. There was some biscuity sweetness and a dash of the oats/wheat towards the second half of the sip but, all-in-all, Boss Tweed was all about the hops.

As the beer begins to wind down, there is one last blossoming of juicy mango that briefly overpowers the pineapple flavor before everything fizzles away.

It finished with a mild dryness and a light resinous feeling that clings to my tongue for a few minutes before slowly dissipating as well.

For a 9.3% beer, it was insanely easy to drink. There was no hint of the booze in the taste making me read (and reread) the can multiple times…I still find it hard to believe the alcohol content is that high. Based on just taste alone, I would have guessed it was no more than 6.5%.

This was a truly great DIPA. I wouldn’t go so far to say that even those that don’t like IPAs would like this beer…but I will say that if you like IPAs you will LOVE this one.

Boss Tweed tastes like a much lighter NE IPA – juicy and easy to drink with moderate bitterness. But this one has a massive ABV and is incredibly well made. If you can find it, buy it. It’s that simple.

*canned on 9/25, reviewed on 11/7*

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