Before this week, I had featured beers from 45 different states - only needing beers from Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. On my quest to showcase a beer from every state on Belt’s Beer Garden, I have found a pair of brews from two of the missing five states – Montana and New Jersey.
And, up first, is a brewery that doesn’t just brew good beer; they also do good for their community.
Imagine Nation opened their doors in Missoula, Montana back in March of 2015 and is the country’s first brewery AND center for community transition. In nearly five years, they have hosted more than 3000 community events and supported over 500 organizations. In fact, 25% of their profits are donated back into their community!
Today I have their Hyperspace – a milkshake New England IPA. They have a few versions of this brew with different fruit additives and, the one I have today, is Passion Fruit Hyperspace. It has a 6.2% ABV and a 16-ounce can cost me $7 but I’m sure it’s available for less in Montana.
Hyperspace poured a hazy golden copper color with roughly two fingers of dense, eggshell white head topping it off. The bubbles slowly fade, lacing the glass with thick pockets of foam as it does so.
The aroma is straight up juice! It’s all sweet, tropical passion fruit. No hop aroma, no malt backing, just simply liquid passion fruit. I had to double check to make sure this was actually a beer and not a can of juice. I couldn’t wait to dive in.
My first sip began with a tingle of carbonation and a light hoppy note that was quickly overrun. The beer had super creamy and thicker mouthfeel with the flavors slowly creeping forth after a few moments.
The juicy aspect from the aroma followed through to the taste but the massive amount of passion fruit did not. While the passion fruit was still present, kicking off the brew was a sweet but subtle combination of passion fruit, orange, and mango.
On the back half of the sip, the hops imparted a light bitter twinge and the malt bill offered up notes of flaked oats and wheat.
Hyperspace then finished ridiculously clean. There was no dryness, no lingering hop bite, nothing at all. And that meant I went from one sip to the next almost immediately…which, after just a few minutes, resulted in me having an empty glass.
I couldn’t believe how tasty, sessionable, and delicious this brew was. And, even though the passion fruit flavor wasn’t as strong in the taste as it was in the aroma, the beer was still incredibly delicious.
If every Imagine Nation beer is like this one, Missoula is one lucky town. And, making things even better is that it’s not just beer they make…the brewery strives to make their community and the world a better place.
With a mission statement and history of kindness like that (plus the damn good beers), there is no reason not to support Imagine Nation. I know if I come across any of their other brews, I’m not going to hesitate to buy them.
Up next, a brewery from the Garden State and their special release anniversary ale.
Double Nickel opened their doors back in 2015 in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey, which is actually a suburb of Philadelphia, PA (only 10 miles to the west) and has about 36,000 residents.
They offer five year-round brews and can be found in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, the bigger cities of North Carolina (Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro), and in Chicagoland.
Today I have their Anniversary Triple IPA, which was double dry-hopped with Amarillo, Citra, and Vic Secret hops. Each pint packs a punch with a 10.5% ABV and will set you back about $4 per can or $14 for a four-pack.
This triple IPA poured a dark copper color with just under two fingers of off-white head topping the beer. The dense, bubbly foam fizzled down at a moderate pace leaving a slew of lacing as it did so.
The hops really took center stage in the aroma. They offered up notes of pine, citrus, and a dash of spice. Behind the hops, the malts provided some relief with hints of sweet caramel and a hint of breadiness. The higher ABV also gives off a twinge of booze here.
Starting off the sip was a long-lasting carbonation hum that continued underneath the flavors as they began to appear.
Up front the beer dishes out flavors of pine, tropical fruits, and, in an attempt to cut into the bitterness, a heavy hand of caramel sweetness.
There are notes of grapefruit and lemon that are joined by more earthy flavors like pine, nuts, and a light grassy residue. As it’s a triple IPA, joining the flavors is a solid dose of bitterness that sits at the back of the throat.
Midway through the malts do well to slice through the majority of that hoppy bite with some big caramel flavoring. But, as the sip progresses, the hops prove to be just too much especially towards the end.
Double Nickel’s anniversary brew ends rather cleanly. There was just a slight resinous feeling that coated my tongue and kept that light grassy flavor and a moderate bitterness around for a few moments more.
The high alcohol content was hidden rather well - only appearing in the second half. But, as it sits a little heavy and takes some time to drink, the 10.5% will end up hitting you before you even finish the pint.
All in all, it was a rather good triple IPA. The malts balanced the beer nicely and the hop bite was never too strong. It was a tough brew to finish alone but certainly worth the price.
*canned on 10/7/19, reviewed on 12/17/19*