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Belt’s Beer Garden: Driven to Drink

Two Bearded Iris brews, Joy Ride and Roadmap

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While drinking and driving is never condoned here at BBG (or anywhere else!!), this week I do have two beers that will make any road trip better. And both are from the same brewery no less - Bearded Iris, a Nashville brewery that has been climbing the national ranks in the past few years.

Bearded Iris has been featured on here twice before and has been included in a few of my lists for best beers/breweries. They’ve quickly become a favorite of mine and, with my best friend now living in Nashville, I get to try even more of their brews.

BIBCO opened just over three years ago, in February of 2016, just two miles north of Broadway. And, since opening, they’ve blown people away with their double dry-hopped IPAs/DIPAs and have expanded distribution to eastern Tennessee and the major cities of Kentucky.

Today, I have two new beers from them that would make the perfect complement to any road trip – Joy Ride and Roadmap.


Well start with Joy Ride, which was a special release for their third anniversary. This IPA was brewed with oats and only one hop variety – Nelson hops. It’s sold in four-packs of 16-ounce cans that cost $16, which is a tad higher than average, and comes with a moderate 6% ABV.

Joy Ride poured a golden straw color with some light haze to it, making it a very cloudy brew. There was almost no head on this one. Just a razor thin line of white bubbles ever appeared, lining the edge of the glass.

Holy cow…this beer smelled solely of juice with a sweet oaty backing. It was like it wasn’t even a beer at all. Tropical fruits flowed out of the glass – a huge dose of pineapple lead the way with mango, grapefruit, and lemon sitting right behind.

My first sip started off with surprising zip of carbonation that became a low hum throughout the entirety of the taste.

The hops hit early on with a dash of bitterness and a whole lot of tropical fruit. As the aroma indicated, this beer lead with sting of pineapple tartness up front. From there, the other fruits – mostly mango, orange, and lemon – bloomed slowly across my tongue with a sweet and creamier mouthfeel.

Sitting underneath the citrus flavors was a strong oat and wheat characteristic that added some biscuity and sweet notes, complimenting the fruit nicely and cutting into the hoppy bite that started off the beer.

Soon those softer citrus flavors begin to fade, allowing for the grapefruit and lemon to sneak in more with a bitter citrus rind taste and accompanied by more of those oaty notes.

From there, the flavors seem to vanish quickly and cleanly. Left behind is just small dry feeling and a grapefruit rind sticky bitterness that lasted for just a moment or two afterwards.

This was a solid way to start the day. Joy Ride was incredibly easy to drink and super tasty. A blend of citrus flavors with an oat backing and a decent ABV…can’t go wrong with that.

A-

Up next, something every road trip needs…a Roadmap.

Roadmap is a double IPA brewed with African Queen, Citra, and Mosaic hops. It clocks in with a very solid 7.9% ABV and is sold in four-packs for $17…which, again, is a little on the higher side.

It poured a mostly translucent straw color with very little head building up. Half a finger of white bubbles quickly appeared and fizzled down to a thin dusting within a few moments of Roadmap being poured.

On the nose this beer had a fantastic aroma. There was a bouquet of citrus (lemon, berries, and orange), some sugary bubblegum, and a touch of grassy/earthier notes as well. It was quite inviting and didn’t smell like a DIPA at all.

My first swig began with a solid rush of carbonation that stung quickly before fading out and allowing this brew with a somewhat thinner mouthfeel to continue its assault on my taste buds.

The hops immediately blitzed my palate with a solid bitterness and some sugary sweet flavors up front. It starts with a pink bubblegum characteristic that has a sugary sweet flavor and reminds me of chomping on one of those huge Hubba Bubba pieces.

After that brief gummy start, the citrus begins to show up. There’s pineapple, grapefruit rind, lemon, and something that doesn’t show up in most American brews.

A black currant/gooseberry flavor creeps forward midway though, making Roadmap have a somewhat wine-like feel to it later on in the sip.

Behind all the flavors, the hops strike with a solid bitterness that really peaks towards the middle of the sip and then slowly fades from there.

On the backend of the brew there a hint of pineapple and a citrus rind flavor that competes with an earthy lemongrass. The combination coats my tongue with some resinous stickiness before fading away.

Roadmap ends with a moderate dryness and that sticky resin feeling that hangs on to my tongue for quite a few minutes after the rest of the flavors have vanished.

This is a pretty good DIPA. It’s sticky, resinous, and bitter…but it’s also full of flavors. The sweet bubblegum beginning and the citrus flavors midway through are nice. However, the finish, with that hop bite and dryness, is not nearly as nice.

A solid offering but not quite as strong as some of their other creations.