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Belt’s Beer Garden: One Hop Wonders

Two brews that feature a signature hop - TrimTab’s Mosaic Singularity & Pollyanna’s Four Chord Wonder


Today I have two brews that each showcase a different hop - one Mosaic and one Amarillo.

Let’s start with an Alabama brewery and their Mosaic brew.

TrimTab was launched in 2013 down in Birmingham, Alabama. Named after a small rudder that’s attached to a larger rudder on ships and airplanes, a trimtab controls the vessels movements and, despite its small size, has a huge impact on movement and balance…something the brewery wanted to be known for as well.

Their distribution has grown in the past five years, as they’ve moved into a handful of places in the south: throughout Alabama and Georgia, and then into parts of Florida and Tennessee as well.

Today I have a beer from their Light Visions series – Mosaic Singularity – which is a hazy IPA brewed with a “reckless amount of 100% super fresh Mosaic hops” and tons of oats. A four-pack of 16-ounce cans costs about $17 so it’s not the cheapest option out there but each can does have a decent 6.2% ABV and 25 IBU.

Mosaic Singularity poured a super cloudy orange straw color with just about two fingers of head building up. The sticky eggshell white foam hung around for a bit, slowly fading down and lacing the glass as it did so with a solid webwork of bubbles.

This beer had an incredibly juicy aroma. Honestly, it was like smelling a tropical fruit punch drink rather than a beer. Pineapple, mango, guava, grapefruit, melon, and a dash of white wine grapes blended together nicely. Behind the fruit, the oats sat quietly adding some biscuity undertones without encroaching on the hoppy fruit aroma.

My first taste started off with a tiny fizzle of carbonation that buzzed underneath for almost the entirety of the sip. The addition of the oats gave it that creamier, thicker mouthfeel and the beer had a heavier body to it.

The flavors slowly emerged, again a solid blend of tropical fruits with a hoppy bitterness that makes sure you don’t forget you have a beer in your hands. Pineapple, grapefruit, and mandarin orange leads it off.

Following up that first rush of tropical flavors is another burst of fruit – guava, mango, and white grapes – that is combined with a slightly resinous grassy taste. The oats come out midway through as well, giving off a sweet bready characteristic.

Towards the back half, the hops continue their domination of the flavor as the Mosaic hops add a slight peppery spice and more of those earthy/grassy components.

Those added flavors mixed with a resinous citrus rind and hoppy bitterness that sat at the back of my throat for a little while after everything else had gone.

Mosaic Singularity has some really nice flavors but, as I said earlier, it sits on the heavier side. And, because of that, drinking this beer slowly is a must. I was already full at the halfway point of the beer…but it was good enough that I wanted to push through and finish the beer.

Solid flavors but just a bit too heavy and has a long lasting resinous/bitter finish.

Up next I try a suburban Chicago brewery and their Amarillo pale ale.

Pollyanna Brewing, out of the south suburb of Lemont, Illinois, has been around since 2014 and actually has quite a few connections with the Northern Illinois Huskies. A few of the co-founders studied at NIU and the brewery contributes to the Alumni Association. They also are one of the few breweries sold at Huskie Stadium on game days.

Outside of DeKalb and Lemont, you can find them across the Chicagoland area and in a few spots in southern/central Illinois.

Today I have their Four Chord Wonder which gets its inspiration from music. Just as a song only needs four chords to be great, a beer only needs four ingredients to do the same. And this pale ale has just four ingredients - Amarillo hops, Vienna malt, yeast and water. It comes with a modest 5.5% ABV, has 40 IBU, and is sold in four-packs for the very nice price of $9.

It poured a semi-translucent amber color with about two fingers of off-white head topping it off. The bubbles quickly fizzle down and soon there’s just a thin cover across the top of the glass.

On the nose, Four Chord Wonder was super balanced. The Vienna malt bringing a caramel sweetness to the forefront and some light bready characteristics behind. The Amarillo hops seem quite subtle here, providing light citrus notes with some grassy and piney undertones.

My first taste began with a light fizzle of carbonation before the flavors really kicked off. The brew had a somewhat lighter body and a more watery mouthfeel.

Flavor-wise, it begins nice and sweet, those malts starting things off with a caramel flavor. But it wasn’t long until the hops jumped in as well.

A light burst of citrus - mostly lemon and orange - kicked in right behind the malts. From there the Amarillo hops began to bloom across my tongue and featured a bunch of tasty fruit flavors. Mango, papaya, and some light melon joined the others but this beer was still anchored by the lemon and orange.

As the taste continues, the citrus and caramel flavors slowly give way to other flavor profiles packed inside the Amarillo hops. Just the smallest hint of pine appears as does a slightly sticky grassy/earthy taste that seemed to coat my tongue with a resinous feeling.

Four Chord Wonder then ends rather cleanly. The sticky resin lingers on but there is no bitterness or aftertaste attached to it. It’s a very nice ending to a very nice brew.

This pale ale is the perfect beer for being outdoors or tailgating. It has tons of flavor, a solid ABV, finishes cleanly, and even has a nice price point. Hopefully it’ll be around a while because I’d love to see it at Huskie Stadium this fall.