The South might not be known for their beers like New England or the West Coast...but they’re quickly catching up in quantity...and quality. In fact, today I showcase two brews from a pair of southern breweries - Southern Grist and Southern Prohibition.
Nashville’s craft beer scene is exploding in popularity and one of those great breweries just celebrated their third anniversary – Southern Grist Brewing.
SGB is still only available in and around Nashville but their amazing concoctions have created a huge buzz in Music City over those last few years.
They already have two taprooms (one in East Nashville and one on the other side of the city, in The Nations neighborhood) and offer a variety of styles to choose from…but it’s their DDH IPAs that have made their mark.
Today I have one of those New England brews – Always Something.
Always Something was named in homage to one of the most common phrases said around Southern Grist, especially when it comes to the daily struggles of maintaining a brewery… “it’s always something.”
This NE IPA was brewed with massive amounts of oats and then generously hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Rakau hops. And, at 8.3%, it certainly has a solid ABV. You can purchase a four-pack of 16-ounce cans for the price of $17, which is on the higher side.
Always Something poured a murky straw/orange color with about a finger of off-white head. The foam quickly fizzles away, lacing the top of the glass some on its way out.
On the nose this brew was surprisingly muted. The hops provide a bouquet of citrus aromas, like pineapple, orange, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits. The oats bring some added sweetness and a grainy aroma that sits in the background. But even though I can pick up on those individual smells when I tried, it’s a very light aroma and I needed to get really, really close to the glass to find them.
My first taste began with just a tiny fizz of carbonation and a moderate to heavy mouthfeel with some creamy aspects to it.
It starts with a somewhat bitter hop sting at the back of the tongue that is quickly mellowed out as soon as the flavors kick in. And, the first flavor up, is a sweet orange and tangerine flavor that is quickly blended with those oats, which have a somewhat biscuity characteristic to them.
Midway through, the pineapple kicks in with a blend of other tropical fruits – mango and papaya mostly - that has a mild tartness and more of those grains in the background.
As the beer ends, there is a minor dryness and a bitter sting from the hops that lingers at the back of my throat for a few moments. But, outside of that, Always Something ends on the cleaner side of things. All that sticks around is that dry feeling and a hint of oats/citrus rind.
However, it is on the heavier side of things and certainly sits that way in my stomach. There was no way I could down this beer quickly. Instead, it’s made for sipping and enjoying…which I fully plan on doing.
As the brew warms up, the bitterness seems to fade some and the juicier aspects of the beer show up more, making the second half a much tastier brew for me.
This is a very tasty beer – especially once it did warm up – and, if you’re a of NE IPAs, try to find it before it disappears.
(Side note: for as good as this one is…try their DDH Mixed Greens series. Those beers are simply amazing!!)
Next up from farther south, is Southern Prohibition and their take on a DDH brew.
Southern Prohibition might be Mississippi’s best/most well know brewery. In fact, according to BeerAdvocate at the time of writing this piece, the top five beers from Mississippi all come from SPB.
The Hattiesburg, MS brewery has a distribution across the south, reaching Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. They offer seven year-round brews in addition to a slew of other special/taproom releases.
Today I have one of their taproom releases – Hex Clouds – which I picked up while in Nashville.
Hex Clouds is a double dry-hopped double IPA brewed with tons of wheat and Amarillo hops in the whirlpool then a massive amount of Denali, Simcoe, and Vic Secret hops are added later on. It has a stronger ABV, at 7.5%, and is sold in four-packs of 16-ounce cans that run a little less than average - $9 from what I found.
This DDH DIPA poured a murky orangish-brown color with two full fingers of thick, sticky eggshell white foam protecting the liquid below. The head slowly fizzled down, lacing the top of the glass entirely as it did so.
A heavy dose of wheat and yeast kicked off the aroma, with a bready/biscuity sweetness. That was followed up by some juicy citrus – mostly pineapple, mango, melon, and grapefruit – with a hint of hoppy pine sitting in the background.
My first taste started with a low rush of carbonation and the beer had a lighter to medium body to it, where it was slightly watery but then sits heavy in the stomach.
There was a bitter twinge that started off the sip before the malts and wheat kick in with a sugary sweet bready/yeasty flavor. Quickly though, some ripe pineapple washes over my taste buds with that familiar tart sting.
It was an interesting start to the beer, with a few sharp flavors up front. However, midway though things began to soften out some as more of the tropical flavors began to bloom and wash out the biscuity characteristics.
It was here where the melon and grapefruit rind were added into the mix; bringing some more tropical flavors and a slightly pillowy feeling…but the pineapple was still king, leading the way throughout the entirety of the sip.
As the beer came to a close, it ended somewhat cleanly. There was a small dryness left sitting on my tongue with a few residual flavors lingering after as well. It was mostly a hoppy flavor, with some grapefruit rind bitterness and some of that pineapple sting. But, after just a few moments, everything had faded away.
I was a little surprised at how sharply this beer starts off. There was a lot more of a hop bite in Hex Clouds than in most DDH brews and, even though it did even out some towards the end of each sip, it was unexpectedly bitter.