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Belt’s Beer Garden: Curio-sity Killed the Can

Fernson’s Curio & Foreign Object’s Dreamtime Haruspex


For this week’s installment I introduce a brewery from South Dakota and then share a beer from a blossoming New York brewery.

Let’s start with the smaller state and South Dakota’s Fernson Brewing.

Fernson is the first brewery from South Dakota to be represented on Belts Beer Garden. The brewery opened up in February of 2015 in Sioux Falls, which is near the boarders of Iowa and Minnesota. It’s the largest city in either Dakota and the only city in with more than 100,000 people in South Dakota.

They offer five year-round beers, nine seasonals brews, and have a handful of collaborations as well. You can find them in five states – all of Nebraska and South Dakota, the southern half of North Dakota, the western half of Minnesota, and the northwest corner of Iowa.

Today I have their Curio, a Berliner Weisse brewed with Cascade hops and wheat and pilsner malts. You can find this beer all year and it’s solid in six-packs for $9, with each can having a modest 4% ABV.

Curio poured a light golden straw color with two fingers of fizzy head building initially. The beer was quite effervescent and the bubbles hung around for quite some time.

On the nose this brew had a rather tart aroma to it with notes of citrus fruits, mostly lemon and lime. There was a yeasty quality as well, showing off its Weisse characteristics right up front.

My first sip started with a flash of carbonation and a sour blast. The tart beginning was quickly calmed down by the other flavors and, outside of that initial push, the brew wasn’t really tart the rest of the way at all.

Lemon zest leads the flavors forward with some lime and grapefruit following close behind. There was a faint hint of bubblegum and some berries as well but otherwise this was citrus dominated.

The yeast creates a lively carbonation that continues throughout the sip and adds some slight breadiness to the brew towards the backend.

As the flavors continue, the lime starts to push past the lemon as the leader. It’s joined by some saltiness that begins to dry out my taste buds.

Soon, all the flavors have gone but that dry, semi-sticky feeling remains. However, outside of the dryness, Curio ends really cleanly (and quickly).

This is a very nice Berliner Weisse but it doesn’t have anything that stands out too much flavor-wise. A tart beginning leads to some easy-drinking citrus flavors before the brew finishes dry and leaves you wanting to go back for a second sip. Solid stuff here.

Next up, a brew from New Paltz, New York. The small town of 14,000 is nearly smack dab in the middle between New York City and Albany. And while the city might not be well known, it is home to a brewery that’s starting to really pick up momentum – Foreign Objects.

They were on here a few months ago and, if you remember the last brew I reviewed from them, you’ll know that double dry-hopping is what they specialize in and that you can find their brews in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, as well as the cities of Chicago, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

Today I have their Dreamtime Haruspex, a “New-American Hoppy Ale” that doesn’t say exactly what it’s brewed with. However, the can does mention it has grapefruit, melon, and resin flavors…so I figured what the hell, we’ll try it. The 16-ounce can cost me $4.50 and has a real solid 8% ABV attached to it.

It poured a cloudy golden straw color with just over a finger of head forming. The slightly tannish/off-white bubbles stuck around for a minute or two before fading away, leaving a slew of lacing as they retreated downwards.

On the nose, this brew was quite bold. It had a nice oat and wheat bill that lead the way. Behind the grains were some hops that provided some bitterness, a citrus rind aroma, and notes of grapefruit and light melon – as the can had said it would have.

My first taste began with some light carbonation and a pillowy soft, creamy mouthfeel that quickly gave way to the huge flavors packed inside.

It was a huge bouquet of citrus fruits up front, as loads of different fruits rushed across my taste buds. There were notes of lemon, grapefruit, melon, tangerine, pineapple, and orange that, thanks to the hops, had a slight dankness to them as well.

For as powerful as the grains are in the aroma, they are very limited in the taste of the beer. Instead, they just add a nice malty backing to the brew…providing some sweetness and cutting away most of the bitterness.

The resin feeling, which was also dormant in the begin portion of the sip, starts to creep in towards the back third of the beer and then, by the time all the flavors have gone, that sticky feeling has completely coated my tongue.

Dreamtime ends with a mixture of those malts, some light hoppy pine, and a citrus rind bitterness that lingers on for a while after.

At 8% ABV, this brew is basically two beers in one but it certainly doesn’t drink like it. It’s shockingly easy to put down and, although it sits somewhat heavy in my stomach, the booze is hidden almost completely making it a very sessionable IPA.

Foreign Objects continues to put out quality stuff…especially if you’re a fan of DDH IPAs. Can’t go wrong with this one…even if it does cost a bit more.