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Belt’s Beer Garden: Brew-nique Beers

Two beers with unique qualities - Ghostfish Grapefruit IPA & Dogfish Head SuperEIGHT

This week I have a couple of beers that aren’t like most out there. I have a completely gluten-free IPA and a beer that can help you develop your pictures - FOR REAL!


Up first, one of the most unique beers I’ve ever herad of...Dogfish Head’s SuperEIGHT

Just about everyone knows of, or has had some, Dogfish Head. The Milton, Delaware brewery has been around since 1995 and is available in 40 states plus the D.C. area…so odds are you can get your hands on their brews.

One of their newer releases is a gose with a very unique talent.

After hearing that a beer with a low enough pH level could potentially develop Kodak Super 8 film, founder Sam Calagione made it his mission to create a brew that could do just that.

Enter SuperEIGHT.

This beer not only actually develops film but also acts as a way to catch a nice buzz. The gose is brewed with a slew of ingredients (prickly pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, kiwi juice, toasted quinoa and red Hawaiian sea salt) and has a decent 5.3% ABV. You can find a six-pack of cans for $13, which isn’t a bad deal if you’re in a pickle and can’t find a dark room to use.

SuperEIGHT poured a bright reddish, pink color with minimal head. When first poured, maybe a quarter finger of white bubbles appeared but instantaneously vanished, leaving nothing atop the brew.

The aroma is that of tart berries with just a tiny hint of salinity cutting into the sour fruits. The smell is led by prickly pear, raspberries, and blackberries while the other ingredients take a backseat and just provide some additional sweetness.

My first taste began with a sharp fizzle of carbonation but I was surprised it wasn’t nearly as sour as I thought it was going to be…it had a light tartness to it but nothing that would make you pucker.

The sea salt is definitely noticeable throughout, sandwiching the beer. It leads off the sip before fading out in the middle, allowing the fruit to shine, and then strikes one last time towards the end.

Between those salty waves the beer does well to showcases almost all of the other additives. Raspberries, prickly pear, blackberries, and the boysenberries all hit first in a fruit cocktail medley before the kiwi peaks through with some added tartness.

The elderberries, mango, and quinoa seem to go unnoticed, with the other additions seemingly pushing them aside. However, every once in a while (I think it happened twice in all the sips I had), there was a juicy, somewhat sticky, burst of mango that quickly took the spotlight before disappearing.

SuperEIGHT ends very cleanly with little dryness and almost no lingering flavors. The very acidic brew does cause some mild heartburn but nothing too bad or for too long.

It’s a very solid gose that’s not too sour or too salty. Loads of berries and fruits a showcased along the way and the coolest feature is still that it can develop film!! Cool stuff.


Up next, a West Coast beer that’s not like most of them - Ghostfish’s gluten-free IPA.

It’s not just this brew that’s free from wheat. Ghostfish is a completely gluten-free brewery located in Seattle, Washington. Opening back in 2012 it is still the city’s one and only brewery dedicated to creating an entire line up of gluten-free beers.

That means instead of brewing with typical grains, like wheat and barley, Ghostfish uses millet, buckwheat, rice, sorghum, and Belgian candi syrup (which is made of date and beet sugar) among others.

They have a wide distribution that covers Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Today I have their Grapefruit IPA, an IPA brewed with sorghum, brown rice, candi syrup, tapioca maltodextrin, hops, grapefruit peel, and yeast. A four-pack of 12-ounce cans costs $12 and each beer has a decent 5.5% ABV and 85 IBU.

It poured a dark copper color with some minimal head building up. Just under a finger of off-white, almost tannish foam appeared and, in a flash, it was gone…leaving just a thin line around the edge of the glass.

On the nose, this brew had quite the sweet and tart aroma. It was led by a zesty grapefruit rind that blended with that candi syrup to create a very sticky-sweet smelling brew. The hops added some light bitterness but, for the most part, this was an inviting beer.

My first taste started with a solid rush of carbonation that fizzled its way across my tongue. From there the grapefruit really popped with a zippy grapefruit peel bitterness and some other citrus fruit sweetness.

The lack of gluten was rather noticeable on my first sip, as the beer certainly had a different taste beyond the hops. The brown rice could be picked up and so could the sorghum, giving off a more earthy flavor.

As the taste continued, the hops became increasingly more and more noticeable. A sharp bitter twinge continued to creep forward and overwhelm the other flavors as the prickly feeling settled at the back of my tongue.

Grapefruit IPA ended moderately cleanly, with some dryness, but what stayed the longest was a lingering grapefruit rind bite that refused to leave my tongue until cleansed with a sip of water.

Maybe it’s just how this beer is made…or maybe malted barley/wheat has a larger impact on quieting hops in beer…either way, Ghostfish’s Grapefruit IPA seemed much more bitter than most. Yes, I know it has 85 IBU and was going to be bitter but it still seemed sharper than most IPAs that I’ve had (and I’ve had a LOT).

It had some good flavors up front but turned real bitter, real quick.