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Belt’s Beer Garden: Sweet Carolinas

A beer from each of the Carolinas - Green Man’s Wayfarer & Legal Remedy’s Double Indemnity

This week I share a beer from both North and South Carolina.

Let’s work our way down and start with North Carolina’s Green Man Brewery.

Green Man is making their second appearance here on BBG, and is one of Asheville, North Carolina’s oldest and most popular breweries, having been open for over two decades now – opening their doors back in 1997.

Not only are they Downtown Asheville’s oldest brewery but they also were the first in the area to begin brewing sour beers to complement their large portfolio of traditional ales. Over the last 22 years, they have grown into a regional favorite and are now available in six states – Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Today I have one of summer beers, Wayfarer IPA, which is an “easy drinking IPA [that] suits any activity you fancy.” And while it doesn’t say what hops it was brewed with, it does have a solid 6% ABV and 70 IBU. A six-pack runs $11 but, at some liquor stores, you can find also single cans that go for about $2 if you don’t want to commit to six of these.

Wayfarer poured a bright golden straw color with three fingers of dense, sticky head. The foam lasted for quite some time before finally fizzling down to a reasonable level, lacing the glass nicely as it did so.

On the nose, this brew featured notes of both tropical and stone fruits, some sugary notes (like Lemonheads candy), and orange peel. It’s a sweet and inviting aroma that also features some floral/herbal aspects behind the citrus and sugar.

The first sip started with a mild carbonation as wasn’t as fizzy as I was expecting it to be from the huge, bubbly pour.

Up front, the citrus/fruit pop with big flavors of peach, apricot, lemon, grapefruit, and nectarine. The fruits blend together nicely but do have a slight resinous feeling that washes over my tongue.

Underneath the fruit, the herbal characteristics arise and provide a black tea flavor and some other light floral notes.

It doesn’t just have a nice blend of flavors…it also has an incredibly light body, which makes this beer even easier to drink.

As the flavors progress, that candied sugar flavor begins to creep into the mix and add a sticky sweetness to the beer, especially towards the backend.

However, Wayfarer still ends rather cleanly. Sure, there is a small dash of dryness but it doesn’t have that uber sticky feeling that normally accompanies the Lemonhead-like sugariness.

This brew was super crushable and, before I knew it, I had finished the entire can.

It’s a great summer beer that will keep you cool during the hot days without sacrificing flavor or alcohol content. If I can get my hands on more of this…it’ll become my go-to beer for tailgating this fall. I mentioned that you can find single cans of this if you don’t want to commit to six of them…but get the six-pack. It’s worth it! A very well-made, tasty, and light IPA.

Next up, just a short 130 miles southeast of Green Man is Legal Remedy Brewing.

Legal Remedy was born in 2009 when a few friends began homebrewing. After a few successful years doing that, they decided it was time to make this a full-time job and started the brewery in 2012 but it wasn’t until 2014 that their first batches were made public.

Located in Rock Hill, South Carolina (in the northern part of the state, about 25 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina), and started by a former lawyer, all of their brews – and the brewery itself – get their names from inside the courtroom. They offer a dozen year-round brews and a slew of seasonals. You can find their beers in both Carolinas and parts of Virginia.

Today I have a can of their Double Indemnity, a double IPA, that goes for $12 per six-pack or $2.50 per can. It doesn’t say what it’s made with but it does have an impressive 8.6% ABV and 68 IBU.

Double Indemnity poured a dark copper color with a massive amount of foam pouring out of the can initially. The bubbles don’t last too long and quickly go from two fingers to a thin dusting across the top in less than a minute.

A super malty aroma flowed from the glass and really surprised me. A heavy dose of sugary sweet caramel malt dominated the scent with some tropical fruits and a light citrus rind hanging around in the background. For a double IPA, the hops really took a backseat in the smell…we’ll see if the hops are as subdued in the taste.

My first sip began with a moderate hum of carbonation as the medium bodied beer started its descent on my taste buds.

The hops were certainly not as quiet in the flavor as they were in the smell. In fact, they screamed across my tongue with a bitter twinge that brought flavors of grapefruit peel, nuts, pine, and a dash of spice.

Grapefruit was the main offender but a resinous pine followed closely behind. A tree nut and black pepper spice mixed into the equation as the taste continued.

The sweet malts from the aroma certainly weren’t as powerful in the flavor as they were up front in the smell. But some bready and caramel notes provided a nice pop of sweetness that did well to cut into the hoppy notes and balance the beer out some.

As the flavors progressed, however, it was the citrus rind that really began to grab ahold of the taste. A bitter twinge of orange and grapefruit peels began to swell towards the final moments.

But, after that final surge, the brew ends quickly and ends quite cleanly as well. There is a tiny bit of hop resin that lingers for a few moments but nothing else.

Overall, Double Indemnity was quite the easy drinking DIPA. It’s powerful 8.6% ABV was hidden completely and the hop bite was very manageable. The malts controlled the smell. The hops made their mark in the flavor. And that combination made this a delightfully balanced brew.

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