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Belt’s Beer Garden: Great Chemistry

Foreign Exchange’s Foreign Chemistry Imperial IPA

Foreign Exchange Brewing hails from Aurora, Illinois - one of Chicago’s largest suburbs. While they have been around since early 2016, they’re still currently working on getting their own taproom/brewery so they have been using Church Street’s facility to get their products out.

They focus on small-batch experimental & wood-aged beers but still offer a variety of styles to choose from. You can find their beers across northern Illinois but, as of today, they have not left the state.

Today I have their newest variation of Foreign Chemistry - one of their hoppier brews.

This version is a Double Imperial IPA that features BRU-1, Citra, and Talus hops and has a very solid 7.5% ABV. Each four-pack of 16-ounce cans costs a reasonable $16 but they sell out fast so, if you see one, better be safe and grab it. The can has a chemical formula on it - CH3CH2OH - which, after some quick research (since chemistry is certainly foreign to me), is the formula for ethanol alcohol...the good stuff in beer.

Foreign Chemistry poured a bright but hazy orange color with just about two fingers of dense eggshell white head topping the beer. The foam didn’t want to leave and, even after about five minutes, it was still over a finger high and coated the glass with a nice thick lacing in the few spots that had fizzled away.

The aroma was ripe with juicy tropical fruit notes. Pineapple, mango, tangerine, and passion fruit led the way. There was a little bit of spice to the aroma too, a dash of earthy pepper, and a few floral notes hiding in there as well. It was quite a delicious smelling brew and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Foreign Chemistry began with just a tiny hum of carbonation that continued to fizzle underneath the flavors. And the hops hit with those juicy tropical fruit notes almost immediately.

It was the sweet and juicy tangerine and orange that led off the sip. The citrus was quickly followed by passion fruit and a hint of mango, although certainly not as much mango as the smell led me to believe there would be.

Midway through, the hops add that small black pepper spice and some sweeter floral notes to mix things up a bit. Those flavors don’t last too long though, as, towards the back half, a massive wave of acidic pineapple and pithy grapefruit washes over everything and closes out the flavors.

There is a bit of tartness with the pineapple, as well as a citrus rind bitterness from the grapefruit. Those final two flavors linger for a few moments afterwards, along with a slightly dry and resinous feeling.

Overall, this trio of hops was blended incredibly well and created a very delicious, very easy drinking DIPA. Foreign Exchange is an up-and-comer in the Chicagoland area that everyone should get to know. Well done.

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