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Belt’s Beer Garden: Ba’alin!

New Anthem Beer Project’s Ba’al

New Anthem Beer Project began in Wilmington, North Carolina with a simple philosophy - push the edges on every beer, from both the inside and out.

With that mindset they try to create nuances in their brews, even the mainstays, through subtle changes - like by changing the yeast or changing the temperature or modifying the amount of carbonation or even switching hops. That means the same beer could very much be different every time you crack open a new can as they continue to look for the best tasting version of it.

Today I have one of their many hop-forward brews - Ba’al.

Ba’al is a New England-style IPA brewed with Citra and Loral Cryo hops. They used English yeast and a grist backing of wheat and pale malt. It has a higher ABV, at 7.9%, and was a bit more expensive - costing me $15 for two 16-ounce cans. Although, if you’re near their taproom or in North Carolina, you might be able to find it cheaper.

The brew poured an incredibly hazy, almost murky, orange color with about a finger of eggshell white head topping it off. The foam was slightly sticky and fairly dense. As it faded down, it left a well defined wall of lacing around the edge of the glass.

A massive aroma of dank tropical fruits flowed outward from my glass. Pineapple and grapefruit led the way with some lighter notes of passion fruit and mango hiding underneath. The wheat and malt added a cereal-like breadiness and a bit more sweetness as well.

When I took my first sip I was expecting it to start with a nice burst of carbonation but, instead, it was a very quiet beginning.

For a moment there was nothing and then, finally, the hop flavors began to rise out of the liquid. It began with a pop of juicy mango and some acidic pineapple; the pineapple then quickly taking over the flavor profile early on.

Some grassy and floral notes began to appear, which brought a slightly resinous feeling to the brew early on. But those flavors stayed underneath the pineapple and didn’t last too long at all.

Emerging towards the backend of the sip was a slightly tart grapefruit characteristic. The grapefruit brought a pithy bitterness that was amplified even more by a late hoppy bite as well.

Ba’al ended slightly dry and with that grapefruit rind and hoppy bitterness lingering for a decent while afterwards. After every few sips I took a nice swig of water to clean the palate and get rid of the lasting aftertastes.

Overall, this was a nice hazy IPA. The beer had some nice juicy flavors up front before turning a bit more bitter on the back end and ending with that long-lasting grapefruit/citrus peel finish. There was a slightly boozy burn on some sips as the beer warmed and I got towards the bottom of the glass. But, for the most part, the near 8% was hidden really well and it was an easy drinking beer.

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