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Belt’s Beer Garden: How Divine!

Divine Barrel’s Neon Distraction

This week’s beer comes to us from the Tar Heel State and the good people at Divine Barrel Brewing.

Divine Barrel is located in the NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina with their taproom opening in March of 2018. They specialize in wood-aged and wild/sour beers but strive to have a vast array of beers on tap at any given time.

Sadly, my first beer from Divine Barrel isn’t a wild or barrel-aged brew but hopefully I’ll be able to get more of their stuff soon. Instead, though, I was able to snag a couple cans of their Neon Distraction.

Neon Distraction is an IPA brewed with Citra, Mandarina Bavaria, and Nelson Sauvin hops. The pint comes with a 7.3% ABV and cost me $6.50 per can - but I have a feeling it’s a bit cheaper if you’re in their distribution area. This beer was canned on March 26th and reviewed on May 21st.

Neon Distraction poured a bright and cloudy dark straw color, nearing orange. Three fingers of thick offwhite head topped the beer and prevented my first sip for quite a while. The dense foam took a few minutes to fizzle down and laced the glass with a solid coat of bubbles on its way down.

The aroma was slightly dank and chocked full of fruit and flaked grain. The grist led the way and featured a heavy dose of flaked oats and wheat that gave of a cereal-like quality. The hops were more subdued in the aroma and featured a blend of tropical and citrus fruits along with some brut white wine qualities from the Nelson hops.

When the foam had finally subsided enough and I was able to dive in, it wasn’t like the smell at all and, instead, it started off with a pop of hops and the grains took a backseat.

It began with a thick and soft mouthfeel that seemed to expand as it washed across my tongue. The Nelson hops hit first with a twinge of bitterness, white grapes, and some light honeydew melon flavors. Quickly following that, the other hops gave off more citrus flavors like tangerine, papaya, and a pithy grapefruit.

As the sip progresses the flaked grains add some cereal-esque qualities that quell the bitterness and allow for just a few of the hoppy flavors to continue on. The grapefruit rind, grapes, and melon characteristics continue forward and, eventually, finished out the sip.

The Nelson hops added a brut champagne quality to Neon Distraction that made the beer finish on the dry side of things. There were some juicy tropical components early on that fought the dryness but, eventually, the juice evaporated and allowed the dryness to win in the end.

That dry feeling, along with some resinous grapefruit, lingered after everything else and had me taking a swig of water after every third sip or so.

Overall, this was a pretty solid brew. It was a little dry but had a nice blend of tropical and citrus fruits early on. Plus it got me off my phone for a minute while writing this (except when I checked this beer in on Untappd, obviously).

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