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Belt’s Beer Garden: You’re Killin’ Me, Smalls!

A pair of Sandlot themed beers from Main & Mill - The Great Hambino & Benny the Jet

Main & Mill Brewing is a family-owned brewery in Festus, Missouri. The brewery, which is about 30 miles south of St. Louis, opened back in 2014 and has been a big part of the community ever since - hosting fundraisers, concerts, trivia, an annual Street Fest, and a bunch of other activities.

Their beers often have pop culture references which include odes to Ghostbusters, Seinfeld, Super Mario Bros., and even The Sandlot...which is what I’ll be sharing today.

Usually I share just a single beer but today I go back to the old ways of Belt’s Beer Garden and will be trying two brews...both of which are Sandlot themed: Great Hambino (an Imperial Milk Stout) and Benny the Jet (a hazy IPA).

Up first is the sultan of swat...the king of crash...the colossus of clout...The Great Hambino.

The Great Hambino is a monster of a stout, packing an 11% ABV. This Imperial Milk Stout uses their oated stout as a base before they add in an extra dose of honey malt and let it age on Ghanaian cacao nibs, marshmallows, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk sugar. The result - a s’mores-like brew that even Smalls would love. The beer was packaged on September 21st and does cost a bit more, at $9 per 16-ounce can.

The beer poured out super thick and was a deep, dark black color. There was almost no head to the brew, as just a razor thin line of tannish/brown bubbles made a ring around the edge of the glass.

On the nose, this brew features big notes of sweet chocolate, sticky marshmallow, and a hint of roasted coffee. The vanilla and lactose blend with a light cinnamon spice creating a graham cracker like aroma perfect for this s’mores beer.

My first swig hits me right out of the gates with a boozy bite and some notes of milk chocolate. From there, it’s all cocoa, cinnamon, and vanilla. Just waves of sweetness with a hint of spice from the cinnamon.

Then, towards the backend, a gooey, roasted mallow flavor starts to appear and overpower all the other flavors. The mallow slowly begins to appear around the midway point of the sip before fully taking control like a real s’more does...coating all the taste buds with some massive gooey marshmallow goodness.

The 11% ABV is almost completely hidden (with the exception of that initial twinge) and that makes this brew very dangerous.

The Great Hambino was sweet, tasty, and, despite pouring thick, it was very crushable as well. This was a clear homerun from Main & Mill and just another example of the Great Hambino’s greatness.

A

Up next, I lace up my PF Flyers and take on Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez.

Benny the Jet is a New England IPA brewed with Bravo, El Dorado, Galaxy, and Vic Secret hops. The beer was packaged on September 3rd and features a solid 7.1% ABV with a price tag of $5.50 per 16-ounce can.

It poured a murky orange color blending into golden straw hues near the top and bottom of the glass. Like with the previous beer, there wasn’t much head. Just half a finger of bright white foam ever appeared and quickly fizzled away, gathering lightly around the edge of the glass.

Notes of orange, peach, and pineapple were most noticeable in the aroma with a heavy dose of flaked wheat and oats backing up the fruit. The hops also gave off some earthier notes of pine and nuts as well but, for the most part, it was the juicy fruits that led the way.

The flavors mimicked the aroma almost perfectly.

Up front my taste buds were hit with the orange and pineapple notes almost instantly. As the sip progressed, a flood of mango and peach began to wash over everything and mixed into a nice fruit cocktail blend.

Those flaked grains offered a bready backing, creating a biscuity, almost cereal-like, characteristic that began to appear midway through. Joining the grist was a hint of nuttiness and a few earthy notes as well.

Benny the Jet finished very clean. There was no bitterness, no lingering aftertaste, no dryness... nothing. It just suddenly ended. And that made the beer very, very easy to drink.

However, outside of the first few seconds, this brew didn’t have that strong juicy quality throughout that most hazies have. It was a solid brew with a nice blend of flavors but didn’t blow me away.

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