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Belt’s Beer Garden: Hoptimal Performance

Hoptimal Prime, a hazy IPA, from Ohio’s DankHouse Brewing

To finish off Movie Week at Belt’s Beer Garden, I have a hazy Transformers-themed IPA from DankHouse.

DankHouse Brewing Co. sits about 40 miles east of Columbus in Newark, Ohio, almost smack dab in the middle of the state. They opened back in 2017 and, as you might expect from their name, they make a lot of dank IPAs. In fact, on their current tap list offerings, 11 of the 14 beers they make are some version of an IPA.

Today I have their Hoptimal Prime, which is a New England IPA brewed with Citra, Meridian, and Nelson Sauvin hops. It comes complete with a 7% ABV and the 16-ounce can cost me $7 (but if you’re in Ohio, it’ll be cheaper).

Prime poured a murky, opaque straw color with minimal head building up. There was never more than half a finger of foam and the little that did appear quickly fizzled away. There was a razor thin ring of bubbles left around the edge of the glass but the few millimeters that remained did little lacing down the glass.

The aroma packed a punch of tropical fruits and flaked grains. Pineapple, guava, and some berry notes led the way. Behind the fruity notes was a mixture of wheat and oats that gave off some cereal-esque characteristics. Finally, there were a few earthier notes of spice and hoppy dankness - which, from a brewery named DankHouse, is to be expected somewhat.

Each swig begins with a flash of carbonation and a slightly bitter hoppiness. However, after a second or two, the flavors really transform.

Creamy guava and pineapple hit first, with some mango and tangerine following closely after. Towards the middle, a wave of berries crashes down, overpowering the initial tropical fruit flavors and taking control for a few brief moments.

On the backend, the flavors shift gears and those earthy qualities begin to appear. There is a bit of black pepper spice and some dank grassy undertones that begin to seep forward. You also get a bit of the grist peeking out, with some biscuity and cereal notes appearing.

Hoptimal Prime finishes somewhat clean, with a slight bitter twinge and some pithy citrus rind flavors lingering on for a few moments.

It’s a solid brew with a nice mixture of hoppy flavors. And, just like the robot it’s named after, this beer’s flavors are more than meets the eye.

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