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Belt’s Beer Garden: Seeing is Believing

Around the Horn’s terrific West Coast IPA, I Saw the Unicorn

Around the Horn Brewing sits near Yosemite National Park in Groveland, California and opened in 2020 after Andrew and Rachel Sabatine returned to California after a few years in Tennessee.

After reading about the brewery a bit more, I now have really high hopes for this beer. Turns out Andrew, the cofounder/head brewer at AtH, got his start at one of my favorite breweries - Southern Grist in Nashville.

Today I have a newer West Coast IPA from them called I Saw the Unicorn. It was brewed with Columbus LUPOMAX, Simcoe, and Superdelic hops and features a solid 6.5% ABV.

Pouring a bright golden straw color, I Saw the Unicorn had a bit of haze to it but was slightly translucent. About a finger of pure white head topped off the beer and stuck around for a decent amount of time. As it slowly disappeared it left a very nice lacing around the sides of the glass and settled into a thin layer across the entire top of the brew.

On the nose, there was a hoppy twinge of pine and fruit. There was a hefty dose of grapefruit peel and sticky, resinous pine that led the way. But underneath those strong aromas were some brighter notes of tangerine, guava, and pineapple. It was classic West Coast and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Each sip begins with a creamier, heavier body and a slightly delayed flash of carbonation that continues to hum underneath the flavors for a few moments. Hitting first was a super sticky, dank flavor of pine and stone fruit.

Joining in the fun after a moment or two was the pithy grapefruit rind followed by a bit of juicy tangerine to soften the flavors out some. After the grapefruit peel faded some around the midway point, the beer turned a bit more juicy - the tropical fruit notes of guava and pineapple taking full advantage of the missing citrus rind flavors.

However, that sweetness wouldn’t last too long. Towards the backend there was a final spike of hops, with that dank earthy pine characteristic swelling once more. It wasn’t too bitter but there was a nice little bite to it.

The brew finished a bit on the drier side, with some lingering grapefruit and piney resin adding to the stickiness. But it was still quite light and didn’t sit too heavy at all, making it easy to go back for another sip almost immediately.

Around the Horn has done well with this one. It’s a classic WC brew with just a tad more juiciness to it. It’s a subtle, tasty beer that you’ll want to keep going back to. I know I sure want to grab more of it.

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