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Belt’s Beer Garden: Livin’ the I Life

Icarus Brewing’s I Life: Tangerine - a lager brewed with tangerine and bergamot tea

It’s the middle of summer and, after a thick and heavy stout last week, it’s time for a lighter treat. For this week’s showcase, I chose an interesting lager from Icarus Brewing Company.

Icarus calls Lakewood, New Jersey home and has been serving up delicious suds for six and a half years now. You can find their beers throughout the state but, if you’re too lazy to move in this heat, they also deliver to most of Jersey...or if you’re lucky they will show up on Tavour occasionally.

I was able to snag one of their summer refreshers - I Life: Tangerine & Bergamot Tea, an American lager with a small 4.4% ABV. The beer was brewed with Pilsen malt, corn, and lightly hopped with Taiheke hops before being conditioned on (you guessed it) tangerines and bergamot tea.

It poured a bright, somewhat translucent, golden straw color with about to fingers of head billowing upwards. However, the foam would quickly fizzle away into a small, half inch collection around the edge of the glass.

The aroma was quite refreshing - it was light but packed a nice punch. There were big notes of juicy tangerines while, sitting closely behind, were some sweeter and floral tea notes. The balance was uncanny and I couldn’t wait to dive into this one.

Each sip begins with a flutter of carbonation before the flavors are allowed to finally appear. And boy did they ever!

Up front the beer is quite balanced yet incredibly juicy from a hefty dose of tangerine and bergamot - it’s all citrus to start! The New Zealand hops add a few other tropical fruit flavors but the beer gets none of the hoppy bitterness. The malt and the corn add a bit of softness and some sweeter notes up front as well, both of which blend nicely with the fruits.

Very, very slowly tea begins to build underneath the opening fruit explosion. It is soft and subtle but, around the midway point, some of those floral and tea characteristics begin to appear.

The black tea finally overtakes the tangerine in the final moments of the sip and finishes off the beer with a herbal flavor and a bit of dryness that linger on for a few moments after everything else has faded away.

This is an absolute stunner of a lager. It’s freaking delicious!! I have two very small complaints...

First, it’s only 4.4% ABV but that’s’s made for crushing on hot days. And secondly, I wish the bergamot and tangerine lasted the entire length of the sip. The black tea ending, while still good, is not as delicious as the opening moments of every swig. But otherwise, this brew is damn near perfect.

If you see this lager - even if you’re not a fan of lagers - it’s worth it. I have never had a desire to move to New Jersey...but this beer might make me reconsider that take. Great stuff.


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