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Belt’s Beer Garden: Flowers? For Me?

Flower in the Kettle, a hazy IPA from Portland’s Wayfinder Beer

Wayfinder Beer has been brewing in Portland, Oregon since 2015. The brewery focuses on lagers and even has a dedicated decoction vessel that can create malt complexities otherwise unattainable with regular brewing. They push the envelope on what lagers can taste like and use a mixture of science and tradition that blends “German precision and the swagger of American Craft.”

So, with all this lager talk, naturally I have a hazy IPA to share with all of you today. I have tried many of their lagers and they are indeed delicious…but I have never seen an IPA from them before so, when I saw Flower in the Kettle, I had to try it.

Flower in the Kettle is a hazy IPA brewed with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops that features a solid 6.5% ABV. A four pack of 16-ounce cans will run you about $18.

It poured a slightly translucent, yet still murky, golden straw color. There was a decent amount of head that built up, roughly two fingers or so, before fading down into a thin accumulation around the edge of the glass. There was some lacing as it progressed downwards but not much.

The aroma was juicy tropical fruits through and through. I shouldn’t say it was entirely fruit…because underneath there was a teeny-tiny speck of flaked wheat and oats from the grains. But otherwise it was a juice bomb featuring massive notes of mango, papaya, guava, and berries. Also joining in on the fun were some notes of tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple, and a bit of melon as well. It was a fruit cocktail in a glass with a 6.5% ABV attached to it…and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Each sip starts with a rush of carbonation that the softer mouthfeel slowly begins to overtake. It’s a bit on the heavier side and not as thin as I thought it might be based on the pour. The hops began their attack with a quick burst of bitterness before those tropical flavors began to strike. But sadly, many of the smells did not appear in the taste.

There were still big notes of pineapple, grapefruit, and tangerine coming through early on but it went off in a more floral direction instead. There were some bold notes of grass and a bit of dankness to the brew before a super floral sweetness appeared after a few seconds.

At the midway point, there was a juicy burst of tropical fruit - mostly mango, papaya, and a touch of melon - but that faded rather quickly back down into the herbal flavors from before. The hops also added just a touch of black pepper spice here.

On the back end, there is a massive swelling of grapefruit rind bitterness that finishes off the sip. The citrus peel flavor adds a bit of dryness to the finish but, overall, it’s not too dry of an ending. There is a slight lingering aftertaste of mango and grapefruit that fades over a minute or so.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad beer at all. It was pretty dang tasty still and was easy enough to drink. I will say the aroma and taste definitely didn’t align, which was fine…just not what I was expecting. Solid, rather crushable brew. But for real…their lagers are AMAZING!!

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