Beer of the Weekend #604: Mars – The Bringer of War

Today is going to be a two BotW day because last night I tried the other special Bell’s release chillin’ in my fridge: Mars – The Bringer of War, brewed by the Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The “PKGD” date printed on the back label is “7/31/14.”

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, deep caramel into a tulip glass. A finger of dense, light tan, buttery head dissipates very slowly, leaving lacing stuck to the side of the glass.

Smell: Oh, man! Wow! Sticky citrus and fruit. Pineapple and kiwi are most prominent, and there are scents of mango, cherry, and strawberry licorice. It is very sweet, rich, and syrupy, somewhat reminiscent of the syrup used to flavor shaved ice and slushes. There is also a candy caramel base, a little grapefruit, lemon, and orange.

Taste: The mouthfeel is velvety smooth and the flavor is heavenly. Damn! Grapefruit is more prominent than it is in the smell, and it is backed by orange, pineapple, kiwi, lemon, candy caramel, cherry, strawberry licorice, pine, and a little hop bitterness. The bitterness does not distract from the flavors; instead, it hangs out in the background, making its presence known, and lingers on the taste buds after each sip. There is only a very faint hint of alcohol.

Drinkability: This is outstanding beer. The aroma may be the best of any beer I have ever tried. The flavor is top notch and the alcohol, despite weighing in at 10.1 percent ABV, is barely noticeable.

Fun facts about Mars:

-Style: Double IPA.

-Price: $1.99/bottle at the New Pioneer Food Co-op in Iowa City.

-Alcohol content: 10.1 percent ABV.

-Mars – The Bringer of War is the first of Bell’s Planet Series. According to the Bell’s website, the series was, “Inspired by Gustav Holst’s seven-movement orchestral suite, ‘The Planets.’
Released in the order of Holst's piece, Mars to Neptune. Beginning in August 2014 and ending in July 2015.” (That is not necessarily the most intuitive order of the planets — Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune — but whatever.) Accompanying facts about the planet on the beer’s webpage is the Mars orchestral movement. (I’m not a big fan.)

-Tasting notes via the beer’s webpage:

The first release in Bell’s Planet Series, Mars (The Bringer of War) is a double IPA with a complex hop character and a malty backbone. Notes of tropical fruit, citrus, pine, lemon, lime and pineapple are all present in both the aroma and flavor. Hopped at a ratio of about 3.4 pounds of hops per barrel, the recipe for Mars was developed from a trial batch called Larry’s Latest Double IPA brewed in our original brewery located adjacent to the Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo.

-Speaking of Mars, Bobblehead lent me his copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s
Red Mars and I plan to start reading it soon. I have a Fear Street trilogy and a few singles to read before I get to it, though.

The Quiet Man’s grade: A+.

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