Drink This Now: Belt & Suspenders from BuckleDown Brewing

The brewery opened its taproom in Lyons this week.

BuckleDown Brewing's Belt & Suspenders is one of the Lyons' breweries first offerings.

BuckleDown Brewing's Belt & Suspenders is one of the Lyons' breweries first offerings. Photo courtesy BuckleDown Brewing

In the ongoing pursuit of having every town, village, neighborhood and incorporation in the Chicagoland area be able to lay claim to a brewery, you can now mark southwest-suburban Lyons in the “done” category.

BuckleDown Brewing released the first beers brewed on its own 15bbl system at an event at the Beer Bistro on Monday. Attendees to May’s Beer Under Glass event might be familiar with two of BuckleBown’s initial offerings, since that was where Ike Orcutt and Sean Mahoney first poured their Fiddlesticks Belgian IPA and an American IPA called Belt & Suspenders. 

At that time, they were being brewed at Haymarket Brewery, and after spending the rest of 2013 in limited release at Haymarket, BuckleDown released the first beers brewed on its own equipment, including a Belgian single called Mirth and a dryhopped robust porter dubbed Shady Aftermath.

Orcutt is no stranger to IPAs—we talked to him about his role as creator of the recipe for the Hopothesis IPA at Guys Drinking Beer in August 2012—and since many people treat the IPA as a baseline by which to gauge a brewery’s efforts, we wanted to give his Belt & Suspenders a fresh taste. That, and the porter we were hoping to try at the Beer Bistro was already gone. 

Pouring a nice hazy gold-orange with a minimal head, Belt & Suspenders has a surprisingly creamy body that’s quite drinkable, especially at a somewhat-hefty 7% ABV. Aromas of melon follow through to the flavor, which also mixes in tastes of Orange Dreamsicle, lemon-lime soda and kiwi. After the initial flavors roll back, a healthy belt (get it?) of bitter, piney hops roll through, leaving you with a long bitter tail.

This IPA has plenty of heft; it’s a good choice for drinking through the coming winter and spring, though we'd probably defer to the Belgian IPA in warmer weather—it’s lighter, crisper, sharper and brighter. If you’ve had a Triomphe from Grand Rapids’ Brewery Vivant, you have an idea of what Fiddlesticks is going for.

Wirtz is rolling out Buckledown’s initial beers this week, and the Lyons taproom (8700 W 47th St, Lyons) is scheduled to open tomorrow at 3pm and will exclusively pour Buckledown beer. Debuting fresh beer from the production line and then opening the doors to a taproom in the same week certainly seems quick, but as Orcutt explained, “We’re trying to be aggressive with our timelines—this has been a long time coming.”

The aforementioned four “core” beers will be the brewery's initial concentration, but one-offs and specialty brews are already in the planning stages as well. Its brewing focus remains Orcutt’s preferred “hoppy American styles and Belgian-inspired beers…[but] we’ll see how it goes as our tastes change.” A canning line is still part of the plan but not until well into 2014, so find ‘em on draft where you can.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)