Monday, March 28, 2011

Mongo The Marvelous

I had outlined a scathing post on how I was annoyed and fatigued with double IPAs.  The thought of facing yet another syrupy, over-hopped double IPA was too much.  DIPAs were not only wrecking my palate and leaving a sticky coat of hop resin in my mouth, but were starting to ruin the evening every time I had one.  Last summer's disastrous, barbeque squashing Shipyard XXXX put me over the edge.  I was set to renounce former DIPA favorites like Ballast Point's Dorado and Alesmith's Summer Yulesmith, along with Avery's Maharaja, Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum and others, and declare the era of the DIPA over.  Then I had Port Brewing's Mongo Double IPA and it upset the whole snarky post.  Mongo restored my faith in DIPAs and reminded me why I once liked the style so much.

One reason I tried Mongo was the requests I'd received from bloggers back East to ship them growlers of it.  With this amount of interest I figured it was worth going back to the DIPA well once more to give Mongo a chance.  I am glad I did (and seriously, I didn't need that much convincing to try Mongo).   Mongo poured cloudy with an Indian Summer Orange color and a tight, cream-colored foam.  Mongo is hoppy without ruining the taste buds and sweet without becoming cloying.  Its hops are aggressive, but not to the point of distraction, which can happen in a DIPA.  It has enough malt to match the hops, giving it strong balance.  Mongo falls into the piney side of the citrus / pine IPA flavor spectrum.   The bitterness lasts from the first sip and stays long into the finish, but it never becomes unpleasant.  Most important, it does not leave an annoying film in your mouth, which too me is a night-ender. 

Mongo's ABV is 8%, which is low for a DIPA, and may account for its lack of cloying and sticky characteristics.  I found this level of ABV appealing, as Mongo wasn't at all boozy.  It reminded my of Pliny the Elder or Stone's Ruination, other approachable DIPAs with similar ABVs that sacrifice nothing in flavor.  I was going to suggest that like the IPA pine/citrus divide, DIPAs have an ABV divide, where above a certain ABV, DIPAs become overhopped and too sweet and syrupy to enjoy.  But this is not as elegant a benchmark as I'd like to make it, because DIPAs can have a high ABV and remain crisp.  (Port Brewing's monster Nickle Bag falls in to this category.)

Mongo is an excellent DIPA.  But I am going to approach the style with caution.  I really don't like to drink a beer that I could just as easily pour on a bowl of breakfast cereal.

(I recommend the Hedonist Jive's review of Hoptimum, it encapsulates my thoughts on the beer.)


Dave said...

Must trade for this beer. Nice review!

Beer Rover said...


Thanks. It is trade worthy!

NCSDBeer said...

Have to say I love this beer. Tried it at Churchill's and bought a few bottles at the brewery.