Mango Shake IPA
Mango Shake - 7% ABV
Westbrook Brewing Co. (Charleston, SC)
Hazy Milkshake IPA with mango, lactose & vanilla
I picked up Mango Shake at our neighborhood Piggly Wiggly because I had seen tons of images of these Westbrook Shake IPAs floating around the internet. Plus, who doesn't like mango?
This beer pours an absolutely gorgeous, golden yellow - it seriously looks like the flesh of a mango. It is also super hazy - can't even make shapes through it hazy. A very beautiful beer. One thing that was surprising, though, was I didn't get much aroma off of this beer. There was a little bit from the hops, but other than that, it was almost scentless.
Also, before we dive into this beer, I figured we'd dive into the style. I looked up a lot of this info because we talk about this beer - in depth - on an upcoming episode of my podcast, No Rhyme or Refill, and figured I might as well share it here too.
Milkshake IPAs are a substyle of New England IPAs that kicked off sometime in 2015. They have, along with their siblings that I can't really tell them apart from (Smoothie IPAs), really blown up and gotten almost mainstream in the last two years.
The thing that makes these beers so creamy is they use a lot more fruit, lactose and unfermentable sugars. Since these don't break down, they give the beer a lot more body. The lactose also amps up that smooth, creamy quality.
Another thing I learned while I was researching this style of beer is The Reason that NEIPAs are so sweet and fruity, instead of bitter and piney, despite having All The Hops. And this is because of Dry Hopping.
Dry Hopping means hops were thrown in after the boil, so instead of releasing their oils and those turning into bitter compounds, the hops release different parts of their flavors. The fruitiness comes through, and the beers (tend to) be more aromatic.
Back to the beer
This beer didn't have the fruity, sweet aroma that I get on a lot of NEIPAs, but the flavor was exactly what I was expecting.
There's a really nice mango smoothness that comes through on the center of your tongue, and the hops in this beer give it a brief little bite. When I was drinking it out of a can (sorry, I was at the pool - no glass allowed), my mouth and brain interpreted this as a chili powder flavor. I was totally OK with that since Mango + Chili = Amazing. Plus, this spicy/bitter quality was coming through on the sides of my tongue, a lot like you might expect with your typical spicy foods.
This beer has Cascade and CTZ hops, which I think give it that nice subtle bitterness. CTZ can make beers super bitter, but the creaminess of this beer and the cooling element of mango really mellow that out. It's also dry-hopped with Citra and Mosaic hops, in my opinion the darlings of the NEIPA craze, and those give off some nice fruit flavors.
Plus, there's just literally a lot of mango in this beer. I didn't get floaters or particles when I poured any of these beers in a glass, but when I rinsed one out to put it up on the shelf, I got some nice yellow, mango-chunk like pieces in my sink. No wonder the mango flavor comes through so well.
Overall, I'd say this was an extremely enjoyable beer and I'd definitely buy another or pick up another one in the series. The only things it has going against it are Price ($18.99/4-pack) and the fact that I think in a lot of ways, NEIPAs have reached peak market saturation. I'm kind of ready to go back to the good ol' West Coast IPAs and Double IPAs that have a malty sweetness instead of cloying quality from sugars and hops.
Overall rating: 3.75/5
P.S. Are you curious about the book in my picture? We'll talk about it on an upcoming episode of No Rhyme or Refill - check it out on SoundCloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.