Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oh, Baby: Port Brewing Mongo India Pale Ale

It should not be a secret to anyone reading this blog (thanks, dad) that I'm a lover of IPAs and they're my favorite style of beer right now.   They changed my interest in beer and rescued me from drinking average, watery, malty, flabby ales and lagers.  They improved my palate for not only beer, but also wine, whiskey, vodka, and food in general.  I can't thank those beer loving imperialistic Brits enough for overdoing the hop profile of beers so they could have something tasty for their arrival in India. Thank you.  Okay, enough of my ode.  Let's get to the review.


As we speak, two things are on my mind.  One is the fact that this blog's co-founder, and my main man, Shaun, is a dad!  As of last Sunday.  He and his lovely wife are now the proud parents of a baby girl and their lives are ove - I mean, they are embarking on a new journey, engaging in the ultimate gift of raising a child, saving humanity one child at a time.  Anyway, to celebrate, I decided to pour myself a beer today. Well, this would have happened anyway, but linking it to the birth of little Emery enabled me to pop open this brew I've been shelving for a bit, Port Brewing's Mongo IPA.

You have read my reviews of Port in the past.  I love them for their crafting of quintessential San Diego style IPAs that are lean, hop focused, not overly malty, piney, citrusy, pale yellow, and brutally bitter.  Their lineup is fierce and terrific:  Wipe Out, High Tide, Hop-15, their excellent double, and even Shark Attack Red.  Well, I visited the brewery last Labor Day weekend at their original location, they have six now, at Solana Beach, CA, just north of San Diego (which I understand to have been founded by the Germans).  While there with a buddy, we quickly made friends with the bartenders who appreciated our gushing over their beers and our love for IPAs.  They responded by giving us a sample of an IPA that their young hotshot brewer at Seal Beach had come up with.  Given my condition at the time - I had been to Stone and Alesmith for tastings earlier that day, including a tour of Stone - I don't remember the name they gave the beer, but I loved it.  I'm pretty sure this is the one. 

Having bought this at a local liquor store, I decided to give it a go today.  As is typical of Port's brews, it comes in a large format bottle.   I poured it into a tall Carlsberg glass with a wide mouth to feature what I expected to be a classic San Diego style perfume of hops on the nose.  The bottle did not give much information about the beer - just some silly story about "Mongo", some fictional cat.  Whatever.  Thanks to the inconsequential description, I was surprised to find this beer unfiltered.  It had plenty of sediment floating around in it, like a Belgian.  The nose did not disappoint.  It is very grapefruit like, very fresh, and you can really smell the pungent hop oils.  

Mongo has a very clever flavor to it.  First, you get the characteristic hop bite, but a creamy grapefruit flavor kicks in and coats your palate.  The malts are more subtle but come into focus as you continue to drink it, particularly as it warms up a bit.   Thanks to the malt, there's a bit of peach, apricot and maybe starfruit in this one as well.  It is downright scrumptious.  Drink some water because it will dry your throat out in a hurry. 

And did I mention that it has a HUGE amount of carbonation on it.   The head is startling, just spectacular, and you'll finish the beer before it dissipates: the last thing in your glass will likely be a be a big cotton ball, formerly the beer's head, while lacing spackles your glass. 

This is an excellent beer that I plan on revisiting and want to have on tap, perhaps for the second time, assuming this is the one I had before.  This may not be the first time we've met, but it sure won't be the last. I've gotta remember that line and before you know it, I'll be holding a baby instead of a beer.   Did I just say that? 

4.7 of 5 stars

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