The next in the lineup of best new British beers of 2015 has to have been one of the more unlikely combinations of ingredients and location produced this year. A mango IPA from Newcastle? Oh yes…
Mango IPA (6.3%)
Almasty Brew Co, Newcastle
Be-fruited India Pale Ale is something of a natural progression for brewers – certainly for those looking to augment the naturally-occurring fruit elements derived from hops. A fair amount of them feature citrus fruits – lemon, lime and orange all work well when hops such as Amarillo, Simcoe or Citra are on hand. But this like versus like addition went up a gear in 2015 thanks to a combination I had never previously thought of – the sweet tropical stone fruit of mango and a 6%+ IPA.
I managed to sample this beer a couple of times (which is a rarity these days) and both times it fair blew my socks off. I’ve no idea how much of the fruit Mark McGarry at Almasty added to the brew (the only description I’ve been able to find simply states ‘sh*t loads’), but I can certainly believe it. The number one sin of adding ingredients to beers is not being able to taste them. That was very much not an issue with the Mango IPA.
On talking to Mark about it, he was pretty amazed how it had gone down – its popularity necessitated a re-brew, and the beer went first pretty much every time he rolled it out alongside a few stablemates (and that was certainly true at IndyMan, where a five minute chat was constantly punctuated by people coming forward and asking for it). I think the reason it worked out so well was the balance – the sweet fruit rounded out by an enormous hop bitterness. A hugely accomplished beer – and the most ‘moreish’ release of 2015, by a country mile.
Mark had a truly fantastic year at Almasty, producing a range of fascinating beers such as an incredible Mocha Milk Stout and a great 6% cask IPA (Almasty MK4). His latest beer is a Winter Saison, so look out for that. Next up on the BeerCast, the final best new British beer of 2015 – but what will it be?