Nov 11, 2016

Highland Brewing Mandarina IPA

I received this can of Highland’s Mandarina IPA in a nice little package from the company last week along with their seasonal Thunderstruck Coffee Porter and flagship Gaelic Ale. This 5% ABV IPA is the latest addition to the company’s seasonal rotation and is brewed with “hundreds of pounds of whole pureed oranges” to go along with an interesting blend of hop varities — Mandarina Bavaria, Hull Melon, Cascade, Chinook and Bravo. The result is a beer that carries a that orange flavor and aroma from start to finish, but perhaps, isn’t quite as fruit-forward and luscious as some of its peers.

The orange influence is fairly subdued, though earthy (which I particularly enjoyed). The oranges mix in smoothly, though I wish they were a bit more bold in the presentation which, by the way, also feels a bit watery on the palate. There’s a good bit of pine and grapefruit to balance out the orange influence and a hint of lemony citrus to wrap it all up. At 35 IBU, the hop bite isn’t overwhelming but carries just the right amount of bite to keep things interesting.

I wanted to like Mandarina IPA more and, honestly, it’s not a bad beer by any means. I think I was expecting a beer with a stronger orange character, but will say I did enjoy the natural and earthy character the beer presents. I’d also prefer the beer a bit fuller on the palate. Other than that, the IPA goes does easy and still refreshes nicely.

This is a review of a promotional sample.