I’d Tap That: Flavor, low ABV make Mango Even Keel a real accomplishment
Glassware: The addition of mango to Even Keel adds a strong aroma presence as well as flavor. Glassware that enhances this aroma is a must. The Spiegelau IPA glass is the perfect choice with its tapered opening. The Willi Becher pub glass is also a great choice with a tapered opening. If either of these is not an option, go for the can. Mango Even Keel is just as enjoyable when drinking straight from the can and can be enjoyed anywhere in this manner.
Description: Mango Even Keel pours a clear copper orange hue with a wispy white head that leaves little to no lacing on the glass. The aroma is exceptionally mango-forward showing its juicy qualities within. The backing notes in aroma are sweet caramel malts and flowery hops. The taste follows the nose with mango leading the way backed by slightly bitter floral hops and sweet caramel malts. The combination of flavors works wonders and impart a juice-like flavor on the palate with very little lingering bitterness.
The mango flavors are experienced throughout and linger long on the palate. The medium-light body and moderate carbonation give this beer a refreshing and airy quality. The strong flavor profile is very impressive when considering the light 3.8 percent ABV. Mango Even Keel makes a strong first impression and is a perfect variation on Ballast Point’s standard Even Keel IPA. This is a must-try beer for all fans of the session IPA style or those who enjoy fruit-like qualities in beer during the summer without an overpowering sweetness.
Food pairing: Lighter beers, especially those with an ABV lower than 4 percent, can be easily overpowered by many dishes. However, Mango Even Keel is surprisingly strong and able to withstand many meals, but is an excellent choice for lighter meals. A pairing with a citrus-topped salad and a light vinaigrette is perfect for this beer. The malts are light enough to dance across the palate and cleanse away the lettuce without removing any of the light, clean flavors. The mango is able to shine through, though, and will instantly grab onto whatever citrus-forward flavors are on the salad.
Barbecue sauce is a favorite condiment for many during the summer, and the mango flavor in the beer will melt into this sauce. Top barbecue sauce on your burger, chicken, ribs, or even as a dunking sauce for fries. The mango flavor in the beer will cut through even the most vinegar-forward style of sauce and add a sweet flavor depth. Mango Even Keel is also a good choice for Sunday brunches. It has enough sweetness to enjoy with crepes or French toast, but is balanced enough to be a pairing with an omelet. Despite the light body and ABV, Mango Even Keel is a great beer to pair with a wide selection of foods, something not accomplished by many session IPAs.
The Final Word: Ballast Point has long been a leader in the American IPA category. Their Sculpin IPA is still at the top of many IPA lists, which is a real accomplishment in the competitive IPA category. When the brewery first unveiled Even Keel IPA, it was a true achievement. The ability to brew a full flavored IPA with a strong flavor depth and a 3.8 percent ABV is no easy feat. Ballast Point decided to further improve on this recipe with a heavy dosing of fruit, mango to be specific. The addition creates a beer that has a an even, impactful aroma and flavor, while still maintaining its 3.8 percent ABV.
While some craft beer lovers still cannot agree on the merits of the “session IPA,” it is still a great choice for any get togethers where there will be long hours of fun and drinking involved. Mango Even Keel is a beer that has something for everyone and is an excellent choice for those looking to find a gateway IPA into the style. Also, a fun and tasty thing to do with this beer is to do a side by side comparison with regular Even Keel and pick out the base flavors of the beer. This comparison will not only enhance your palate abilities, but will really bring forward the delicious mango flavors. While this beer is available year round, it has a strong summer vibe and makes a great pairing with any final summer get togethers before the fall season arrives.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer: Mango Even Keel
Style: American IPA
ABV: 3.80 percent