Michigan's Founders Brewing Company consistently makes some of the best beers in the country. Founders doesn't stick to a particular style; stouts, scotch ales, and IPAs are all exceptional. It's an impressive range, and new releases are always worthy of seeking out.
"Mango Magnifico" hit shelves a couple of weeks ago. It's an eclectic offering for Founders, a high-gravity fruit beer brewed with mango and a touch of Michigan-grown habaneros. I'm something of a spice freak. My Florida grandmother grows hot peppers, dries them, chops them in a food processor, and sends them to me as homemade red pepper flakes. I'm not averse to heat.
The use of habaneros in "Mango Magnifico", on the other hand, is not for the faint of heart. I can smell the spice as I pour the beer into a tulip glass. Consider it an olfactory warning.
The beer's mild-mannered golden appearance does nothing to prepare you for the taste.
It pours like a golden ale. For my immediate thoughts after the first sip I go straight to my notes. I wrote:
"Oh wow. Sweet fruit then tang then spice then more sweet then a lingering burn on the back of the throat." There's peach in here, too, or maybe that's mango. The mouthfeel is thick and all encompassing. The beer is tougher to get down as it warms.
One of my more consistent Twitter followers said he loved this beer for the ability to taste sweet and spicy in the same sip. To me, the 10 percent ABV is too much here. With all that spice I'd like a drier finish. It could make for an interesting aperitif, but the ABV and sweetness requires this to be an after-dinner sipper, which doesn't quite work, either.