3 Nations’ Mango SMASH Tries To Out-Hop Your Average Single Malt IPA.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on 3 Nations’s Mango SMASH IPA.Fast Facts on 3 Nations Brewing Mango SMASH IPA.
Style: IPA.
ABV: 6.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 69.
Color: Gold.
Availability: Draft & cans.

If you find yourself in the Farmers Branch part of town and you’re also thirsty, maybe go check out 3 Nations Brewing. That is, if you can get in there on a tour day. 3 Nations doesn’t advertise a regularly-open tap room as of this writing, and the tours don’t happen every weekend as far as I can tell. So, OK, maybe hunt down a pint or a six pack at your craft store for now, cool? Mango SMASH IPA was released in February, and it’s a welcome addition to 3 Nations’ seemingly small-ish lineup. I don’t knock the brewery for a small lineup, though, because all of its beers are solid.

Background on IPA.
For a primer on the IPA style, check out our review of Oak Highlands Brewing’s Derelict IPA. The IPA style is a clean-fermenting ale that is meant to showcase hops, both in bittering form and also in aroma form. While the IPA style has somewhat of an east-coast-west-coast thing going on lately, there are a ton of very good IPAs all across the country. West coast IPAs are known more for their intense aroma additions and intense IBU. East coast IPAs tend to be more malty; the industry is still under the spell of the Vermont haze craze too. But let’s not go down that murky path.Appearance.
Mango SMASH IPA pours medium gold and brilliantly clear in to my tulip style glass. I’m having this beer at Lakewood Growler, a bar that is known for clean lines and clean glass. And the malt quality is evident in the cobweb-foam of lacing that clings on to my glass after the first few sips.

As with most IPAs, Mango SMASH IPA is all about hops. I get a biting but round wallop of hop aroma right from the go. I am having a tough time deciphering the varietal of hops that I pick out most. But what I do get is pine, citrus, and stone fruit all coming together in an aggressive and pleasurable symphony of aromas. It might make sense to take pause here and point out that 3 Nation’s usage of the term SMASH here is a departure. Normally, SMASH stands for single-malt-and-single-hop – the beer is brewed with only one type of base malt and one type of hop. Not so with Mango SMASH IPA. In the same way that Gillette and Schick attempt to out-blade each other in the fight for fresh-shaven skin, 3 Nations takes the single hop and adds five more to it. Mango SMASH IPA is a single-malt-and-SIX-hop IPA. There is some malt aroma, but the malt here is basic, clean, and it provides just enough sweet aroma to help balance out the bitter and aroma here. I suspect the single malt is two-row or a pale malt — something that can provide some semblance of flavor and at the same time get out of the way for the hop showcase.

Mango SMASH IPA is a hop-forward IPA. It provides a complex amount of both bitterness and floral notes. The hops get very close to taking this beer over, but get walked back by just enough malt flavor and sweetness to keep the beer in line. My palate tells me that this is an intensely hoppy and bitter beer. I was afraid that Mango SMASH IPA would seem unbalanced; sometimes IPAs with high IBUs like this one can taste very unbalanced. However, Mango SMASH IPA seems to keep the bitter vs. sweet needle in balance here, and it works.Mouthfeel.
This beer is a medium-bodied drinking experience. It tastes like a clean fermentation, and I don’t get much residual sugar; the drinking experience provides sweetness, but it’s just enough for balance with the hop intensity going on here.

Overall Impression.
With Mango SMASH IPA, I am again impressed with the beer coming out from 3 Nations Brewing. From the cans I saw for this beer, and as a canning run typically represents a more long-term commitment, it looks like 3 Nations is going to make this beer part of its regular lineup. I could be wrong on that, but I hope I’m not, because Mango SMASH IPA is absolutely a beer that I will buy again. If there’s anything I would change in this beer, I would dial back the bitterness just a touch. This beer borders on becoming too bitter for me as I work my way through this first pint. But if you’re a hophead, you probably enjoy and appreciate a beer that’s going to clobber you over the head with hop aroma and flavor. For me, though, it’s enjoyable but I’m not going to sit here and drink these all night.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give 3 Nations Mango SMASH IPA a 7.

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Friday, March 3: The Hardline Live Broadcast at Wild Acre Brewing Co.
• Saturday, March 4. BBQ Pitmaster Master Class with Hutchins Barbecue at Franconia Brewing Co.
• Sunday, March 5. Brews & Bugs and Guns & Hoses Charity Crawfish Boil at Lakewood Brewing.
• Sunday, March 5. Two-Year Anniversary at BrainDead Brewing.
• Saturday, March 11: Tater Tots and Beer Festival at Fair Park.
• Saturday, March 18. Bacon and Beer Classic at The Foundry.
• Friday, March 31-April 2: Big Texas Beer Fest at Fair Park.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s SMaSHY: 9.2
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Noble Rey Sex In A Canoe: 7.25.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Four Corners’ Celebración: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
TUPPS’ Day Off: 4.75.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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