Beer Review: Founders Mosaic Promise

photo by Kevin Gibson
photo by Kevin Gibson

Citrusy in the vein of Citra hops, and tagged by as “the first born child of Simcoe,” Mosaic is a multi-purpose hop used more and more for bittering, flavor and aroma.

And in a world in which most IPAs are blends of at least three hops applied in varying stages of the brewing process, it becomes interesting when a brewer decides to use a single hop variety to make a beer. Such a beer allows all the characteristics to shine through.

Founders Brewing chose the perfect hop to spotlight in its Mosaic Promise IPA, available through September.

The natural attributes include notes of mango, citrus, earthy pine, and tropical fruits, while providing a clean finish with a crisp bitter flavor. In fact, Mosaic Promise also is brewed with just one malt, Golden Promise, which comes from a Scottish barley and also has a clean flavor, so the pairing is nearly perfect.

Poured into a glass from a 12-ounce bottle, this IPA looks for all the world like a pilsner, straw yellow in color with just a hint of copper, plus a full, white head. The aroma is exactly what is, well, promised (sorry), with plenty of tropical fruit notes, some lemon and even a hint of sweetness, which probably comes from the malt.

The flavor delivers similarly, providing all the things hopheads love about IPAs, but with a medium body and an exceptionally clean, dry finish with just enough bitterness to satisfy (the beer checks in at 50 IBU, for those interested).

Meanwhile, at 5.5 percent alcohol by volume, it won’t blow your head off like so many bigger IPAs will. Let’s face it, some of the double IPAs on the market today nearly require a knife and fork to deal with, and once you get through your second one, it’s time for a couple of quarts of water. The flavors are amazing, but sometimes they can leave your mouth feeling like you’ve been chewing on acidic chalk.

But the restraint and simplicity in Mosaic Promise is what makes it shine – clean and drinkable like a pilsner or session IPA, but full-flavored enough so that it never disappoints the taste buds. In fact, I’d love to see more brewers doing single-hop IPAs and APAs. With the difficulty of getting hop contracts these days, many smaller brewers are opting to do IPA and APA series brews, changing the recipe based on what hops and grains are available at any given time. I love that trend, even if it may be born of oversaturation and the one-up mentality that has invaded brewing.

It may sound silly, but – and I’m speaking as someone who has never hoarded beer – this is one I’d like to buy plenty of and stock it away for longer term enjoyment. But to be honest, I suspect any Mosaic Promise I buy will never make it out of the summer months.