Beer Review: Old Nation Brewery M-43 N.E. IPA

Could this be a breakfast beer?

photo via ONB

photo via ONB

When I got my first whiff of Old Nation Brewery’s M-43 N.E. IPA, I had to check my watch, because I thought it might be breakfast time.

I kid, of course, but the Williamston, Mich., brewery’s M-43 hit my olfactory with an aroma of a combination of oranges and grapefruit juice, or in that neighborhood. I could literally smell the juiciness, which makes no sense at all now that I’ve typed it. I drink orange juice every morning of every day, and I swear by all that’s holy that this was nearly the same aroma.

Yes, New England IPAs tend to have those aromas, but this one seemed even more into the tropical zone. Quite frankly, it smelled delicious. Visually, it was a pretty classic representation of the style, with a hazy orange body and a medium white head.

Now, before I continue, I want to note that I checked out the brewery’s website and learned that M-43 is the first of a rollout of beers Old Nation is calling “New Orthodox” IPAs (see what they did there?). Interesting play there, but what you need to know is M-43 is simply a highly drinkable beer. As in, it’s the IPA that could lure most any IPA hater. Heck, I think even my mom might like this one.

It’s one of the softest beers I’ve ever consumed, with a flavor that bursts with mango and pineapple, and with a surprisingly minimal bitterness. Yes, New England IPAs are designed as such, but this one, again, seemed like it had a softer landing than most. You could tell a beer newbie it was simply a fruity beer and get away with it.

As I made my way through the 16-ounce can, pouring into a tulip glass, the hops did begin to bite just a tad at the back of my palate, but it was a loving bite. Hey, it registered a 65 IBU rating, so it’s there, and given this beer is hopped to the max – brewed with Citra, Calypso and Amarillo, but also dry-hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe – so, with that comes a little bitterness.

But very little. Mostly, this beer is about aromatics, juiciness and flavor. It’s simply a satisfying sipper for the waning days of summer. Purists can scoff at the New England IPA and call it a fad, and I admit it isn’t necessarily my favorite style either, but this one made me take notice.

I also want to offer a thumbs-up to the way the beer is packaged and presented, with a simple, vintage-inspired black-and-white design, with slogans like “Haze is good” and “Keep cold and drink fresh.” On the side of the can, there’s a visual tutorial about how to avoid getting some sediment from the bottom of the can. It’s truly consumer friendly and lots of fun, which is how beer should be approached.

If you can get your hands on a can of M-43, you won’t be sorry.