Name: Mash Brewing Co Challenger English IPA

Style: English IPA

Country: Australia

ABV: 5.8%

Beer description: First impressions: a great nose full of orange, apricot and other citrus; it’s a huge aroma and it’s great.  This is backed up with a little bit of caramel and vanilla.  There’s an earth quality about it that is really satisfying.  All in all, it was quite surprising for such an unassuming beer.  The caramel and vanilla is coming from the malt, and there’s just some great maltiness in there as well.

This bold and full attitude doesn’t follow through in the taste though.  It’s similar tastes, but they’re more subtle and less robust than before.  The maltiness steps back quite a bit and the orange really takes centre stage.  It’s a very “orangey” brew.

Being an IPA, behind all of this, of course, is a bitterness that sits in the back of the throat.  While this is an English IPA, which is typically more traditional and more mild in the hoppiness than more modern IPA’s, this beer it quite mild.  For a more seasoned beer drinker, one would say there’s very little bitterness.  This beer is a great example of the style away from having to be hopped to the extreme.  IPA is not necessarily about bitterness, and this can often be confused.  This beer is very traditional and it would almost be excusable to miss it as an IPA due to more modern interpretations of the style.  While something like the Young Henry’s Hop Ale was given some pretty good points for style, this one really wins.

Adding to this, the beer is fairly low in the carbonation, which is a very British way of doing things.  Unfortunately this beer was pulled straight out of the fridge and it went down a little too quickly, so a full appreciation in it’s slightly warmer state probably wasn’t given.

As a not overly bitter beer, this would really people who are interested in the essence of the IPA style, but can’t really handle a more bitter beer.  It’s an excellent example of the style without being bitter.

Check out other English IPA reviews.

See other Mash Brewing Co beers.