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Belt’s Beer Garden: North South, East, & West

Two brews that connect each corner of the country. Perrin/Cigar City’s North South and Lagunitas’ Mozango


This week I try to cover all four directions with just two brews - a collaboration from Perrin and Cigar City and a special release from Lagunitas.

Up first, the collab.

Cigar City out of Tampa, Florida just recently expanded to the Midwest market, adding Chicago and Michigan to their distribution list. And, since they’ve arrived up north, Perrin Brewing, from Comstock Park, Michigan (right outside of Grand Rapids), invited the brewers of Cigar City to come make a beer with them.

North South is that beer. It’s an IPA made with Denali, Enigma, Galaxy and Citra Cryo hops that “takes all the aroma and hop flavor of an NE-IPA with less haze to create a more stable full hop flavored beer.” A six-pack costs a bit more than most, coming in at $13, but each can has a very solid 7.1% ABV and around 60 IBU.

This collaboration poured a very cloudy dark straw, almost orange color with very little head building up. No more than a finger of fluffy white foam topped the brew and, very quickly, it faded away into a mere dusting across the top with a small accumulation around the edge of the glass.

North South had a very tropical aroma with some hoppy bitterness even coming through in the smell. Notes of mango, pineapple, passion fruit, grapefruit, and others flowed out of the beer while a sharp piney bite nipped at my nose as well. Some bready/caramel malts provided a dash of sweetness in the scent but this certainly seemed like it would be a hop-forward beer.

My first sip started with just a dash of carbonation as the heavier-bodied beer began to make its assault on my taste buds.

Up front a plethora of fruits knocked at my taste buds, with bitter grapefruit rind, tangerine, and passion fruit leading the charge. Underneath those were hints of lemon, papaya, and honeydew.

Midway through there was a slight shift in the brew from fruity to mildly earthy.

The hops now poked at my tongue with some harsh piney and floral notes that had hints of honey and a grassy resin flavor that seemed to coat my tongue. And, behind it all, was a bitter sting that seemed to resonate long after everything else.

After the abrupt change, the flavors in North South began to slowly fizzle out, leaving behind that long-lasting bitterness and a sticky citrus rind essence, neither of which seemed to want to end…it takes either another sip of beer or a swig of water to quell those ending flavors.

The 7.1% ABV is hidden well and the little head there was didn’t do anything to lace the glass as I drank it down.

They say that North South is a New England-style IPA…but I don’t really see it. It certainly drinks more like a West Coast IPA than anything, as the hops provide a bold bitter/citrusy taste and not the juicy flavors that come with an NE IPA.

But, as far as it goes, this is a pretty good IPA. Nothing outstanding here but a solid, hop-forward brew.

Next up, a brewery you can find just about anywhere in the US-of-A...Lagunitas.

Up first we had North South, so for the second brew let’s do an East-West connection. Lagunitas started in Petaluma, California – right by San Francisco – but expanded eastward to Chicago, where their owner is from (he’s also an NIU alum, so there’s that).

Today I have one of their limited release brews, Mozango.

Mozango (aka Fusion XXXI) is a double IPA brewed with Mosaic hops and mango juice (and some Simcoe hops too for good measure). It’s solid in 22-ounce bombers that go for the very reasonable price of just $5.99. Each bottle has a very high ABV, at 7.7%, but a very low IBU rating, at just 49. With this limited release only being available until the end of October, be sure to keep your eye out for it now.

This DIPA poured a surprisingly bright copper color with an amble amount of head building up. Just about three fingers of sticky, dense eggshell white head protected the liquid below. The foam slowly made its way down, lacing the glass incredibly well before I had even taken a sip.

But, holy crap, did this beer smell good. It was basically all mango in the aroma. The mango juice had hidden any trace of hops or malts and, instead, it seemed like I was simply smelling a mango that had been cut open.

If it tastes as good as it smells…I’ll be in love.

Mozango started with just a tiny bit of carbonation fizzling across my tongue (a surprise based on how much head there was) before the flavoring really took off.

Initially it tasted exactly how it smelled, like a mango puree…very sweet and fruity and all mango. But, slowly, the hops butted their way in and added more than just mango to the flavoring.

Creeping out of the mango were other hoppy flavors, like grapefruit and lemon zest, some light floral/grassy notes, and just a tiny dash of pine as well that really peaked in the middle of the sip.

There was a slight alcohol burn and bitter twinge that started at the back of my throat and crawled forward onto my tongue - the 7.7% hidden somewhat but not completely...however, the more I drank the more the booze seemed to disappear in the flavor…but I could sure still feel it in my cheeks and chest though.

As the flavors began to fade down, there was one last push of mango that brought a sticky-sweet taste before the sip ended. Mozango ended somewhat dry, with that resinous fruity-syrup feeling clinging on long after everything else had gone.

Sadly, the brew didn’t continue to taste like it smelled as I had hoped for. However, Mozango was still a good double IPA. There were some really good flavors, the bitterness was held in check (mostly), the alcohol content was high and mostly covered up, and the price was well worth it.

You’ve only got a month left to find this beer. If you’re a fan of mango and booze…check this one out.