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Belt’s Beer Garden: Pump Up the Jambi

Jambi, a West Coast IPA from Mason Ale Works

Mason Ale Works has been brewing beers in San Diego County since 2015. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that they were able to open their own place in San Marcos, California - a suburb about 25 miles north of San Diego itself. Currently they ship to eight states, mostly out west.

I was able to find a can of their Jambi IPA, which, I will admit, I have had once before - more than four year ago. However, as both the recipe and my tastes have changed since then, I wanted to try it again and share it with you guys.

Jambi is one of four year-round beers from Mason Ale Works. It comes with a 7.2% ABV and was brewed with five hop varieties - Cascade, Centennial, Idaho 7, Mosaic, and Nugget - and five different malts. A six-pack of 12-ounce cans costs the typical $10.

It poured a golden copper color with some light haze and minimal head building up. The bright white foam never reached more than a finger in height and quickly fizzled down to a thin ring around the edge of the glass, with a few clouds floating in the middle.

The nose was a nice combination of hop flavors and featured a solid dose of grapefruit and lemon. Underneath the fruit some dank pine and grassy/floral notes were detectable as well. There was some sweetness to the smell but also a boozy/hoppy undertone to it - a very “old school” IPA that I couldn’t wait to get into.

Each sip starts with a softer, creamier mouthfeel and quick flash of hoppy bitterness. Crawling up from that initial hop bite is a citrus peel flavor that’s heavy on grapefruit rind. From there, a sweeter lemon flavor pops up and calms the hops some.

The grist waits a moment before appearing with some cereal-like sweetness and adding a light breadiness that aids in balancing out the hops for a few seconds. However, it didn’t last too long, and a pine characteristic appears midway through and pushes the malt aside.

On the back half, it’s still the hops that shine. A grassy resinous feeling appears which joins in with the grapefruit rind flavor to end the beer with a somewhat dry, somewhat bitter finish.

Jambi was a nice break from all the lactose-infused juice bombs that most breweries are constantly puting out. San Diego has always been known for their assertive and hoppy beers. Drinking this brings me back to the mid-2010s, when bitterness was the norm and places like Stone and Ballast Point were kings.

If you’re a hop-head, you can easily get your fix with Jambi. This is a solid IPA and (if you can consistently find it) it’d make a good go-to West Coast brew but it was nothing amazing.

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