2/10/20: Golden Road Brewing's Mango Cart

4:03 PM

I've had today's beer before. My opinion on it's fluctuating. Sure, there are times when I think it's pretty good. But there're also times when it's hella bad. I'll get into it. One thing's for sure, though: I'm drinking it because it's cheap. A local bottleshop is selling 15-count cases of it for $7. Now, I'm not the kind of person who'd let a deal like that slip away.

Second winter's hit Greater Cincinnati and the cold's got me in a summer mood. Let's say that's why I'm getting to this review today (between you and me, I had something I wanted to hit before this ale, but I'm okay with bumping that back for a bit). For now, I'm cranking up the city pop and cracking into my can of Golden Road's Mango Cart.

Golden Road is, above all else, owned by AB-InBev. Even in light of this, I'll be the first to say that they still make some damn fine beers (I'll credit Wolf Pup with finally getting me into IPAs). Not all their beers are damn fine but, again, I'll get into it.

Based in LA, Golden Road's (here's the link to their "About Us" page) been in operation since 2011. The operation, headed by Meg Gill, exploded pretty immediately. Within a year, they'd upgraded their 15-barrel brewhouse to a 50-barrel one. In 2015, the buyout from AB went through and you can now find Golden Road beers all over the place.

Mango Cart, available year-round, is the first in Golden Road's fruit cart series. Clocking in a 4% ABV, the wheat ale's chock full of mango aroma and flavor. While it's official page doesn't list mango as an ingredient anywhere, I'd be surprised if fruit was absent from the recipe.

The ale's nose is interesting. Yeah, I get the mango. I also get that wheaty quality (kind of like wet hay) that you find in every wheat beer. I'm also finding a mustardy/pickley quality, which isn't doing the ale any favors. It's not a bad bouquet, but it's not what you'd probably expect. Really, while I think this is inoffensive enough, I can definitely see why Purrl only gave it three whiffs.

Earthy mango. That's basically the best way I can describe the flavor of the beer. I've had mango done well in beers and cider before (Blake's El Chavo springs immediately to mind). The combination of the wheat and the mango isn't really a winning one. This isn't a flavor profile you'll be writing home about. And having that pickle aroma filling your nose as you go to take a swig? Decidedly not for everyone.

While I'm not a huge fan of how the mango and wheat pair in the flavor, the mouthfeel works surprisingly well. The creaminess of the wheat really supplies the mango with an extra something that makes it almost like mango-flavored ice cream or sorbet. Golden Road did well with this bit. Maybe thinking of how well the mouthfeel would turn out was the spark that got the beer going? I guess we'll never know.

On summer evenings I like to sit out on my porch. I'll grab a cushion for one of the chairs, leash up Lottie, steal a good summry brew from the fridge, and post up to enjoy the heat and the warm weather sounds around me. Maybe somebody'll be mowing their lawn. Maybe the cicadas'll be singing. Maybe kids'll be playing in the cul-de-sac around the way, the laughter carrying over the trees. No matter what, even if I'm wiping sweat from my brow every two minutes, it's a good time because I get to zone out and take in the summertime world. Mango Cart's a beer I could do that with, easy.

Okay, I said I'd get into it, so here we go. I have a complicated relationship with this beer. Sometimes, it's pretty okay. Like, a 7/10 okay. Others, it's down to a 2/10. I have no idea why. I could start a can not liking it and finish thinking I could go for another. That scenario could be reversed. Regardless, I can't really recommend Golden Road's Mango Cart. Unless, of course, you can get it for as cheap as I've been able to get it. Splitting the difference between my array of feelings about the ale, I'm giving it a 5.0/10. Seriously, only get this if it's less than 50¢/can. Or if you think pickled mango sounds like good beer fare.

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