The beer geekiest among us (and the homebrewers) may be familiar with the beer connotation of the acronym SMASH, when I describe Founders Mosaic Promise as “a SMASH beer.” It’s not too complicated—the letters simply stand for “Single Malt And Single Hop.” SMASH beers, by definition, are brews meant to be showcases for malt and/or hop styles by combining only one style of base malt with only a single hop variety. You could say they represent one of the clearest ways to get a handle on what a particular malt or hop really tastes like.
Mosaic Promise is cleverly named after its two primary components, which are the en vogue Mosaic hop varietal and a less common base malt, Scottish-grown Golden Promise. It was brewed at Founders this September to benefit ArtPrize, “the world’s largest art competition,” which apparently takes place annually in Grand Rapids. Who knew?
The beer pours the color of a burnished bronze coin, topped with a puffy white head, brilliantly clear. The aroma hits you from a foot away—intensely tropical and stunningly complex to be coming from a single hop variety. There’s ubiquitous grapefruit there, and also mango, and melons like honeydew or cantaloupe. It smells like a tropical breakfast.
The flavor is likewise fruit-heavy, although light, biscuity malt does manage to squeak through from time to time. In terms of balance though, this is a delicious hop bomb, ripe with juicy fruit flavors of sweetened pineapple juice and other tropical fruits. Bitterness is medium, appreciably present, and the body is light, which makes for easy drinking. It feels like something you would roll out of your hammock and grab to ward off a tropical hangover.
This is fabulous beer. In some respects, one might say that it makes for an even better session IPA than Founders own All Day IPA, bringing a more dynamic and exciting hop profile into play. Either way, it’s a stunning statement of just how complex a SMASH beer can be, and heavenly for lovers of session brews and tropical American hops. If Founders ever decided to make this into a year-round brew, they could give Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust a serious contender as the most sought-after tropical hop bomb in the Midwest.
Brewery: Founders Brewing
City: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Style:Single hop session