catch the wave.

(Subtitled: Or some other marketing bullshit.)

When I made my rounds on Friday, I picked up a bottle of Iron City’s newest burst of brewing genius — IC Light Mango. My beer folks had been waiting for this one since news of it came out a few weeks ago, and, yeah, I need to try one — one — just out of morbid curiosity.

And tonight was the night.

I had already had a solid western Pennsylvania kind of evening — brats from Parma in the Strip, with a glass of White Magick from Voodoo in Meadville — so something from Pittsburgh’s oldest brewery — sort of — was the perfect capper, right?


Here we go. The bag was appropriate, I thought, probably more than the Penn Brewery glass. Let’s take a closer look.

Hm. Looks like a funky Coors Light. But I’m committed here, so let’s see what it looks like in the glass.

After a hard pour, that head held on for a while, thereby exceeding my expectations. But even more important than the look? The smell. Holy mangoes, Batman — the powerful fruit on the nose promised something that would taste like fruit juice. Maybe not so good for a beer, but I was hopeful.

But that’s not what I got.

The nose promises a fruit bomb, but the flavor doesn’t match the nose; in fact, it doesn’t even come close. Going in, I didn’t expect to like this, but I was expecting a cloying, fruity mess, and what I got instead was actually just kind of dull: a hint of the promised mango flavor, and nothing that suggests that any hops or barley had anything to do with the production of the beer.

Here’s the odd part. I hate this kind of marketing crap, when a brewery blindly follows trends in hopes of scoring a winner. But while I wouldn’t recommend IC Light Mango, I didn’t hate it. It is bland, inoffensive and will probably sell by the truckload for the rest of the summer.

And that’s probably my biggest problem with IC Light Mango — there are a bunch of people who will buy this and think they’re being adventurous. And that’s a bummer, especially when there are so many really good fruit beers out there to try. The next time East End releases one of its berry-rye concoctions, get yourself to the brewery in a hurry; they go quick, because they’re that good.

If you want to try IC Light Mango because you’re curious? Fine — go have a taste and see what you think. But please think twice about rushing to buy a case, just because it’s the newest thing from Iron City — you’d be much better off spending your money supporting brewers that put some thought and care into their beer, rather than those that chase marketing numbers instead.

4 Replies to “catch the wave.”

  1. Looks better in the glass than in the bottle. To quote dearly departed Myron Cope, “Yoi and double Yoi!”. Look, I drank more than my share of IC Light in the 3 yrs I lived in the Burgh, but what an awful idea. Sadly, Pounder is directly on point here. It will sell like pierogies at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern.


  2. UC, you are a brave man. IC light mango?!? If I saw that in the beer cooler, I’d be looking for hidden cameras, and be fully expecting to get punk’d if I reached in and touched it. Gotta admit, I’m not a big fan of fruit beers or beers requiring the addition of fruit. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Corona. I like the German purity laws (malt, hops, yeast and water). There are over 25 styles with limitless variations that comply with the purity laws. That’s a lifetime of drinking with nary a mango in sight.


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