Single-hop beers are always a fun adventure. When well-executed, they expose the drinker to the full spectrum of flavors and aromas of a specific varietal, making it easier to pick out the key characteristics of the hop. It can make even the largest tap list less daunting when you know which specific hops you like most.
For Founders Brewing Co.’s Mosaic Promise (a fall seasonal), the hop under the microscope is, of course, Mosaic. One of the most popular hops of the haze craze, Mosaic often brings blueberry aromas with a tropical fruit flavor and nose, and sometimes more herbal and earthy notes. Founders takes the single-hop approach one step further with Mosaic Promise, pairing the hop with a single malt—Golden Promise—that brings a sweet and clean malt profile.
A goddess adorns the black can, with barley under one arm and a basket of hops in the other. Mosaic Promise pours a vibrant gold. A solid finger of fluffy white head quickly fades while leaving plenty of lacing on the glass. Mosaic Promise is more than slightly hazy, though it doesn’t feature the orange juice turbidity of some hazier beers.
Mosaic hops promise big aroma, and Mosaic Promise delivers with huge blueberry and mango notes, without any earthy or herbal aroma. This is a punch to the nose of berry and tropical fruit. Founders is an expert at coaxing its signature big flavor and aroma out of even low ABV beers—see All Day IPA—and at least on aroma, Mosaic Promise is no exception.
Mosaic Promise looks, smells and has the mouthfeel of a stellar single-hop beer.”
The flavor of Mosaic Promise is much deeper and less fruity than the aroma. While the blueberry, mango and other fruits are still present, they are more muted. The Mosaic hops impart some of grassy and earthy qualities, overtaking the fruitiness at times throughout each taste. An easy but persistent bitterness cleans up the flavor and dries out the beer. I’m left wishing Mosaic Promise boasted more of a pop of fruit flavor from its namesake hop. The beer also lacks complexity of flavor, though that's hard to achieve with only one hop and malt present.
Mosaic Promise looks, smells and has the mouthfeel of a stellar single-hop beer. Even still, the best single-hop offerings miss out on the possible nuances of utilizing hops in combination. Mosaic Promise suffers from that same flaw, lacking the best flavor punch of its key hop and the complexity of beers featuring multiple varieties. But despite its shortcomings, Mosaic Promise is still a welcome palate shifter from fall’s märzens and pumpkin beers.