One of Horny Goat Brewing’s newer beers, Tango Delta attempts to increase the flavor of the citrusy hops used with the addition of fresh tangerine juice. Other breweries have taken similar approaches, the most popular being Ballast Point Brewing’s Grapefruit Sculpin, a beer which pulls of the addition of citrus extremely well. Adding fruit to beer can either really help the base beer or it can detract from what would otherwise be a great beer.
From my earlier Horny Goat posts you probably know that I had a rough introduction to Horny Goat back when they opened. I went to the Hideaway in their first week and was less than impressed with the beers on tap. Unfortunately, whenever I see a new release from Horny Goat I still remember those first couple beers that I had with a burger at the pub, and shudder a little. Since then however, Horny Goat has drastically increased their offerings and brought in a new brewmaster, Brian Sauer, a former homebrewer who is bringing a homebrewer’s creativity and zeal to Horny Goat. In his short time at the helm, Brian has pushed out a lot of creative new beers, of which Tango Delta is only one of the many examples.
In all honesty I was very skeptical about this beer and passed it over in my fridge quite a few times before opening it to take notes for this post. The aforementioned thought of Horny Goat beers as being less than impressive lingered in my mind and prevented me time and again from taking this can out of the fridge. However, every beer deserves a chance, so on with the review.
This citrus bomb starts off as a light bodied IPA brewed with craft hops and malts. It then goes all renegade on your palate, with the addition of fresh tangerine juice that adds a slight sweetness to complement the bold hop presence.
Brewmaster Brian Sauer adds:
Tango Delta is our breakfast beer. We build a simple base beer that fills in the background behind the hops on this one. Simcoe, Amarillo, and Columbus together provide a very tangerine-like flavor with a dank, musty pungency for all the hop lovers. We then add real tangerine juice at packaging to bump up the tangerine flavor for a breakfast kick.
Tango Delta pours a very clear golden amber with a moderately thick, creamy white head with an impressive rocky cap. The head holds very good retention (5+ min) before leaving a moderate amount of lacing behind in the glass. Slightly grainy pale malts and tons of citrusy hops come to the forefront in the aroma. Grapefruit, pineapple, and clementine hop notes blend flawlessly with fresh, juicy tangerine (like smelling fresh squeezed juice). Strong citrus lingers on the nose.
The flavor, like the aroma, is dominated by citrus. Ripe tangerines lead, with slightly grainy malts. Sweet minello orange, pineapple, and a hint of ruby red grapefruit all make an appearance on the hop front. Tango Delta has an assertive hop bitterness that perceptibly dries out the beer, which is definitely called for in a good IPA. Sweet tangerine notes linger on the back and into the finish, with orange rind in the aftertaste. With a medium body and a moderately high carbonation, Tango Delta has a slight effervescence that accentuates the hop bitterness and helps suppress any lingering sweetness from the tangerine juice.
I was suspicious that an IPA brewed with tangerine juice would be good, if you couldn’t tell from the intro. Heck, I even put off drinking the can of Tango Delta that I had for a week because I was unsure about it. I kept looking at the can in my fridge and turned to another beer; heck, one day I turned to a Grapefruit Sculpin, the beer that inspired this one. I’m glad that I opened my can of Tango Delta though, because it was a pretty awesome beer. The addition of tangerine juice sets it aside from many traditional IPAs, and I’m planning to pick up more of this.
Tango Delta is a great fruity IPA-ish beer with plenty hop bitterness, and a great juicy citrus kick. It probably won’t impress an IPA purist or a crazy hop head. You know the guy right, the one who throws around the phrase “lupulin shift” in every day conversation? Heck, I used to be a guy like that, and I still love massive hop bombs like Heady Topper, Pliny the Elder, Enjoy by IPA and Devil Dancer; but all beer isn’t a major hop bomb, and it’s great to see experimentation with the style. The craft beer industry is all about trying new things and Tango Delta certainly does that! This is a great beer that you should definitely pick up, and maybe do a blind tasting with a bottle of this and Grapefruit Sculpin. In fact, that sounds good, I think I'll try it!
That’s all for today, check back soon for another review!