Mash Gang have come on leaps and bounds since they first started shotgun blasting Instagram with bold, imaginative and downright exciting looking non-alcoholic brews. We’ve seen brewing accidents resulting in fruity suds plastering the brewers’ walls and ceilings, exploding frozen cans, and extreme pushing of the envelope with some of their recipe ideas – the latest I’ve seen being a ‘banana milkshake white stout’. I feel a line has to be drawn somewhere, but these guys would just pour beer all over it.
What started as a small project to occupy some friends at the start of the UK’s 2020 lockdown has now become a fully fledged business for the guys, and they’ve now left the confines of their hop-stinking kitchens to brew their beers ‘oop North’ with fellow experimental independents Northern Monk at their Leeds brewery. Spiritual Journey is the first brew to come out of the new relationship, and is an update of their ‘I Am Become Death’ recipe. I was a bit lukewarm about their NEIPA, but maybe that’s me showing my age and lack of knowledge of current brewing trends, but Spiritual Journey apparently uses twice the hops (it’s a DDH pale) and so should be something more up my street. They’re also heavily using the Idaho 7 hop variety, a relative newcomer to the scene which is used for flavouring purposes, imparting beers with mango, pine and grapefruit aromas. And of course the can design certainly lives up to Mash Gang standards, reminding me of the old cult cartoon ‘Bottles’. Time to open up one of these witches brews and go on a spiritual journey of my own…
The beer pours a cloudy straw colour and kicks up a hell of a head; big, fluffy and off-white. I had to reject my first pour and open up a second can to take a decent picture, and even then I nearly had to dunk a flake in the froth. It soon departs after we commence drinking though. On the nose we get whiffs of tropical lychee with citrus and grassy bitterness lounging around in the background.
The lychee continues into the taste, backed with some fruity peach and tropical mango. There’s only a very slight bitterness to the drink, which is grassy and slightly resinous. The beer is much lighter than I was expecting from the hop bill, with the body being pretty thin and carbonation being on the high end. This all results in a mouthfeel that is verging into soda water territory. The finish is long with slight bitterness.
Spiritual Journey does improve on ‘I Am Become Death’ in some ways, mainly the aroma and flavour departments, but for me it still suffers from a lack of body and being on the mild side taste-wise. And whilst Mash Gang’s trademark chilli is still listed in the ingredients my palate could not pick it up in the slightest. The crew is still doing what they do best – innovating and shaking up the nolo beer scene – but I think this style is just not my cup of hop tea.
Buy Mash Gang Spiritual Journey
I think I’ve mentioned before that Mash Gang’s beers are sometimes available on tap at BrewDog’s AF bars, but I’m not sure if that’s still the case. Get your cans either straight from the brewer or from one of the following suppliers:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)
|Additional nutritional information not given. Boo, hiss!
|Water, Rye, Wheat, Oats, Barley, Maltodextrin, Hops, Chilli, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Metabisulfite
|Country of Production
|Mash Gang – https://www.mashgang.beer/
Mash Gang Spiritual Journey Nolo Pale Ale Review
More fruit and bitterness than it’s forebear, but still on the thin side, and not really my preferred style of ale.