Unbottling – Modus Mandarina

Modus Mandarina Ska Brewing review

The Fourth of July weekend can certainly be a harrowing time if you’re concerned about your apartment complex burning to a crisp. Frankly, it’s an awful combination of alcohol-induced grilling and irresponsible fireworks, which can lead to firefighters scrambling to the complex to figure out which drunk asshole is endangering the entire community this time. Hey, don’t get me wrong. As a red-blooded American, I get just as excited by blowing things up and grilling hunks of meat as the next guy, but do it all away from your communal living situation. If your apartment burns down, and it’s attached to my apartment, my apartment burns down, capisce?Modus Mandarina Ska Brewing Beer Review

Madison and I were just about to put a frozen pizza into the oven when the fire alarms all across the complex started ringing like we were the targets in an air raid. As annoying as this might have been for us, you should have seen our cats. You know the expression, “herding cats”? Well, now imagine trying to coax your two horrified felines out from under the bed, and shoving them into their carrying crates, all while their desperate yowls mix with alarms to produce some sort of choir of ear-splitting cacophony. My boy Harrison managed to slice me across the top of my wrist, as if to say “How dare you attempt to save my life.” We managed to get the cats downstairs, away from the sirens, and after around 45 minutes of cat yowling, the firefighters gave us the clear to return to our pizza-making endeavors. The cats were fine, but man, I needed a beer. That’s when I remembered I had a can of Ska Brewing’s Modus Mandarina which I had been absolutely dying to try.

Modus Mandarina: The Basics

Modus Mandarina: The Details

You know, Ska Brewing has been around for much of the time that I’ve been drinking beer (legally) in Colorado. They’ve always been a brewery that I’ve enjoyed, primarily because of the beer, but also because of their solid theme. That’s right: yours truly used to be a bit of a rudeboy himself. Anyway, I’ve drank their Modus Hoperandi, the India Pale Ale that the Modus Mandarina is based off of. The only major differences, as far as I can tell, are the Modus Mandarina Ska Brewing Beer Reviewaddition of orange peels to the brew and dry-hopping with Mandarina Baveria hops. All in all, you’d expect a strong, thick, hoppy beer with a sharp citrus addition.

The beer pours a charming liquid amber, with an off-white, creamy head. This was a thick, soapy head, that laced quite nicely on the glass. Immediately out of the can, a very potent bitter orange scent wafted from my glass, and actually cut through the smell of baking frozen pizza in my oven. The flavor is orange, as expected, but with a thick, malty, almost caramelly flavor to it. This beer sticks to every surface of your mouth, and lingers with a tart yet bitter tangerine flavor that lasts well into the next sip. To me, this is how you dry-hop a beer. The addition of dry-hopped Mandarina Baveria hops boosts the orange citrus flavors in this beer significantly, while also imparting a spectacular subtle bitterness that stuck to the roof of my mouth. At 6.9% ABV, this is a relatively big IPA with a full body. I’ll just say, after a can of the stuff and two slices of pizza, my stomach was filled to capacity.


I can’t remember a time that I’ve drank an IPA that was filled with as much juicy, fruity flavor as the Modus Mandarina. The bitterness present in the beer, while apparent, did not make me curl my lips. It was almost as though the hop bitterness that this beer presented was completely secondary to the zesty, citrussy orange flavor. I’ll say this: you need to be a fan of the IPA style to enjoy this bad boy, but this isn’t like some IPAs that just nullify all of your taste buds with their intense bitter profiles. This paired excellently with my pizza, but I could see this accompanying a variety of barbecued meats really wonderfully. Personally, I love an IPA with a strong citrus flavor, so this one was right on the money for me. Give it a shot, especially if you’re a fan of the Hoperandi.


About Max Schosid

Max Schosid is the founder of Rocky Mountain Brew Review. A former history teacher turned professional writer and beer drinker, Max is always looking for the best of the best in craft beer. When he's not sipping on suds, you'll probably find him cooking, hiking around Boulder, or yelling at a TV playing his Colorado Rapids.

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