Mikkeller: Simcoe: Single Hop IPA (Denmark: IPA: 6.9% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot flesh. Good inch of frothed bubbled head with a light toffee hue that leaves lace.

Nose: Grapefruit. Gherkin. Hop tingle. Apricot. Cucumber.

Body: Gherkin. Slick texture that froths up easily on the tongue.  Malt and toffee sweetness. Moderate honey. Pineapple.

Finish: Good bitterness. Pineapple. Fluffy hop feel and quite drying. Toffee. Passion fruit.

Conclusion: That Simcoe hop. I’d seen it in many good beers, and most recently on its own in a keg only Brewdog beer. That beer was sodding excellent, and the hop has always impressed me so visiting it again in a different take seemed like the thing to do. Enter Mikkeller with their intense single hop series.  Their Nelson Sauvin single hop was fantastic so this seems like a perfect match.

Here the hop shows fresh pineapple and grapefruit characteristics against that unusual gherkin element which seems to be the unique selling point of the hop to my eyes.  The only other beer with similar elements I can think of is the Columbus hop Kernel IPA. This beer has a much more restrained take on that particular element than the Columbus hop beer, which gives more free range for this beers freshness and hop tingle.

Overall the hop still impresses, and this beer interpretation is a much more balanced effort that Brewdogs IPA is dead take. Mikkeller balances the hop much more with malt and toffee sweetness.  The more rounded beer does mean that the pure hop element doesn’t seem to get displayed to quite the same effect though. I would say that the Brewdog interpretation felt much more open so you could get a feel for what the hop itself was doing.  Here the malt influence is more present creating a heavier and more balanced beer.

It is a very nice beer, but I prefer the Brewdog version. That is not a slight against this beer, as it is a firm and well grounded beer of strong malt flavour and fruit freshness.  As always Mikkeller beer balances hop and malt for a very solid beer, easily appreciatable for its gherkin and toffee mix (odd as that may sound). It’s just the Brewdog version pips it at the post.

Background: Picked up from Corks of Cotham.  As you may have guessed from the conclusion I came across this after being very impressed by Brewdog’s simcoe single hop beer. Since that one wasn’t available in bottles this seemed a good way to get a bit more experience with the hop.  Mikkeller have done quite the range of these single hops, and from my experience with previous examples they seem to use a good base IPA to show off the hop.