Brewdog: IPA Is Dead: Challenger (Scotland: IPA: 6.7% ABV)

Visual: Clear copper to bronze. Good solid bubbled head that’s a dirty wheat hue.

Nose: Slightly sour dough. Loose turned earth. Wheat crackers. Turmeric. Slightly tart like dry white wine.

Body: Very earthy. Peppercorn. Sour dough. Light malt influence intrudes. White grapes. Very dry. Occasional light caramel.

Finish: Dry earth and dry hop character. Very much turned earth and weeds. Herbs.   Another taster noted cheese, which was not my first thought but does seem appropriate.

Conclusion:  Goddamn I’m eating soil. Or something. English hops always seem to be a bit more earthy than the rest. Fuggles and Golding especially fit that profile, but this Challenger hop really is taking the piss with it.

This reminds me of a less dull version of Sticklegs Tendring. However here the sheer amount of hops means that while the slightly sour and very earthy flavour is not a favourite of mine, I cannot in fair heart call it dull.

It has a similarly dry character to Tendring, almost dry wine like, which does make me wonder if they use this hop in that beer.  Hmm, comparing to Tendring is never a good sign for a beer, and yeah , as you can guess this hop doesn’t really catch my imagination. A pity as last year’s IID UK hop – Bramling X– was a surprise hit with me.

The hop is probably a useful bittering hop to back up some others, but on it’s own it lacks legs. Not the greatest then.

Background: Ah IPA is Dead, Brewdogs entry into the single hop race.  Now as I have said before, I am not unbiased on Brewdog beers, also I love single hop beers as they let me find out exactly which element contributes what to a beer.   Last years four pack of IIDs were great and the prototype Simcoe release of this new recipe for the base beer was very impressive so I came in with high hopes.  On the down side the tweaked base beer means these can’t be compared directly to last years release as it has a slightly different profile. Drunk while listening to SpektrModule 8