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

Visual: Golden amber, slightly hazy. Tight small bubbled off white head.

Nose: Kumquat. Passion fruit. Potpourri. Lime like hops. Moderate bitterness. Slightly greenery.

Body: Good bitterness. Egg plant and greenery. Hop tingle. Light toffee and malt. Gherkins. Potatoes. Dried sugary orange. Vanilla toffee.

Finish: Bitter and hoppy. Purple peppers. Dry hoppiness. Fudge. Malt chocolate.

Conclusion: I don’t now if it is just me, but along with massive bitterness the Simcoe hop seems to bring a lot of odd greenery and vegetable characteristics. Generally ones from thick skinned vegetables with dry flavours and aromas.  It’s an element that doesn’t sound like it should be nice but ends up giving a very robust character behind the bitterness. Oh and what bitterness it is by the way.

The beer has a lovely smoothness to the bitterness, lots of force but nothing rough.  Very understated sweetness here, toffee and malt, present but less so than in most of the IID series. The exception to this is the finish which is where a fudge and chocolate element flourish.  If you let the beer warm then the sweetness does become more evident. Around the same time the vegetable characteristics fade slightly giving a much different character to the beer.

For a long time this was my favourite of the IID series and I’m glad to get another chance to try it, now in bottle format. The hops pound and the unusual characteristics combined with the dried sugary fruitiness and slow reveal toffee sweetness makes it a beer to savour.

One of my favourite uses of the simcoe hop, it is more restrained than a lot of IPAs and IIPAs that use the hop, with a lighter malt base and I think it works better that way.  A lot of Simcoe (I)IPAs are awesome but lose a lot of the subtlety and grace by going all out for kick, this keeps itself slightly restrained and feels much better for it. A simply great hop and a great showcase of what it can do.

Background: The missing IPA Is Dead!  Brewdog originally did this to prototype the different recipe used for the second batch of these single hop IPAs.  I had tried that in Brewdog Camden but never got a chance to review it then.  On entering the newly opened Brewdog Bristol they had a small amount of it bottled, with simple white and black labels.  Apparently what was left over from the original prototype batch. So I very happily grabbed a bottle to enjoy at home. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.

Note: That despite being called Brewdog: Simcoe, from talking with the bar staff I believe this is the IPA Is Dead beer hence referring to it as that in the text. It shares the same abv and tastes the same, and the bar staff told me it is the last remnants of the prototype batch, and that is good enough for me.