Brewdog: Ace Of Simcoe (Scotland: Session IPA: 4.5% ABV)
Visual: Darkened gold. Clear. Moderate carbonation and moderate off white head.
Nose: Passion fruit. Resinous. Sharp grapefruit. Good hop character. Shortbread. Stewed apricot. Thick. Tangerine.
Body: Bitter. Passion fruit. Cardboard. Quite dry. Tangerine. Slightly gritty. Moderate hops. Light vanilla. Egg plants.
Finish: Passion fruit. Pineapple. Good hop character and bitterness. Tangerine. Egg plant.
Conclusion: What is it about session IPAs that make them so hard to do well? I mean apart from taking a high abv, high hop beer and taking away one of those two parts. I’ve run into less decent sessions IPAs than I can count on the fingers of one hand.
Then again, this session IPA is single hopped with the wonder hop of Simcoe, and brewed up by the experienced hands of the IPA world – Brewdog. It is therefore, only kind of ok. I mean they really do give it their all and the tart tropical notes are floating wonderfully in the aroma, in the body, and even the finish. They have pushed the fruit notes as hard as the possibly can.
So, what lets it down? Well, the malt base really, as is often the case, it just feels muggy. It is slightly dry, musty, and even… cardboard like. When the hops are riding high it doesn’t matter too much, but as soon as they settle down the base beer really feels lacking.
It just leaves bad, gritty, taste. In its defence it is more dull that actively offensive, and because of that the hops can make it a generally ok beer sometimes, but it doesn’t have the foundation it needs to be more than that. The worst part is the finish – the mugginess outlasts everything else and thus it becomes the bad kind of session beer, You have to take a sip to get back that decent flavour and eradicate the mugginess, rather than wanting to take another sip as you are enjoying the experience.
Ah well, so far only Beavertown have turned out a beer of this style that was excellent. I wonder what the heck they do so differently to manage it.
This tries hard, and the hop delivery is done very well indeed, but it doesn’t have the scaffolding to break the session IPA curse.
Background: Ok, Brewdog’s single hop range this year is a session IPA. As someone who generally isn’t a fan of session IPAs but is a fan of single hop runs, that is kind of disappointing, Before I forget, as always, I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. Also, Simcoe is a great hop, so hopefully that will make up for the whole session IPA thing. Seriously, why do session IPAs exist? Still, I keep trying them, hoping this one will be the beer that makes it. Drunk while listening to Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Awesome album. The photo for this one was somewhat of a weird exposure, but I kind of liked it, so picked it anyway