My next US brew is the Double Simcoe IPA by Weyerbacher Brewery. I like single hop beers (see the Galaxy and Stella hop here), and this one is a DOUBLE single hop…so I should like it twice as much? It’s also beer number 97 off the epic list.
The bottle says:
The label looks like a mystical hop bomb; a black background behind wispy hop green flames. It’s nice, but I can’t help but feel that it’s been designed using a MS Powerpoint template. The label is all business with no cool anecdotes or stories, but their web address takes up the bottom of the label so that’s where I go. The story of this brew is the story of the Simcoe hop; bred for maximum hop flavour without the ‘harshness’ aka cohumulone, it means brewers can pack more in without melting the tastebuds of their customers. This beer uses nothing but Simcoe (and then I guess it doubles it) so I’m expecting big hop flavour minus the usual kick-in-the-back-of-the-head bitterness.
It poured almost like syrup; thick with hardly any carbonation. It was a murky brown/amber colour, and I wasn’t able to create a head at all! I’m not THAT shit at pouring beer, so I checked the ‘best before’ date on the bottle – turns out I should’ve opened this up about 1½ months ago…damn. I considered whether it was worthwhile continuing, since this beer could potentially not taste as great as it should. I quickly decided to drink it anyway, based on the fact that it smelt AMAZING – thick and tempting honey aromas with a tropical twist. The body is thick and there’s just a buzz of carbonation, enough to tickle the mouth. There’s a big caramel malt back bone, followed by an almost woody hop bitterness and a tropical flavour that I can’t quite put my finger on. The bitterness is firm but very approachable and tasty. It sticks to your mouth in the aftertaste, balanced by a lingering malt sweetness.
If anything the beer may have been a little too sweet in the first half; now that it’s warmer the hops are flexing their bitter muscles a bit more. This puts the sweetness in its place and the beer becomes very balanced because of it. The bitterness is never aggressive or unpleasant, but it gets painted onto your mouth and doesn’t leave; its presence felt from the start to finish of each mouthful. It also keeps the alcohol flavour under control; most beers with this percentage have at least some sign of the alcohol in the flavour, but it never pops up in this drink. This is great thing flavour wise, but it’s also very easy to forget you’re drinking a 9% beer.
I drank this beer after its best before date, so logic dictates that a fresh bottle of this brew would taste even better. This fact blows my mind a little, because I can’t see how this beer can get any better. It showcases the Simcoe hops nicely, and delivers on the promise of a beer packed full of hop flavours without an aggressive bitterness melting your tastebuds. I will mark this one down for a re-visit though, just in case it somehow does get a little better than this.