I’m by no means a hop expert – I can tell when there are hops, and that hops are different from each other, but I’m a far cry from a cicerone. However, I love to see new varieties and new uses for them. Weyerbacher this time took advantage of the high alpha acids in Simcoe hops to make a really punchy IPA that highlights the different Simcoe hop flavors.
Upon pouring it is copper like a typical IPA, and laces well too after a few sips. Both good signs. The smell is very sharply hopped, an indication of what’s to come I would suspect.
You probably would have laughed if you saw my face after taking a sip of this. Wow is this one strong (and bitter) IPA! The Simcoe hops are different than, say, a 90 minute IPA. There’s very little sweetness here, very little alcohol taste, too, though its punch is felt a little later. I have to take tiny sips because a mouthful is almost too much flavor to handle.
My first thought as this hit my lips was that I could never get someone who “doesn’t like IPAs” to even come near this brew. This one has all of the characteristics of IPAs that people tend not to like – a sharpness, an acidic bitterness, a grassy taste, and some sourness. But to an IPA lover, these aren’t faults. This brew is showing the strongest and most assertive flavors of its category. This isn’t one I’d recommend to everyone, especially those sensitive to bitterness.
I’d love to try something else made with Simcoe to see if they’re all as forceful as this brew, but I do have to say that it was quite impressively strong compared to a lot of the IPAs that I’ve sampled lately. The guys at Weyerbacher do some really interesting stuff, and I have a few more that I’ll be getting to soon. I found a place in Wells, ME that sells the Pennsylvania based Weyerbacher stuff and I’m really excited, since I’ve only been able to find it on my infrequent trips to Upstate NY.
For more info on this brew in particular, check out this page from Weyerbacher.