15 August 2010

Eight guys named Mikkel

Mikkeller's Single Hop series has been around for a couple of years now. I first encountered them at the 2008 European Beer Festival, but only tried the Simcoe one, which I didn't really enjoy. There are nine ten (thanks Bob!) in the series, all IPAs, all 6.9% ABV. Each has been completely hopped with a single variety. It's the sort of project that appeals to half-cut home brewers at big beer festivals. Perhaps we should count our lucky stars that only eight were available at the 2010 Great British Beer Festival: pink-labelled Warrior and blue Chinook are missing from the photo.

Inasmuch as my notes make any sense, Cascade was about the best: smooth and clean and nicely balanced between fruity fun and serious bitterness. Nelson Sauvin does a great job of showing that hop at its lightly grapeish best; likewise East Kent Goldings with all the lovely chocolate orange flavours and none of the metal you sometimes get. A return visit to Simcoe was much better than first time round (it didn't burn) though Centennial was surprisingly disappointing, being much blander than I'd have expected. Amarillo also didn't hit the mark hard enough: mandarins, yes, but not enough of them. I found Nugget to be a little harsh around the edges, with some yeasty flavours that detracted from the citric hops. But the wooden spoon goes to Tomahawk: sickly and cloying like undiluted orange cordial.

And now we know.