First up, apologies if this blog post looks completely bizarro to you. I spent a lot of time placing the photos just so, meanwhile creating an HTML nightmare and a post that probably looks like it was published by Picasso in any other browser.
All up there are about 19 beers in the Mikkeller single hop series, each showcasing – as you might have guessed – a different hop variety on its own. The recipe is exactly the same across each of the beers, which means that any differences any flavour, aroma and bitterness are all down to the ol’ humulus lupulus.
Don’t fret, I’m not going to write about all 19 beers because a) I didn’t have
them and b) how tedious would that be, but I will smoosh the four I did try into this one, easy-to-swallow post:
1. Chinook (USA)
Fantastic aroma with loads of grapefruit marmalade and burnt toffee. In the mouth my instant association was with a sherry – dry, alcoholic and perfumey, with a little sweet caramel malt that balanced a herbaceous bitter finish.
2. East Kent Goldings (England)
Citrus, caramel and flowers on the nose, smooth and well-rounded in the mouth. Not quite as sharp or exciting flavour-wise as yesterday’s Chinook, but I like that it’s less bitter. I could drink a lot of this.
3. Centennial (USA)
Flowery, herbal aroma – almost medicinal – as well as a little grapefruit sweet caramel. In the mouth it was quite malty and sweet, with more grapefruit and flowery notes, leading to a dry bitter finish. Interesting hop I reckon, and not just another version of cascade, which I was expecting.
4. Simcoe (USA)
This one had a lovely aroma – lots of citrus (orange and lemon), passionfruit, and something a bit exotic/perfumey. Lots of juicy ripe fruit in the mouth, well-balanced with a soft caramel malt underlay. The finish was piney, bitter and long.
It’s a bit hard to pick favorite as I didn’t drink them side by side, but I reckon the EKG is probably the one I’d most like to go back to. I loved those gentle, flowery English hops, and I like that the finish didn’t wring out my tongue to dry.
Does this prevalence for softness mean I’m getting old and boring? Will I be harping on about the label font being too small next? I am writing this in bed with a hot water and a cup of tea, so the answer is undoubtedly yes.