Scots and the Simcoe
A Review of IPA Is Dead - Simcoe by BrewDog
Posted on 12/17/2013 by Chops
                   
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As the craft beer movement continues to expand, so do its beer drinker palates. Beer fans have grown a lot more sophisticated over the last few decades and just identifying a beer as ''hoppy'' isn't enough anymore. Nowadays beer geeks can name the actual hop varieties used by simply studying a beer's aroma and taste. Ask passionate beer fans what their favorite hop varietal is and your bound to hear the name ''Simcoe'' come up. It's wildly popular among American craft brewers (think Dogfish Head 60/90 Minute IPAs) and is glowingly difficult to acquire. After all, Simcoe is a patented plant and is only grown by Washington State's Yakima Chief Ranch. So, coming across any Simcoe-focused beer is always a treat.

On a recent trip to Manchester, UK, I was able to spend some time at BrewDog's Manchester Pub. Their beer menu was chock full of delicious nectar which included an impressive tap selection. I just happened to arrive on the day when they tapped one of their single-hop ''IPA Is Dead'' series. And much to my delight, it was the Simcoe version. Yes, my beer loving compatriots, I sat down at BrewDog's Manchester Pub and was served an IPA Is Dead... Simcoe style. Oh glorious day! Let us see what the IPA masters themselves can do with this darling little plant.

In the glass, this beer had a semi-hazy golden honey coloration. It came with a frothy white head that had really good retention. On the nose, I was greeted by that big piney citrus of the Simcoe hop, followed by that signature earthy woody note. To quote Tag Team, ''whoomp, there it is''. Resting underneath was a basic caramel base and little else. This beer is meant to be a stage for the given hop, and that it most certainly is. Going into that first sip, I expected little more than an assault of Simcoe goodness.

Yup, that's exactly what I got. As expected, this beer is simple and easy to grasp. It has a crisp mouthfeel with good balance, a solid medium body, and a sharp hop bite. All those awesome Simcoe traits are large and in charge. Big pine, big citrus, big woody musk. The caramel base acts as little more than a solid foundation. The beer finishes a tad dry and exits with a needling bitter aftertaste.

Overall, the Simcoe version of BrewDog's single-hop ''IPA Is Dead'' series is a great study of the Simcoe hop variety. It's flavorful, intense, and unapologetic (like any BrewDog nectar). I can easily recommend this beer to seasoned drinkers, especially hop heads, for obvious reasons. I also caution novices for those same reasons. This beer is aggressive and packs a prickly punch. I would say if you're ever going to explore a single-hop series, make sure it's one from a brewery that knows their way around big bold IPAs. BrewDog certainly meets that criteria. Hell, they practically ARE the criteria. So drink up, enjoy, and let Simcoe dazzle those taste buds.

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IPA Is Dead - Simcoe by BrewDog
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