If aromas could kill...
A Review of Single Hop Imperial IPA: Simcoe by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 6/9/2011 by Chops
It's no secret that Imperial IPAs tend to be aggressive. Some will merely cause your face to pucker while others will send you into uncontrollable convulsions. This is the chosen path of the hop head. Big hops. Big bitter. Big flavor. Every beer is an adventure. No beer is predictable. My latest sampling is no different, so allow me introduce you to Flying Dog's Simcoe Single Hop Imperial IPA.

Hands down the most noticeable trait of this beer is the aroma. It assaulted my nose as soon as I got the cap off the bottle. It's absolutely relentless, which made me a bit nervous. I poured it into the glass and those big hoppy smells continued to fill the immediate area. To say this beer smells strong is quite an understatement. This beer smells massive, well above the 10% ABV. Fingers crossed that there isn't a bitter/strength imbalance.

The first sip definitely clarifies any confusion. As Flying Dog describes it, Simcoe Single Hop has a ''sharp hop bite,'' which is actually the perfect mouthfeel description: sharp. Not heavily front loaded, just sharp. It's like a ninja in a glass, very focally aggressive. Those simcoe hops drive right into your taste buds and never let up. The bitterness, while big and flavorful, lasts a very long time. So be warned, this beer dissipates very slowly, so expect some long lasting bitterness.

Simcoe Single Hop is one of the few IPAs out there with a pure hop flavor. In other words, you can taste the actual plant in the beer without being distracted by other factors. Simcoe hops are typically clean and piney tasting, sometimes with a hint of citrus. I do taste the pine and the flavor is definitely crisp, but for once the tart fruits are nowhere to be found. It's actually a really nice study in hop flavor. Very clean, very direct.

The coloration is pretty standard for an Imperial IPA, a delicious looking hazy bronze. As a side note, Imperial IPAs are probably my favorite visual beer. They always look so luscious and appetizing.

Overall, Simcoe Single Hop is a very nice Imperial IPA, but it definitely strays from the norm. Hop heads will adore this beer and I would highly recommend it to them. Most fans of heavier beers will also appreciate the experience. But whatever you do, don't let novices anywhere near this beer. It could very well split their tongue in two.

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Single Hop Imperial IPA: Simcoe by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
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