As someone who doesn’t homebrew, I thought ingesting all of Mikkeller’s single hop IPAs in one sitting would make for a nice crash course in beer education for the price of a night at the bar (and perhaps bail money.) For those unaware, the Danish brewer Mikkeller–I keep wrongly thinking I need to put an umlaut or one of those O’s with a diagonal line through it whenever I write their name–decided to release a series of IPAs built with the exact same recipe only altering the one single hop they use. Now most IPAs are created using various different hops for bittering, aroma, and taste and rare is it to try an IPA made with one simple hop.
A completest, of course I had to try all nine available at Rattle ‘n’ Hum during Mikkeller week, and I surprised the bartendress upon placing my order*. “You wanna order nine beers? All for yourself?!”
She actually CUT ME OFF.
Before I’d ordered a single beer.
Before I’d even had a sip of alcohol for the day, so preposterous was my order she thought.
Eventually I laid on the Goldfarb charm and got my nine bitter ducks lined up in a row. Now I didn’t expect most if any of these beers to be masterpieces, I was more looking to enjoy them side by side as experimental curios. But, quite frankly, they all were pretty good and I gave them all fairly respectable scores. It’s pointless for me to throw out your standard adjective descriptors for each of the nine, all between 6.9 and 7% ABV, so instead I’ll simply note that Nelson Sauvin was far and away the best of the lot, and no surprise I suppose being that Alpine Nelson, another IPA made solely with Nelson hops is maybe the best IPA in the world. Simcoe and Warrior I would also add as the other two beers that could be simply enjoyed as “great beers” and not just “pretty good beers for what they are.” I’d drink the three aforementioned any time, any place. Meanwhile, Cascade and Centennial were each clearly the worst, quite a surprise considering those are perhaps the two most “famous” hops varietals.
1. Nelson Sauvin (A-)
2. Simcoe (A-)
3. Warrior (A-)
4. Chinook (B+)
5. Tomahawk (B+)
6. Stateside (B+)
7. East Kent Golding (B)
8. Cascade (B-)
9. Centennial (B-)
*There are currently 10 available and Rattle ‘n’ Hum only lacked Nugget for some reason. Mikkeller is soon to release 5 more single hops, plus an even more intriguing yeasts series.