Most craft beers are made with a blend of hops — each one carefully chosen to add its particular flavor and aroma to the brew. But not this time. No, sir. As one of Danish brewer Mikkeller's Single Hop Series, this IPA was brewed start to finish using only amarillo hops. Don't know what those taste like? You will now.
Beer Details: Single-Hop Amarillo IPA from Mikkeller, Copenhagen, Denmark (American IPA, 6.8% ABV)
Appearance: Pour thick and syrupy into the glass. Hazy sunset-orange color that borders on brown. Dense lemon-colored cap of foam as thick as stiff-beaten egg whites.
Aroma: Bright citrus and sweet candy with a touch of...leather? It almost smells musty, but not in a bad way. More like the inside rind of an orange.
Taste: Orange orange orange. Orange zest at the tip of the tongue, sweet fresh-squeezed orange juice in the middle, and then bitter orange pith long into the finish. It feels spicy on the tongue, though it's hard to say if that's an actual flavor from the hops or just my tongue prickling from the IBUs. Either case, it tastes (and feels) distinctly peppery. The malts do their job of being sweetly malty and showcasing the hops. They act as a pleasant caramel backbone to this beer.
It's juicy and a bit syrupy, like juice concentrate that needs a bit more water. That orange flavor is characteristic of amarillo hops and it's really interesting (from a beer geek point of view!) to see them on their own here.
This is a fierce, in-your-face brew for sure. Though as a friend of mine pointed out when I tweeted this observation, so are all of Mikkeller's beers. If you're curious about hops, the beers in this single-hop series are definitely something to seek out.
Food Pairings: Try sipping this intense brew alongside a BLT — the fattiness in the bacon and the mayo help soften the astringent notes in the IPA. Plus in my humble opinion, BLTs and IPAs are a match made in heaven.
(Image: Emma Christensen)