I had two reasons to fear I wouldn't like Mikkeller Simcoe Single Hop IPA:
Mikkeller Brewing is in Denmark and was started by two friends who brewed beer as a hobby. They quickly became the Danish Ben & Jerry of beer brewing. Their website describes this offering thusly:
The first in a new series of single hop IPA's from Mikkeller. Brewed with Simcoe, known for many great US micro-brews. An extremely fresh-hopped IPA.
It poured cloudy with a thick creamy head. Nice start. It smelled like grapefruit juice. Not overtones, not just strong and citrusy. Grapefruit Juice. Now I'm nervous.
When I held the empty bottle up to the light, I could see some residue in the bottom of the bottle. When I held the glass up to the light, I could tell some residue ended up in the glass. But not really residue. These are chunks. I mean there were some real lunkers flopping around in there. Some were so big I was tempted to start giving them nicknames.
This was a case where the Sam Adams etched bottom glass may have not been the best choice. As Global Killer and his little buddies angrily churned away, I noticed brown streaks on the foamy head. For this I paid $5.49? To have skid marks on my beer foam? Sikke noget pis!
Waiting for things to settle was not going to be an option, so I took a sip, being careful to avoid the skid marks. It was...nice. Another sip and it was better than nice, it was good! The grapefruit smell translates to a dominant citrus flavor on the tongue, along with a little pine. The bitterness was not as great as I feared. It is pleasant and only slightly increases as the beer warmed, as did the 6.9% ABV alcohol burn, but neither were overpowering.
The mystery to me is the malt and yeast character, which is very little, but the body and ABV are right in line for an IPA. There is a slight sweet/bready quality on the back end that does a nice job of taking the edge off the hop bitterness. But no carmel or roasty or grain or smokey. Nothing to get in the way of enjoying that fantastic Simcoe hops flavor.
This is a very good beer, but very pricey. I now have the proper motivation to clone it. I'll start with the SMaSH batch then start working my way toward it.