Let’s start with Hermitage Brewing’s 07270 Single Hop IPA. The beers in the Hermitage single hop IPA series are great way to learn a lot about all the different hops and their flavor characteristics. But truth be told, after trying a lot of them, I’m left thinking “Hmmm….that’s interesting” instead of “I’ll have another”. While each beer in the series showcases each unique hop flavor profile, it also proves that brewers are wise to use blends of hops, rather than a single hop, to generate more complex and well rounded flavors. The beers in Hermitage Single Hop IPAs certainly taste good, but often seem to be lack a certain something, coming across as tasting unbalanced or incomplete, and ultimately seem like well executed brewing experimenst.
That’s absolutely not the case with Hermitage’s 07270 Single Hop IPA, as the 07270 hop really works well on its own here. The strong tropical mango flavors that really pop with an earthy, resiny finish. It’s every bit as good as Hermitage’s Citra IPA, the only single hop IPA that’s made it into their year round line-up.
And what’s 07270 hop anyway? It’s a recently bred hop variety from Hopsteiner, a hop supplier from the Pacific Northwest, which apparently hasn’t given it a more evocative, hop appropriate name like “Calypso” or “Galaxy” yet. A name like “07270” sounds like a piece of computer equipment but whatever they want to call it, I just hope Hermitage decides to brew this year ’round.
Speaking of single hop IPAs, there’s Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Single Hop IPA – Idaho 7. Apparently they grow more in Idaho besides potatoes, since as you might have guessed, the hop in this brew is from Idaho. It’s another hop that works pretty well all by itself. There is a noticeable progression of taste with each sip, as the initial bright grapefruit flavors give way to a fruity apricot character that eventually subsides to a resiny finish. Another great exploration into the seemingly endless hop flavor frontier, but I’m left with the nagging feeling if just seemed if a little extra depth from some other hop was brought into this beer, it would really sing.
And finally, there’s Gorden Biesrch Zwickel Pils, an unfiltered Pilsner made with not one but two hops, Hallertau and Tettnang. Man, did those two hops work well together. Beers like this are a reminder that amazing things can be accomplished by “just” using top ingredients coupled technically sound brewing techniques. This beer is just classic, with a robust clear malt with the slightest bit of sweetness driven with sharp, crisp grassy and slight spicy hops. Makes most other lager style beers seem mediocre and demonstrates a lot of great hop flavors can be achieved at just 30 ibu.