Mikkeller Warrior Single Hop IPAApril 21st, 2009 beckel
Yesterday while at the tasting of Summit Brewing’s new Horizon Red Ale I found a number of gems on the shelves of The Four Firkins, including another Single Hop brew from Mikkeller this time around we get to enjoy some Warrior hops. Last July our very own Town Hall brewed up an intense IPA using only Warrior hops [review] and I am curious to see how they contrast. The last numbers on the plain white cap have been smeared off but I’m pretty sure it says 10/12/08. Warrior is a relatively newer bittering hop variety bred by Yakima Chief Ranches and is probably most famously used in Dogfish Head’s delicious IPAs. I poured this beer a bit heavy handily creating over four fingers of off white head, though I’m sure a carefully poured bottle would produce much less the beer is still quite carbonated as my later, gentler pours still created a good deal of further head which eventually faded leaving a decent amount of lacing around the glass. Color is a bright but hazy and opaque apricot with a little bit of sediment present allowing no light to penetrate the brew. Aroma is less intense than I expected it to be but it still contains an assertive citrus hoppiness as well as somewhat floral scents and a solid dose of bitterness. Initially this beer is quite bitter indeed, there is no question that the Warrior hops are doing their job. As I try to get beyond the initial bitterness of this beer there is no question that though it is brewed with one hop it transitions into many different flavors. After the bitterness I get an interesting citrus characteristic similar to orange but also with hints of something like apricot all of which are wrapped in a capsule of bitterness that stays with you until the finish never letting go. The body of this beer is nearing medium but reasonably drinkable if you don’t mind serious bitterness. The mouthfeel of this beer is very interesting as it seems a bit sharp initially but quickly smooths out very nicely, though finishing with another little bite. As I get accustomed to the massive bitterness present in this beer the sweet malt flavors that smooth out the mouthfeel of this beer become more and more apparent. Additionally the bitter and citrus notes come together to produce some almost tart flavors though you will probably only notice this after drinking at least half of the brew. What I find most interesting about this beer is how with the use of just one hardcore hop variety Mikkeller has managed to make a beer that rivals most “hop bombs” in overall hoppy bitterness. Though this beer is not nearly as easy to drink as their Simcoe Single Hop IPA [review] it is still quite tasty and I would be happy to drink many more. With a 6.9% ABV it is no small beer but something that one could still consume many of in a session. Simply put this is not the beer for anyone who is not into bitter hops, as that is exactly what Warrior is. Though it will likely be appreciated by those who enjoy experimenting with different hop flavors be warned it is no joke. Give it a shot and ride your bike.