From the Beer Writer: Single-hop India pale ales (IPAs) allow brewers to spotlight the flavors and aromas of individual hop varietals, typically against a light-as-possible malt backdrop. Sipping one can be as educational as it is thirst-quenching. Single-hop beers are the best way to get to know your hops, however, many can come up short compared to multi-hop IPAs. It’s like trying to cook while ignoring all but one ingredient in the spice rack. You’re asking a lot of one type of hop. But when the hop has a lot to offer and the beer is engineered just right, single-hop IPAs can be every bit as good as a beer blending numerous shades of earthen green. Such is the case with South Park Tongues of Angels, a single-hop IPA featuring one of the world’s money hops: Simcoe. South Park Brewing extrudes every iota of sensational character from this complex fruit of the bine. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, wheatgrass, pepper and green herbaceous notes come on strong with little more than the lightest whisp of toasty breadiness to get in their way. The beer is a thing of beauty and proof that “simple” is not a synonym for “plain.”
From the Brewery: “Tongues of Angels is a highly-addictive house beer favorite brewed with some Simcoe followed by some Simcoe topped off by some Simcoe and sprinkled with a little more Simcoe for kicks! From first-wort to dry-hop, this IPA is 100% hopped with Simcoe and designed to showcase the beauty and versatility of this special varietal. Light biscuit flavor and aroma set the base and you will notice earthy, catty, citrusy, fruity notes intermingled with varying levels of pine, displaying all that Simcoe hops are and can be. The beer is soft on the mouth and gentle in the finish, which makes it brilliantly suited for the ‘tongues of angels.’ And after a few of these deceptively drinkable IPAs you may actually begin speaking in the tongues of angels. Prost!”—Scot Blair, Owner & Brewmaster, South Park Brewing Company
Business as usual—it’s more than the ubiquitous and fundamentally false battle cry of former craft breweries that have been acquired by Big Beer giants. In the case of current craft breweries like Green Flash Brewing Company (6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa), it’s actually true. This, despite having recently and gracefully accepted the resignation of its long-time brewmaster and subsequently promoting former lead brewer Erik Jensen to head of fermentation. The show will go on, and that includes the company’s alpha acid-driven Hop Odyssey series of beers.
Established in 2013 as a manner of exploring the flavors and aromas of cutting edge hop varietals, the 2015 series will come to the close with the impending release of Green Flash’s Segal Ranch Session IPA, featuring a blend of Cascade, Centennial and Tomahawk hops plucked from the Yakima, Washington hop farm of the same name. That beer will be available in six-packs, 22-ounce bottles and on draft nationwide.
The focus of the 2015 Hop Odyssey lineup was on session IPAs; India pale ales coming in at a lower alcohol-by-volume percentages for prolonged enjoyment. In a similar trend-conscious manner, the 2016 series will be all about single-hop beers, starting with the release of Pacific Gem Pale Ale in January. Styrian Golding Pale Ale will follow in May and Nugget Pale Ale in September. Each beer is named after the hops they will exclusively depend on for their unique sensory qualities, and incorporate classic UK pale malt Simpsons Golden Promise in the grain bill. The latter component advances on the successful use of that Golden Promise in Jensen’s recipe for a beer called Golden Naked Promise, which was brewed for the National Homebrewers Conference, which was held in San Diego this May.