Portland, Oregon is one of America’s best cities for beer...especially if you’re looking for amazing, super fresh beers.
And there’s no greater example of fresh beer than the one I tried today from Gigantic Brewing Company.
Today I have their Sodbusted IX: The Rise of Simcoe, a fresh hop IPA made with all Simcoe hops. The team at Gigantic went out to Sodbuster Farms to hand pick each and every hop used for this beer. How fresh are these hops? It was less than 45 minutes from field to brewery...that’s ridiculously fresh!
The Rise of Simcoe is packaged in 500 mL bottles (16.9 ounces) and cost $7 per bottle. The brew has a 6.2% ABV and was released on September 14th.
This fresh hop IPA poured a murky copper color with some amber hues peeking through towards the top and bottom of the glass. About a finger of fluffy, off white head built up atop the beer and slowly fizzled down into a small accumulation, lacing the glass with a nice webwork as it did so.
The aroma was quite complex. It was slightly dank and sticky with citrus and herbal/grassy notes leading the way. Lemongrass was most prevalent while grapefruit and papaya notes sat underneath. Also showing up were a pinch of pink bubblegum and some spice (pepper and mint mostly).
Each sip starts with a small rush of carbonation before the beer’s body starts to expand, almost immediately enveloping everything with a thicker, creamier mouthfeel. Despite that creamy feeling, the brew was actually on the lighter side and went down as easy as water.
Initially the flavors are a little muted and very, very subtle but, finally, after the third or fourth sip, they began to appear much more boldly and showcased the Simcoe hops well.
There was a blend of well-balanced flavors that began to appear during the course of the bottle. The Simcoe hops gave off a mixture of flavors - lemongrass, pithy grapefruit rind, and some peppery spice - while the grist offered mostly notes of biscuits and light caramel.
Towards the back half of the sip, there was a slight nip of bitterness that hit the back of my tongue but didn’t last long at all before it was washed away.
Rise of Simcoe finished rather cleanly as well. There was a small citrus peel flavor and some lingering dryness that lasted longer than everything else but, otherwise, it was a very quick and easy ending.
After just a few minutes, I looked down and my glass was empty. This beer was super light and sessionable, all while still allowing those hop flavors to shine without overpowering you with any bitterness. It was an absolutely fantastic fresh hop IPA.
Another Gigantic win.