Get to Know Your Hops: Simcoe

During my early years in New York City, when I was young, drunk and prone to staying up 'til sunrise, I often found myself at a Greek diner with a phonebook-long menu — well, a phonebook circa 1982.

At that ungodly hour of the morning, focusing my eyes was impossible. All my reptilian brain craved was greasy, meaty grub to insulate my stomach and sop up the excesses of the night. But flipping through the thick, picture-filled menu, I was struck with indecision: Pancakes? Eggs? A gyro? Fried calamari? Endless choices were endlessly overwhelming. “Gimme a burger,” I’d mumble, retreating into my comfort zone.

These days, many beer drinkers feel the same way at supermarkets and liquor stores. There are more, and better, suds than at any time in America’s drunken history. But which brew should you choose? Why does one IPA taste like pine, but the other recalls white wine? Luckily, Food Republic is here to help clear up the bitter confusion. In our “Get to Know” series, we’ll rundown some of the hops, grains and yeasts giving beers their appealingly offbeat, unique flavors and aromas.

Today’s lesson centers on the Simcoe hop. Released in 2000 by Washington State’s Select Botanicals Group, the proprietary hop variety (yup, hops can be trademarked) is used to impart both bitterness and aroma into beer. It’s identified by a piney, woodsy profile blended with a bit of citrus. Since Simcoe isn’t as pungently piney as Northern Brewer or Chinook hops (more on those later, don’t you worry), it’s often used to add a clean, singular profile to pale ales and India pale ales. Want to know which five to try? Check out the full article at Food Republic. Drink it up!