A few weeks ago at the Cheese Bar I got to try Terminal Gravity's single-hopped double IPA (Chinook). It seemed obvious from the parenthesized name that there must be other varieties out there, but it's a pretty stealthy project: I hadn't heard any publicity about it before noticing it that evening, and had no idea what other hops they had experimented with.
So hats off to Belmont Station for offering a horizontal tasting of three versions of TG single-hopped brews. Thursday night Lindsey and I dropped in for a quick flight. Here are my impressions:
- Chinook: most stereotypically "hoppy": resinous, orangey hops
- Columbus: mildest up front, but with a long aspirin finish (in a good way)
- Centennial: mildest overall, light citrus hop flavor
By the way, uber-geeky Danish brewer Mikkeller has done a single-hopped IPA series with at least 10 different hop varieties. Derek at Beer Around Town recently tasted a couple of them: one with East Kent Goldings, another with Tomahawk hops, which he says are the same as Columbus. Interestingly, Tomahawk had the same effect in the Mikkeller as Columbus did in the Terminal Gravity, with the malt dominating at first, but a "sharp dry bitterness in the finish". I'm glad Derek wrote about that, I had been pondering a similar experiment, but haven't tried any of the Mikkeller IPAs. Beernews.org has more information on the Mikkeller single-hop series.
If you see the Terminal Gravity single-hop brews on tap, they're definitely worth a try, especially the Chinook and Columbus flavors.