This was a strange one. As another entry into Mikkeller’s single-hop IPA series, their all Tettnanger version was unique, if anything. Every time I write about these beers I note how I love the fact they allow me to learn more about each kind of hop and this was really no exception. Tettnanger has an 80 on Beer Advocate.
Tettnanger is a part of the Noble hop family, which I discussed in the great Sam Adams Noble Pils fiasco of 2012. It has a low percentage of alpha acid (less bitter than most hops) which makes it useful for all three hop characteristics of the brewing process – bittering, flavor and aroma. Because of that, it’s also ideal for a wide variety of beers, from Belgium and French ales to bocks and lagers. Here’s what BrewersLair had to say:
It has a mild, pleasant, floral and slightly spicy aroma and flavor. It is also grown in the U.S. where it its aroma and flavor are more coarse.
… and that second sentence is important. This beer was brewed in Belgium by a Danish “gypsy” brewery using ingredients from I don’t know where. If the hops were from the US, that would help to explain my impression of this beer which I could best describe broadly as a “dirty” IPA. Or, in other terms, maybe it’s just a regular old American pale ale?
Lemon aromas struck me first, but were hidden by what I thought were almost bread-like notes. This is strange, given that most IPAs go for hop overload and less for balance with the malt bill. I suppose you can say a hoppy beer is “earthy,” but in this case earthy means something musty or yeasty with this beer. I had to try hard to get some good smells from this beer – it really didn’t want to give them up.
On the tongue, the beer comes off very bitter at first, but that characteristic surprisingly disappears fast. There’s some citrus and spice hiding somewhere, but nothing stands out.
With no true IPA aspects, I’m inclined to label the smell of the beer almost an IPA, but the taste is decidedly not. There are certainly hops somewhere about this beer, but the hell if I can pull them out. Perhaps this is the beauty of the Tettnanger, something that offers a well-balanced profile that can be used across lots of beers.
Hit the jump for my “Rate That Beer” sheet.