Simcoe is one of those hop varieties that’s distinctly American. It throws off a complex aromatic profile that focuses on pine needles, the peel of preserved lemons and the faintest herbal, woody hint of a freshly cut conifer branch. Underneath that it can even hint at ripe mango skin and the faintest aroma of banana passionfruit. It is one of the hop megastars.
With some fresh season hops in store, Kelly says it made sense for him to use these and let the variety shine in Simcode 7% American Strong Pilsener, released this Wednesday in a double launch at Fork & Brewer and Malthouse.
“I chose to go for a S.M.A.S.H. (Single Malt and Single Hop) approach and used New Zealand grown Pilsener malt as the base for the brew.
“I aimed for around 40-45 IBU to help balance any malt and alcohol sweetness and let my house yeast strain ferment long and cool to give as clean and crisp a flavor profile as possible,” says Kelly.
This brew also took a little inspiration from The Flower Arranger, Fork’s West Coast IPA.
“I love the clean, light malt bill that this beer has and the thought of emulating this in a Pilsener-style definitely interested me.
“Fantastic American-brewed Pilseners such as Victory Prima Pils and Firestone Walker Hoppy Pivo Pils also were inspirations. The intensity of their aromatics, the balance and incredible drinkability draws me to these beers again and again. For me, they epitomise the true session.”
A little bit of #Brewjesus beer geek research drew him to the American Pre-Prohibition Pilseners.
“These usually topped out around 6% alcohol, but were characterised by quite a clean malt base, and medium-high hop bitterness and flavour/aroma intensity. I’ve gone a little stronger on my take, so this is more of a ‘savour’ than ‘session’ experience.
“It’s funny really that after just returning from the US, the highlight of the trip was actually a Pilsener (the aforementioned Victory Prima Pils).
“It’s the Holy Grail of brewing for me, to make the finest Pilsener that I can. If I can come close to perfecting this beer style, I’ll be the happiest brewer ever.”
Simcode American Strong Pilsener Tasting Notes
Taste: Rich malt backbone with wisps of honey and wine biscuit. Smooth alcohol sweetness balanced by a clean, herbal hop bitterness. Pine wood and citrus.
Aroma: Burnished gold with a white head.
Look: Subtle tropical fruit, lemon zest and a faint hint of conifer branches.
Yeast: House Strain, Cool Fermented