Mikkel Borg, a former math and psychics teacher, along with his childhood friend Kristian Keller, started Mikkeller in 2006. Before starting a brewery, the two spent several very successful years conducting beer making experiments in their kitchens perfecting their recipes.
The Mikkeller single hop is a clear extension of Borg and Keller's early kitchen experiments. With Borg's math and psychics background, it is not surprising that Mikkeller approaches brewing with a scientific approach. Each batch is uniformly brewed with pilsner, cara-crystal, and Munich malts (the control), with three equal additions of various hops (the independent variables). This formula allows us to appreciate each hop in isolation from other strong flavoring components. In the past, we have tried the Simcoe, Warrior, Cascade, Amarillo, and Tomahawk members of the series, and in this tasting, we're giving the Apollo, Sorachi Ace, and Summit a whirl.
Pouring a reddish copper, Apollo smells pleasantly of light grass and hay - think a dewy pine forest morning. With a full mouth-feel, the taste is quite similar to the aroma - very earthy with a creeping, green bitterness. We also detect a hint of caraway at the finish.
Sorachi Ace, as expected, is all lemon all the time. Hiding behind the lemon up front is a subtle, spicy aroma. The hop taste on the other hand is more aggressive. The lemon flavor here is almost chemical solvent, more sour-candy lemon rather than a natural citrus with hints of coconut and tropical fruit. It is sharp education on the restraint needed for one of our favorite hops (which is why we love this series so much).
6.9% ABVSummit pours the same reddish copper as the Apollo and continues with the earthy trend in aroma and flavor. Smelling lightly of tree bark and a damp forest, the taste follows the smell with a pleasant and round earthy flavor.