Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
Several days ago, a friend asked me if I’d heard of Sloop Brewing Company because he had one of their efforts recently and enjoyed it. I told him I was familiar with Sloop but could only remember ever sipping on one of their beers in the past – and that it didn’t really leave a lasting impression one way or the other. So, when I was at the beer store earlier this week, the brewery was stuck in my head and since it’s never been reviewed for this weekly feature, I figured it was the perfect time to re-discover Sloop, so I grabbed a four-pack of Simcoe Bomb NEIPA.
Founded back in 2011 by Adam Watson and Justin Taylor, the upstate New York-based brewery has a tenacious focus for both the tradition and the craft of brewing. What began simply as selling beer at various local farmer’s markets around the Hudson Valley grew to a 25,000 square-foot facility with the capability, as of its 2018 opening, to brew 28,000 barrels per year. Sloop, whose name comes from the cargo and passenger boats that once moved up and down the Hudson River, seems to operate on a more limited style of releasing its efforts and has even won a bunch of awards, including a gold medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup for Confliction, its American-style Sour Ale.
Simcoe Bomb NEIPA is part of the brewery’s Bomb Series, which also includes Citra Bomb NEIPA and Galaxy Bomb DDHIPA – now on my radar, since Galaxy hops are far and away my favorite type of hop. Simcoe Bomb NEIPA is a 6.5 percent ABV New England hazy IPA, as the name suggests, that features a boatload – yes, that pun was intended – of Simcoe Hops, touting it as a flavorful juicebomb. According to Sloop’s website, the series is brewed only once or twice a month.
The label for Simcoe Bomb NEIPA looks like most of the brewery’s others, establishing brand awareness as it has a colorful theme for the majority of the beers it pumps out. It’s a green and brown color combination, with two birds flying across and a whole lot of pine trees lining a circle on the bottom of the can. It’s simple and I don’t mind it, though it could use a little more information about the beer, stating in a few words the alcohol content, that it’s hazy and flavorful and the kind of hops that are featured inside the can.
When I popped open the 16-ounce “pounder” can, I immediately gave it a quick sniff. The aroma wasn’t as strong as I anticipated with this beer being a juicebomb but, having said that, I got mostly the smell of the Simcoe hops, which was an extremely dank and piney smell. Sure, there was a little tropical fruit aroma in there too but it took a backseat to the awesomeness of the pine. It’s what I wanted this beer to smell like, I just wish it would have hit my nose a little harder. As for the pour, it was pretty majestic. Simcoe Bomb NEIPA poured a hazy, straw-like color with an abundance of off-white head – it was cloudy, it was foamy, it was perfect for any Instagram account.
Before I go on about the taste, I will say that I have a love-hate relationship with Simcoe hops. While this ingredient typically brings the aroma, I feel like a beer that relies heavily, or even solely, on this specific hop can be really hit or miss. Some are delicious and others flat-out suck. Simcoe Bomb NEIPA is delicious. It’s juicy, it’s abundantly dank – it’s really what I look for from a top-notch New England IPA as far as taste is concerned. I noticed a little sweetness to it too that was balanced by a citrusy flavor brought upon by the hops which was quickly phased out on the back-end thanks to a wonderfully piney, slightly bitter taste. It borders on medium-to-heavy bodied and, as was evident by the pour, it has a strong carbonation and lacing that started well but petered off a little as I got down closer to the bottom of the glass.
There was a major drinkability factor as well. I can drink this one a lot and even see myself going on a little bit of a kick and picking up back-to-back four packs.
It was even a pretty good buy, costing me just over $15. I’d easily pay a little more for this beer because it’s well done and really nails what it’s trying to be, which is clear by the name. When I hopped on BeerAdvocate, I noticed it had a site rating of 90 and an average rating of 4.14, based on 68 ratings. I’m just a little lower than that, giving this Sloop effort a well-rounded 8.0 out of 10. I would’ve liked a little more aroma, a little more lacing and a little more information on the can but I’m nitpicking because any beer I would turnaround and potentially buy another four-pack of is certainly doing something right. The drinkability is abundantly high and they nail the NEIPA juicebomb flavor – Sloop definitely nailed the hit or miss Simcoe hop. Now, I just need to keep my eyes peeled for my beer store to have that Double Dry-Hopped Galaxy juicebomb.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.