Simcoe Pale: Blacksmith Knocks One Out of the Park

As a malt-head, I’m much more in tune with the wonderful variety of flavors a brewer can create from the infinite combinations of base malts and specialty grains.  From biscuit and grain to caramel, toffee, coffee and nutty flavors, the world of malt awaits. When it comes to hops, it took me a while to get past the notion that there is more to a hop-forward beer than just mind numbing bitterness.  Even with my start in homebrewing 15 years ago, I’d rarely brewed a beer that did more than subtly engaged the aroma and flavor side of hops.

After a round of golf three weeks ago, we stopped in at Blacksmith Brewing to see what might be new on tap.  Actually, that’s a bit of a lie. It doesn’t really matter whether there’s something new on tap, we’re going to stop there anyway. On tap was Simcoe Pale Ale an orangish colored brew with a white head that features the simcoe hop.  The balance in this beer between the piney hop flavor and a medium level of bitterness was extremely well done allowing the pine and a touch of citrus flavors to shine. It was an excellent beer and one of the many fine brews Blacksmith has produced.  Why am I just posting this now after the beer is likely all gone?  Truthfully, I forgot to publish the post until reviewing my notes, but still thought it deserved recognition.

Also on tap (and still on tap) was a return of Blacksmith’s Imperial Red Ale, a big, bold full-bodied, cloudy red ale with an off-white head. There’s an initial malt punch (7.4% abv) followed by a moderate amount of hops that transitions into a pleasant bitterness in the aftertaste.  Fortunately, the Rhino in Missoula finally has a couple of Blacksmith Brews on tap which currently includes the IRA and Amber.