It’s time to celebrate the New Beer of the Year 2015. Officially, what we’re doing is the best new Danish beer, but that doesn’t matter since my two top beers of the year are both brewed in Denmark. They are in fact very closely related, and I love them for the same reason. They are: Amager Batch 1000, and Amager/Oppigårds Building Bridges. Amager Bryghus got a lot of love when the Danish beer bloggers named the Danish Brewery of the Year, and now it’s my turn to show my love.
I like my IPAs dry and hoppy, and Amager Bryghus have perfected their beers to match my tastebuds. When you look at the top IPAs at Ratebeer there are quite a few that I would call too sweet and not bitter enough, and although these beers are bursting with amazing hop aroma, I also want my throat tickled with bitterness when I drink an IPA.
Batch 1000 was released on the last day of February, along with the barrel aged imperial stout, Gone Porto (which could be a third beer of the year candidate from Amager), and I was there early. I wasn’t disappointed. Big aroma of hops, and a heavily bitter, bone dry flavour. They are using a mix of old-school American hops like Chinook and Centennial, new-school-ish Amarillo and Simcoe, and new hipster hops like Citra, Mosaic and Sorachi Ace.
I’m not a fan of Sorachi Ace, except in a few Belgian-style beers, and unfortunately I could actually taste its perfumed dill flavour here. But it’s well enough hidden behind all the other hops, and I can deal with that. The other modern hops add a juicy fruit punch flavour, while the more classic hops still leave a mark with pine needles and grapefruit. The bitterness in this beer is not for everybody, but if you don’t mind a bitter IPA, there is a lot of hop complexity to explore.
Building Bridges is a collaboration with Oppigårds Bryggeri from Sweden, brewed last winter. It’s a sweeter IPA, but it still has that throat scratching bitterness to make up for it. The hops are a little more classic, orange and lemon are the dominating characteristics, along with pineapple, peach and other fruit.
I have had the version brewed in Sweden at Omnipollo as well, and I’m sorry to say, but the Danish version is just a little bit better. It’s cleaner in its hop flavour, and the bitterness stands out a little more.
New Beer of the Year 2015 is a one-two punch for Amager, but if I had to pick one winner, Batch 1000 takes it for the delicious dryness and bitterness combination that really tickles the throat like no other beer I have had in a long time. I do like the hop combination in Building Bridges a little better, but aroma isn’t everything.