Todd the Axe Man
Tonight's review is Todd the Axe Man, the beer I was there to witness the birth of back in April. Named after and dedicated to the shredding skills of Surly Brewing's head brewer Todd Haug. I was really looking forward to trying this one. I had such a good time at Amager that day, and Todd and his wife Linda were such cool people, no way this beer couldn't be fantastic (also they are cat lovers, you can always taste that in a beer). Todd plays in several metal bands in the US, he of course plays guitar, hence the "axe" in the title of this beer. When you see Todd he looks like a viking warrior sent from the North lands to melt your face with his mighty axe. Judging by the label they were trying to capture this with the over the top fanged skull split in two with a mighty axe. It's very metal.
The beer itself is also supposed to be quite the mouth melter. A single malt American hop bombarded IPA using citra and mosaic. Mosaic is a hop I have little experience with so I am looking forward to seeing what it can do here. I know both these hops are poster children for American IPA, so there is no doubt this beer is going to taste and smell as American as apple pie (Metal apple pie). So time to see if this IPA is as rock and roll as the man himself. For those about to drink, we salute you.
The grain bill of this beer is made of only one malt, much like Tulsa Twister, except in this case the grain is Golden Promise. This Scottish base malt is not seen much over this way, and inside sources tell me it's Amager's first time using it. It is, however, a signature malt used in many of Surly's brews, so the perfect grain for a beer brewed to honor their head brewer. The Golden Promise single malt gives the beer a pale-ish yellow hue that is maybe moving towards slightly orange. Let's call this a mellow yellow type color (a little inside for fellow Americans). The head is pretty low key, but it hangs out for a long time. The bottle promises that it is loaded with American aroma hops. That is not an understatement. The nose is an absolute riot of citra and mosaic. Big ole grapefruit and a whole tropics full of other fruity notes. We are talking mango, passionfruit, other fruits usually associated with the tropics. It really is a great smelling IPA with all the American hop notes you could possibly wish for on the fruity end of the smell spectrum. The taste is equally as juicy as the smell, with a lot of the same flavors. Grapefruit and mango, always dominate with these two hops for me. There is a touch of piney minty-ness to the aftertaste of the fruit, that is mosaic showing it's simcoe roots. A long lasting, but slowly building bitterness from that herkules addition adds a nice contrast to the fruit and pine bomb taste. Nice semi dry light mouthfeel, the perfect IPA feel. I feel like I can say, and this is not because I was there when this was brewed, that Todd the Axeman is definitely my favorite of the new beers. Heck I will even go out on a limb and say it is my favorite new IPA of the year!
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