Reviewed: Mikkeller San Diego Windy Hill IPA
Product description: New England Style IPA with rotating hops.
Mikkeller San Diego – Mikkeller SD Windy Hill IPA – 16 oz. can poured into specialty glassware – 7.0% abv.
Mikkeller SD has been cranking out an insane number of original recipe hazy IPAs since early 2017, and that trend continues for this year. Windy Hill has become the most popular of their hazy IPAs – so much so that it is now one of their four core beers. In fact, this is the most popular beer period by Mikkeller SD, so it has become their de facto flagship beer as well.
As with the other Mikkeller SD can releases, this has a matte paper label wrapped around a blank can. It’s a familiar combination we’ve seen with the hazy IPAs from Monkish, Other Half, Tired Hands, and Evil Twin. I also really like the graphic design on these Mikkeller cans. Mikkeller has done an excellent job over the years creating a standout, consistent brand design thanks to artist Keith Shore. I really like the primitivism of his work, which reminds me of Picasso and the paper cutouts of Matisse.
Sampled from a 16 oz can that is about 6 weeks old (there’s a Julian date printed on the bottom of the can), Windy Hill is murky, glowing pineapple juice in color with tremendous white foam. The aroma is bright and dessert-like with pineapple soft serve, iced yellow pound cake, and vanilla ice cream. Pouring the can, it’s extremely turbid as expected in this style. But there are still yeast dregs settled at the bottom of the can that add even more cloudiness.
Flavor-wise, this continues to hit all the marks for NE-Style IPA with pineapple upside down cake and dialed back herbal bitterness reminiscent of Kaffir lime leaves. The mouthfeel is pillowy and soft with the malt proteins and un-flocculated yeast in solution not producing the gritty flavors I find in other hazy IPAs. It’s also far drier than many in this NE-Style IPA segment. Sweetness I’d say is at a 4 out of 10 (medium-bodied) while bitterness is at a 5 out of 10. With Windy Hill, the “IPA” moniker isn’t totally lost.
Overall, I think this beer is outstanding. It has a lot of finesse and nuance with no single character dominating. You get all the joy from a tropical hazy IPA while maintaining moderate dryness and firm background bitterness. This gives it better structure than other beers in this segment. There’s so much appeal here, I can see why it has gained popularity. I’d recommend this beer to anyone really, especially those new to the hazy IPA style.