What is a SMaSH IPA?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

A SMaSH IPA, or Single Malt and Single Hop IPA, is a beer style that focuses on showcasing the flavors and characteristics of one specific malt and one specific hop. It is a minimalist approach to brewing, allowing the ingredients to shine and be appreciated in a straightforward and uncomplicated way.

The “SMaSH” in the name refers to the fact that only one type of malt and one type of hop are used in the brewing process. This simplicity allows brewers to really explore and understand the unique qualities of each ingredient.

In the case of a SMaSH IPA, the malt used is typically a base malt, such as Harrington 2-Row. Base malts provide the foundation for the beer, contributing fermentable sugars and providing a neutral backdrop for other flavors to shine. Harrington 2-Row is a popular choice for its clean, grainy character that doesn’t overpower the hop flavors.

When it comes to hops, a single variety is chosen to showcase its unique aromas and flavors. In this particular example, Comet hops are used. Comet hops are known for their citrusy and grapefruit-like characteristics, which lend a bright and refreshing note to the beer.

The result of a SMaSH IPA is a beer that allows the drinker to really appreciate the individual flavors of the malt and hop. By removing other ingredients that may add complexity or mask certain flavors, the SMaSH style highlights the distinct qualities of each component.

SMaSH IPAs are often described as crisp and clean, with a focus on hop aromas and flavors. The simplicity of the recipe allows for a greater understanding of how different malts and hops can contribute to the overall character of a beer.

As a beer enthusiast, I have had the pleasure of trying several SMaSH IPAs and have always enjoyed the experience. It’s fascinating to taste how different malts and hops can completely transform a beer. The focus on a single hop variety allows for a deep exploration of its unique flavors, whether it be the floral notes of a Cascade hop or the tropical fruitiness of a Citra hop.

I appreciate the simplicity of SMaSH IPAs and how they highlight the individual ingredients. It’s a style that really allows you to appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity of the brewer, as they carefully select the perfect malt and hop combination to create a beer that is both balanced and flavorful.

A SMaSH IPA is a beer style that showcases the flavors of a single malt and a single hop. It’s a minimalist approach to brewing that allows the individual qualities of each ingredient to shine. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or simply someone who appreciates a good brew, a SMaSH IPA is definitely worth trying for its crispness, hop-forwardness, and the opportunity to explore the unique flavors of different malts and hops.