Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale 2012 and 2011

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is in Chico, California.  They are one of the granddaddy stalwarts of craft brewing.  

2012 - Still 6.7% ABV, the beer pours a glowing copper in color.  There is nearly an inch of thick and creamy foam, off-white in color.  The aroma is piney, tobacco, light tropical fruit, tea, very light orange.  The flavor is intense, yet subtle, a tingle of citrus and pine, lots of orange and some light tropical fruit, balanced on a solid base of slightty caramel sweet malt.  The finish is quite bitter, with a very dry aftertaste.  There is a slow and steady build up of pine resin aftertaste as the beer is consumed.  Comparing descriptions, this is quite different from the 2011, but it is also very good.  

2011 Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale - Tasted in August of 2011.  According to the bottle: "This harvest ale features fresh hops from New Zealand - where fall occurs during our spring.  These fresh whole cones are picked, dried, and shipped to the brewery within days of the harvest."  The beer is 6.7% ABV and pours a glowing dark copper-amber-orange in color with a half inch of off-white thick and billowy foam that leaves thick lacing down the glass.  The aroma is big, fresh hops, pine followed by cantaloupe and tropical fruit, balanced on a good malt base.  The taste is less hop forward than the aroma, fruity, spicy, bitter, dry, just a touch of pine, and quite a bit of very strong tea with lemon.  

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