In this special beer blog, we are going to sample another special release from Sierra Nevada. It is their Wet Hop IPA. If you read my earlier beer blog posts on their beers, you know the history of this craft brewery. If you have not, please, read them to get to know Sierra Nevada. Let us get into this IPA.
It has a nice hue of copper and light bronze color with a white constant head. The smell has an earthly, rose, piney, and grapefruit notes. The taste has a carbonated grapefruit with a nice dry slight bitter aftertaste. It is a pretty drinkable beer.
Here is a description from the beer bottle:
The fourth in our 2014 harvest series, Northern Hemisphere Harvest spans a flavor spectrum from bold, earthy, green hop flavors to hints of citrus, fresh herbs and pine.
Here is a description from their website (www.sierranevada.com):
Available September 2014.
Northern Hemisphere was the first wet hop ale and it inspired the wet hop craze here in America. Wet—undried—hops go straight from the fields into our kettles within 24 hours. Because hops are incredibly perishable, using hops wet preserves all of the precious oils and resins for a unique drinking experience as evidenced by the intense herbal green flavors and citrus-like and floral aromas. Northern Hemisphere is part of our five-bottle Harvest series which features single hop, fresh hop, wet hop, and wild hop beers.
Wet Hop versus Fresh Hop
Over recent years, there has been some confusion about the difference between fresh and wet hops. While it may seem like semantics, to us it’s an important distinction.
Wet Hops are un-dried hops, picked and shipped from the growing fields within 24 hours.
Fresh Hops are the freshest dried hops to come from the fields, typically within seven days of harvest.
Over 90% of the world’s hop harvest happens between August 31 and October 31, and these hops are used throughout the calendar year. Can hops possibly be the same on November 1, one day after harvest, as they are on July 25, nearly one year after growing in the fields? The answer is no. We think of hops like dry kitchen spices—the flavor of thyme or rosemary right after the jar is opened is far more intense than it is six months later. The same can be said for hops. There are ways to control the way hops age and to reformulate and readjust as some of the aromas fade, but there’s nothing like the magic of the first bales of hops as fresh as can be. That is the stuff dreams are made of!
We work hard to get strong hop flavors into our beers and one of the ways we do that is through dry hopping. Dry hopping refers to the addition of whole-cone hops to the fermentation tanks. The addition of hops to cold beer allows the aromatic oils and resins to infuse the beer with flavor and aroma without adding any additional bitterness.
Hop farmers, breeders, brewers, and brokers are always looking for new and interesting hop varietals with compelling flavor characteristics and intriguing properties. Sierra Nevada has a unique relationship with hop growers, and often has access to limited and experimental varieties. Some of the varietals, while interesting, don’t add enough value and never make it into commercial production, while others—like the recent hop Citra—take the brewing world by storm. Every day new varietals are being tested and some have become signature flavors for Sierra Nevada.
Here is their website and twitter addresses:
Closing, I am always looking forward to the next single hop beers from Sierra Nevada. I enjoyed these brews very much. I have always just brought one bottle but starting this year editions. I will be picking up more than one. I just picked up one because they are one of the hardest beers to find in the Midwest. This beer was no different then the rest of their limited releases. Of course, the beer was different. I mean is it was awesome brew. They have all been awesome beers. They know how to build a nice malty backbone. They picked some nice hops throughout this hop series. I highly recommend this beer. Go get some! Drink it! Enjoy it! Metal it! \m/
Bill DJ Weiser