I get excited whenever I hear about a beer that’s been brewed with fresh hops – the idea of juicy green hops imparting their juicy fresh flavours to create a juicy ale…it’s juicy. The Sierra Nevada Brewery’s Harvest series are fresh hop ales brewed with wet (fresh green) hops, either from Washington (creating the ‘Northern Hemisphere’ version) or from our neighbours in New Zealand (creating the ‘Southern Hemisphere’ version). It was the Southern Hemisphere version that I stumbled upon on a recent trip to Sydney, allowing me to taste the fresh hop goodness that is beer number 105 of the epic list…Sierra Nevada Harvest: Southern Hemisphere.
The bottle says:
The label is pretty cool, making the bottle look like something you’d find amongst a heaping pile of pirate treasure. There’s an olde time tall ship (I’m sure it wasn’t the true mode of transportation used for this particular brew) on a background of an olde time map that shows the route from NZ to Chico. The map also shows Australia’s position in the world, which is just where this bottle ended up for me to enjoy.
The body is a lovely amber with a thick yellowish head. The aroma is perfume sweet, and this combines with the malt to give the initial flavour a sweet caramel taste. This gives way to a quick alcohol sting, then a long and imposing bitterness that sticks to the back of the mouth. It’s all a bit muted since it’s still too cold, but there’s enough going on here to let me know that I’m in for some fun.
That perfume aroma has now got some citrus kick to it, with a little spice and an alcohol buzz. The bitterness has reined right back allowing the malty body to take centre stage, with some more spices finishing things off. There’s also a notable alcohol presence, and it’s not a small bottle…
This beer poses a problem as far as marking it off my list is concerned. In the book it’s listed as ‘Sierra Nevada Harvest’, and the accompanying blurb mentions all three versions of this beer (the third is brewed only with ingredients from the breweries estate in Chico) without stating which one specifically is on the list. So I guess I’ll need to try all three before I can officially mark this one off the list. Oh well, I’m a third of the way there.
The ingredients of this beer travelled a loooong way to be brewed, and travelled slightly further to get into my beer glass; I’d say the trip was worth it though. Now I just need to find the two northern versions so I can officially tick this beer off the list.