Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Hop Harvest Continues - Sierra Nevada "Estate" Wet Hop

If most of you haven't noticed it's been a great month for beer. I've been piling through fresh hop special release after special release, Pumpkin beers are out and about everywhere, and Oktoberfest beers are all over. There are festivals going on left and right. I attended Elysian's pumpkinfest last weekend, Fremont Oktoberfest was a few weekends back. They just keep coming! The big malty beers are just around the corner but before we dive into the dark end we can embrace fall with a few more Fresh Hop and Harvest ales. Sierra Nevada has released their "Estate" Harvest Ale. A "Wet Hop" ale. Which, near as I can tell, is very much the same as Fresh Hop beer. Only thing I've noticed stylistically is "Wet Hop" beers tend to have stronger flavors than Fresh Hop. I don't know if that's just coincidental or not though. Sierra Nevada has grown all the ingredients for this beer on their premises in Chico California. I love the concept...

The Estate has an amber color and pours a thick voluminous head. It has a light piney nose with a little pear and peach in it.

The beer has a fairly light Amber style malt taste to it with a biscuity freshness that, no doubt, comes from growing the grains on premises. The hops are there and present a piney bitterness with a slight tart grapefruit hit at the end. The beer is nicely balanced and very drinkable. This is a bit stronger than say a Mirror Pond Fresh hop, but not as strong hop-wise as the Two Beers Fresh hop. Very enjoyable and a fun foray into the estate grown concept. I hope they continue to experiment and play with it. I wouldn't say this is my favorite example but hey, we are fortunate that we get to try these flights of fancy from these brewers. There's no real marketing or financial reasoning behind these fresh hop beers, just the love of making beer and "because they can." If you haven't noticed I haven't been rating these beers. I feel these are love letters from the brewers to their customers and don't think you should rate a gift. There aren't many examples of these around and we're blessed in the PACNW to have an abundance. Who am I to turn my nose up at them!

So just be thankful and Enjoy!

1 comment:

MJS said...

Sounds awesome. I've noted that Sierra might be the most underrated brewer in the country. They have a great touch with barleywines of fine complexity, but what they really are about is hops. They do them well. I'd love to try the wet hop estate harvest you describe. Their most elegant hoppy beer I've tried to date was their breathtaking Giddorah imperial IPA that they had on tap at Sheffield's. It's slightly creamer than Pliny or the Port lineup. I'd compare it to Moylan's Hopsickle or Lagunitas Hop Stoopid but a better nose. Bear Republic Apex is a good comparison.