Style: American IPA
“The harvest season for hops is a painfully short window—that precious time when the hops are bursting with intense aromatics. Luckily for us, harvest comes twice a year: once in each hemisphere. Southern Hemisphere features fresh New Zealand hops that are picked, dried, and shipped to our brewery within seven days. The result is a complex beer that showcases the floral and herbal flavors and aromas of Southern Cross, Pacifica, and Motueka hops. Southern Hemisphere is part of our five-bottle Harvest series which features single hop, fresh hop, wet hop, and wild hop beers.”
When people think fall beers they usually think spiced pumpkin beers, Octoberfests and warming ales. Due to the popularity of these styles, some other delicious styles brewed during this time are often overlooked. Two of these styles are fresh hop and wet hop IPAs which are a little different, but both delicious. I will explain the differences between the two, but lets talk about hops first.
Hops are one of the four main ingredients in beer and are added because they are a natural preservative that favors the growth of brewer’s yeast over other microorganisms like bacteria. They are also added for flavor and aroma to balance the sweetness of the malt with bitterness. Hop plants themselves are large perennial climbing vines or a bine which produces the hop flowers used for beer. The growing season occurs over the summer which results in over 90% of the world’s hop harvest happening between August 31 and October 31, and these hops are used throughout the calendar year. Now as hops are stored they lose some of their flavor and the taste is altered as the oils dissipate.
The two styles I mentioned are use hops shortly after they are harvested. Wet hop IPAs are beers brewed with undried hops that are picked and shipped to the brewery within 24 hours. Fresh Hopped IPAs are dried hops that are the freshest dry hops that are usually used within 7 days of harvest. I plan to do a wet hopped beer review this week, but today I will be digging to Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Fresh Hop IPA, let’s crack the bottle and see how it tastes.
The beer pours a beautiful amber with about a half inch of white head. The nose is light with floral and pine scents from hops with caramel malt underneath. The beer is true to the nose with hops and caramel malts that are perfectly balanced allowing you to really taste the freshness of the hops. The hop flavor is a lighter than Sierra Nevada’s usual west coast IPAs which tend to be very hop forward, but the balance makes it a little more easy drinking. The beer is medium bodied and finishes very dry. The great aroma of the hops and the fresh hop flavor really make it a must beer. I recommend it as it is extremely easy and enjoyable to drink, I don’t know what more I can say, you just have to try it.