From the “fun beers that I have stashed away in the basement, waiting for a good occasion” files:
Name: Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale (2009 Harvest)
Origin: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, California
Style: American IPA
IBU: not available for 2009 (2010 is 66)
I drank this: poured from a bottle at home. Bottle purchased at a liquor store outside of Chicago last summer
I have been holding onto this beer for something like 16 months. I was really excited to pop it open and enjoy, and was not disappointed. And to Tony, Dad and Ben: you must know how much I like you, since I let you have some. My initial tendency was to hoard this all to myownself. But I didn’t. Consider yourselves loved.
This beer is a slightly cloudy medium amber/orange color with a light, thin head – it resembles many of the pumpkin ales I’ve been drinking lately. The scent is light, bright and citrusy, all orange blossom/neroli-hoppiness with a hint of sweet running through it. I want a perfume of this beer badly. (Dear BPAL, please get on that KTHX)
Taste-wise, we’ll start with the malts. They’re actually noticeable, which is nice. They’re medium-to-light and slightly caramelly-spicy, slightly sweet. They create a nice, slightly syrupy backdrop for the hops.
The hops are the star, obviously. However, the IBUs on this beer can’t be all that high – I’d guess in the 60-70 range (which is probably about right – the 2010 version came in at 66). To translate for non-beer-geeks, this means that the hops are the dominant flavor, but they’re not going to facepunch you with bitterness the way some of the higher-IBU beers would. In the tastebuds of my mouth*, this beer doesn’t taste bitter at all – it’s clean, bright, sunny, citrus-y and tinged with something lightly floral.
To be nonsensically poetic about it, this beer is like drinking sunny springtime.
To be beyond nerdy about it: I’d love to think that this is the beer the hobbits drink in the Lord of the Rings films. Obviously it wouldn’t be so in the books: in the books, the hobbits are probably drinking an Old Ale or something comparable. I like to think of them drinking Wychwood’s Hobgoblin.
Fun note: the hops for this beer came freshly picked from New Zealand, home of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs and Flight of the Conchords. Moral of the story: good things come from the land of the Kiwis. *thumbs up*
*keep in mind that my favorite liqueur is Campari, that I will choose dark chocolate over milk at all times, etc. What I’m saying is that I like bitter things.