Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sierra Nevada - Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale 2011

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 650 mL bottle, poured into a Becker pint glass

Sierra Nevada releases a Fresh Hop ale twice a year, one for each harvest of the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The Southern Hemisphere Harvest prominently features New Zealand's Fall hop harvest (during our spring). The result is an impressive beer that pours an orange glowing auburn body with a slight chill haze. The head is massive and frothy with a yellowed-tan coloration. The lasting power of the beer's foam is impressive and its lacing is eye-catching. The nose features heaps of fresh grassy hops and a hint of mildly dusty yeast that helps illustrate the balance between citrus and pine notes.

Aromatic hop oils have a huge influence over the flavor of the beer and fresh whole cone hops seem to be bursting with flavor. The hop character accentuates layers of pine, minor grapefruit, and an almost tart bitterness. Minor caramel malt flavors provide a nearly invisible base to the beer. The malts aren't weak by any measure, they're simply upstaged by this hop-forward showing. The finish is at once somewhat dry and refreshing. Lasting hop characteristics round out this 2011 showing.

Final Verdict: A

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