Sunday, August 2, 2009

33. Sierra Nevada 2008 12th Release Harvest Wet Hop Ale

Located in Chico, CA, Sierra Nevada Brewery is one of the older and more successful craft breweries in the U. S., operating since 1980. Unfortunately for all of you (and myself, since I always love waxing nostalgic), I can think of no clever or interesting stories regarding my long sordid relationship with Sierra Nevada. I will say that for many a year, Sierra Nevada was the only interesting American thing to drink on the East Coast--that short stubby bottle was easy to spot and easier to drink. Thank goodness the rest of the country finally caught up with Sierra Nevada.

Sierra Nevada Harvest has a sweet malty nose with not a lot of hop aroma to it—there is a bit of a piney smell to it, but not a lot else. The caramel, toffee color and the thick off-white head accentuate each other nicely. Harvest starts with a caramel malt front and moves into a piney and citrusy hop flavor with some lower levels of bitterness before finishing with a roasty flavor and a touch of bitterness. It has a creamy, smooth mouthfeel with some crispness provided by the carbonation. Overall, a decent beer, but not as exciting as some of the other Sierra Nevada products.

From the Sierra Nevada website: “The cornerstone of our Harvest series is the beer that started the modern-day fresh hop ale phenomenon in America, our original Harvest Ale. Created in 1996, Harvest Ale features Cascade and Centennial hops from the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington. These hops are harvested and shipped as ‘wet’ un-dried hops—the same day they are picked—to our brewery in Chico where our brewers eagerly wait to get them into the brew kettle while their oils and resins are still at their peak.”

From the bottle (see picture to the left): “Our Harvest Ale was the first American beer ever brewed with 100% fresh-picked ‘wet’ hops. In just one day, we harvest hops in Yakima, WA, ship them that night to our brewery in Chico, CA and then rush then to the brew kettle as they are unloaded at dawn the next day. This extraordinary effort creates a beer with unmatched aromatics of pine and citrus with layers of spicy sweet notes that hop fanatics like us dream of all year. Enjoy!”

ABV: 6.7%
Malts: Two-Row Pale and Caramel
Bittering Hops: Centennial
Finishing Hops: Cascade & Centennial
IBU: 60-65
OG: 16.5º P
FG: 4.0º P


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