Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale 2012 (America)
‘From the fields and into the kettle in under 24 hours’
So goes the story for this ‘wet hopped ale’. The hops are are harvested in Yakina, WA and then shipped to the brewery in Chico, CA where they are added to the brew within 24 hours. The philosophy behind such a move is that hops, like grapes, are just as prone to oxidation, and thus must be used as quickly as possible if you want to retain freshness.
Given such relative fragility, hops are typically dried (or otherwise preserved) and added back in when necessary (‘dry hopped’). This, in contrast, is thus a ‘wet hopped’ bbeer.
Unlike many of the other Sierra Nevada ales, the hop characters seem more balanced in this Harvest Ale too, less forcefully sappy and astringent.
A light amber colour, this pours quite rich and full, the toasted grain character balanced with . Pours quite rich and full, surprisingly the hop bitterness doesn’t dominate this, unlike the other Sierra Nevada wet hop ales. Indeed the darker richness cancels that, the palate creamier and chocolatey and complex.
A lovely beer that avoids astringency I coupled this with a Willie’s Cacao Venezuelan Gold Las Trincheras 72. Some may question the desire to couple chocolate and beer but I don’t care. These are two of my favourite things…
‘Smooth, nutty notes’ says the box and I’m agreeing – it’s nutty, quite hazelnutty even, sort of like a better quality nutella. Lovely layers of flavour, bitter but then also rich, roasted nuts. Like a great wine, every square offers a new flavour. I dug it.
Five stars for the beer and five stars for the chocolate. More please