I remember Sierra Nevada as my first IPA. This is back when India Pale Ales and that green/weedy/lemony thing were a novelty to most Americans. Now, I dare say, there’s a hops explosion in the world of non-supermarket beer.
It only makes sense that Sierra Nevada also introduces me to “wet hops” beers. Usually, IPAs are brewed with dried flower clusters of Humulus Lupulus. (Yeah, I googled it.) You know, those things on the beer label that look like pine cones. Sierra Nevada swears this Northern Hemisphere Harvest is made with hops that are in the brewery within 24 hours of picking. In other words, this is a once-a-year beer.
On the pour, you get a dark-tan ale with a hint of red and a sturdy off-white head. (When I first poured, I swear I saw a hint of green, but that must be wishful thinking.) The aroma is hoppy, as you’d expect, with a powerful citrus note.
What I taste is an exceptionally-grassy IPA – almost, but not quite, bitter to the point of unpleasantness. There’s serious lemon notes, a little black tea bitterness, maybe even rose, black pepper ... and hops, hops, hops. Malt sweetness cuts the green, but there’s serious resin here.
As Frank’s RedHot is to Tabasco, so is Sierra Nevada IPA to Northern Hemisphere Harvest. This shouldn’t be your first IPA, but if you’re not getting the same rush you felt from your first time, Northern Hemisphere is an interesting novelty. 6.7% ALC