When you think about it, the Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale is a bit environmentally unsound.
See what they do is get freshly picked hops from New Zealand rushed over lickety-split to the Sierra Nevada brewery in the US where they’re thrown in the beer.
Then it’s bottled and sent all the way back down here, to where the hops can it came from in the first place. And then sent to us, the country next to the country where the hops came from.
To me all that hop rushing back and forth seems like a waste of energy and fuel, especially when we’re in an era where the ice caps are melting because of the pollution in the air.
It’s also a curious thing to do for Sierra Nevada founder and kind of a hippie Ken Grossman to do.
But lets not think about that. Lets think about how good the beer is. And it is good. I picked this up a couple of weeks ago from my local Dan Murphy’s (which means it’s another beer to tick off the list in my Drinking Dan’s Dry* challenge) and it sat in the fridge for a while before I drank it. Why? Well, because sometimes I’m just not in the mood to take notes on a beer while I drink it. Sometimes I just want to be lazy and not have to think about how to describe the aromas and flavours. I knew this beer was one I needed to take notes on, so I put it off for a while.
Which mightn’t have been a good idea as it deprived me of the chance to try this wonderful beer earlier. Those whole hop cones, while it might have been eco-dodgy to ship them around the world, give a wonderful aroma. I copped a snootful of it as soon as I popped off the bottle cap.
Got some more of that lovely light tropical fruit aroma once I put it in a glass too. Drinking it, there’s a delicious fruity flavour – I spotted some mango notes – with some fairly restrained bitterness at the back end.
Given the Americans’ love of cranking up the hop – and bitterness – factor, if I had this in a blind tasting I’d never pick it for a US beer. It’s really quite well-balanced, with the focus on flavour rather than mouth-puckering bitterness.
My local Dan’s doesn’t stock the Northern Hemisphere version, so I can’t compare the two. But I’m not too concerned about that – I tried both last year and the South left the North for dead.
* I’m going to drink one of every beer stocked in my local Dan Murphy’s. Why? Well, why not?