Nick Carr on September 21, 2015 0 Comments ALE TALE: Quick Characteristics Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Location: Chico, CA Style: American IPA ABV: 6.5% IBU: 55 Appearance: Resiny yellow-gold with a finger-and-a-half of nice white rocky head. Slightly hazey Aroma: Requisite citrus like most IPA’s; Coconut, woodsiness… and chocolate?; Floral Notes; Slight malty backbone Flavor: Hoppiness; Juicy grapefruit citrus; Resiny, Notes of coconut and chocolate, Malt is hidden Hops: HBC472, HBC431, SS05256, SS06300 Malts: Two-row Pale, Caramel Suggested Glass: IPA Tulip, Nonic Pint, Shaker Pint Serving Temp: 46°F—50°F Approximate Shelf-Life: 100 days Availability: Limited Pairs With: Greek-style grilled chicken, Blackened Catfish, Dry Parmesan, Lemon sorbet w/ roasted pistachios He found the hop bine in the morning just as the sun was peaking over the low hills and spreading its warming light across the farm. The evening before he’d come out into hopfield, the moon had been low and full, casting a milky light across the fields, and turning the hop bines into shadowed tentacles, as if a strange army of squid were bursting forth from the earth and raising there long protuberances toward the heavens in some sort of bizarre frozen supplication. He had planted the rhizome in that otherworldly landscape. The rhizome the old man had given him weeks before with no explanation, but to say he should plant it if he had a mind to and see what glories might be brought forth. The man had said these things with an air of warning that had stayed the farmers shovel for a long while. He had looked grave, the emotions playing across his lined and much furrowed face, matching the kindly easy voice not at all. The farmer had puzzled over this for a long time, wondering what he should put more stock in; the warning or the preferred gift. Having done the deed, that morning he had woke with some concern, but curiosity too. For after all, the thing was but a hop rhizome, what could it possibly do, but grow into a hop bine? True he didn’t know the variety or where the old man had come by it, but… heck, the thing probably wasn’t even viable. It wouldn’t grow. Nothing would happen. Now he stood in front of a hop bine that was very much alive and growing. Things were happening. But it was an odd happening. The bine was strange with over large leaves tinged an almost purple color, and the cones -yes the cones had already appeared- the cones were of four very distinctly different sizes! He squinted, looked at them from varying angles, trying to make sense of the odd cones. He was not in error, four sizes, multiples of each size, and it wasn’t only the size but the cones’ compactness also varied across the spectrum. He shook his head, reached out carefully and plucked one, held it up for inspection, then, almost timidly, crushed it between his palms and held it to his nose. Coconut and a light sense of chocolate. He opened is palms and looked at them in wonder before hurriedly brushing the destroyed cone off and plucking a different one. Again crushed it and put is nose close. This time a strange floral woodiness. He stood for a long time after sampling all four cones, unsure what to do next, or if anyone would even believe the story. He considered. Then decided why tell anyone. He had four new varieties of hops. No one needed to know they came from the same strange hop plant. He would plant more of them in secret. Start propagating. A thought came and he smiled. He wondered what Sierra Nevada would think of these new hops. THE TASTING photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Sierra Nevada’s Newly Developed Hop IPA. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: It pours a resiny yellow-gold with a finger-and-a-half of nice white rocky head. There is some haziness, but nothing more than what would be expected in an IPA. Carbonation is medium. Aroma is very interesting. There is the requisite citrus, but other scents pretty well overrun it. The first standout is coconut, and whispers of chocolate. I get a woodsy quality too –not sure I’d equate it to the cedar or even oak stated on the bottle- but there is a sharp woodiness there along with some light floral notes. Get very little of the malt backbone Mouthfeel and Taste: The body is a nice medium with a drying astringent mouthfeel. Carbonation is soft but still manages to prickle the otherwise smooth ride somewhat. Whispers of alcoholic warming, but very subtle. The taste is all about the hops. On the front some sweet juicy grapefruit citrus; floats into a mid-palate that sings coconut and again just hints of chocolate. At one point the memory of Mounds bars came through pretty strong. Lots of resin too. Bitterness jumps at the back gliding into the swallow. The aftertaste too is one I’ve never experienced before and it does remind me of something but I just can’t seem to put a finger on it. Malt is mostly hidden. I do get rumors of breadiness in the aftertaste, but not much. FINISHING THOUGHTS This is a pretty unique IPA. I’ve never had such a sense of coconut from hops and the woodsy quality is very singular too. It’s always interesting when we can drink a beer with some new variety of hop in it and a beer like this one just shows how much the aroma and flavor can be tweaked by playing with different hops. It will be interesting to see what Sierra Nevada comes up with next in their Harvest line of beers. But until then I am pretty excited to try, and review, the Wild Hops addition –seeing as the wild hops originate in my home state. And of course grab a few more bottles of this IPA to enjoy. Cheers!