This writer won't insult your intelligence when I pose the question "how is beer made?". I mean you've all been on a brewery tour before. You've seen the hot liquor tank, the mash tank, the 'hop back', and of course the fermenter. So it's really no mystery regarding how beer's made. Unfortunately the practice of perceiving hop varietals, within a beer, has been left to the experts. While the rest of us are satisfied recalling aromas and tastes like orange citrus, fruit punch, cannabis, or pine needles.
Thankfully there’s a way for the 'laymen' to discern the differences between a Centennial hop variety and a Simcoe. The practice is known as single hopping and has been employed by breweries like Brooklyn (ie, Brooklyn Sorachi Ace), Mikkeller (ie, Mikkeller Simcoe Single Hop IPA), and Founder's Centennial IPA. But most of these beers include certified hops (like Centennial, Amarillo, Warrior, Zeus, or Sorachi). Recognizing this, Sierra Nevada has elected to celebrate these new and unnamed hops as part of their Harvest series, with a single hop beer.
Released in the next couple of days, Sierra Nevada Harvest Single Hop IPA will be on the shelves for those looking to try the new Yakima hop 291. Described by the brewery as a beer that "... seesaws between intense floral aromas and notes of blueberry and black pepper", this beer should be on the shelves by the time you read this.
“I’ve long been enamored with the aromatics and flavor of whole-cone hops, and breeders and growers are in craft’s corner pushing the limits of an ingredient that brings all of us—brewers and drinkers—a lot of excitement,” said Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder. “Our Harvest series is a fun glimpse at the future of hops, and it’s something we hope to repeat each year with bold new varieties.”
Just don't expect there to be a compliment of single hop beers from Sierra Nevada. Instead I've been informed that there will be Harvest beers using numerous hopping methods. In fact the brewery from Chico will be using methods like fresh hopping, wet hopping, and wild hopping.
Sierra Nevada is also plotting its second annual Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild Harvest Festival in Chico, Calif., where brewers from across the country pour a selection of their beers that include at least one single hop, fresh hop, wet hop, or wild hop beer. After the festival’s inaugural showing in fall 2013, Celebrator Beer News said it “became a major ‘must attend’ beer celebration in its first year.”
“Craft brewers everywhere are marching hop flavor forward,” Grossman said, “and it’s that collective passion and ambition we want to elevate through events like Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild and beer projects like Harvest that create great experiences for new and seasoned craft drinkers.”
By the way. The next beer in the Harvest series will be Southern Hemisphere (May) which will showcase fresh hops, from New Zealand, where the annual hop harvest occurs during our spring.
About Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s premier craft breweries, highly regarded for using only whole-cone hops and the finest quality ingredients. The pioneering spirit that launched Sierra Nevada spans more than three decades, with innovation emerging from both the brewhouse and sustainability initiatives. Sierra Nevada has set the standard for artisan brewers worldwide as a winner of numerous awards for its extensive line of beers including Pale Ale, Torpedo®, Porter, Stout, Kellerweis® and a host of seasonal, specialty and limited release beers. Learn more at www.sierranevada.com