If there is one thing that resonated from the online crapstorm after Beer Wars from craft beer enthusiasts, it was that, while the three-tier system does not help the small guy, craft breweries are thriving. The fact is the market share of domestic bland lagers and imports (some “fancy”, some not) are on the decline. So despite the efforts of gangster distributors and the Augustus Busch linage (nothing but a gangster party), most Americans have enough access to craft beer to at least know the difference between good and bad beer if they choose to make the distinction (most wine drinkers still drink Beringer White Z and Yellow Tail too).

This is Day 6 of the weeklong celebration of American craft beers. Tonight TwoPints and I intended to review Cisco Brewers’ The Grey Lady, a Belgian-style Wit beer. The beer is new to Houston shelves and we have visited the Nantucket, MA brewery a few times. But The Grey Lady, it was just OK. It tasted like about 7 or 8 other Wits I could have picked up off the shelf. In a market that still shuts out large portions of the craft beer world, this is an interesting realization. The craft beer market has grown so much over the past 10 years that the bar is continually raising for great beers. Cool.

Day 6
May 16, 2009
Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale

Website/Bottle Information:

Our newest addition to our Harvest family is Southern Hemisphere Harvest. This is the first time we know of that an American brewer has put out a beer with fresh-picked hops from the southern hemisphere. The inaugural ale will debut in late April and will feature fresh Pacific Hallertau, New Zealand Motueka and New Zealand Southern Cross hops, all from New Zealand.

Like our Celebration Ale, the fresh hops in this beer are dried right after being picked then shipped immediately to Chico for brewing so that they retain their peak aromatics and flavors. To ensure the freshest hops possible, we went to the added expense of flying these hops from New Zealand to Chico so we could brew with them the week after they were picked.

6.7% by volume
Bottle: 24oz
OG 14.7 Plato
FG 3.9 Plato
Bittering Hops: Pacific Halertau
Finishing Hops: New Zealand Motueka & New Zealand Southern Cross
66 IBUs

He Said:
The beer has very little aroma… slightly hoppy, but not powerful at all. Harvest Ale tastes better than the nose. The hop flavors don’t kick you in the butt, and the prevailing flavor is almost more malty than hoppy. I wonder if the atypical pale ale flavors could be due to the New Zealand hops that are used.

I remember the previous Harvest Ale from Sierra Nevada being better. It featured Cascade and Centennial hops from the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington. This beer was probably more fun making that it could ever be drinking.

She Said:
This one is amber in color, bubbly, and hoppy. I enjoy the hoppy scent it gives off, and of course the hoppy flavor. Southern Hemisphere Harvest is just okay for me. If it's not to expensive, and SirRon tells me it isn't, then I'd recommend picking one up, BUT not saving it for a special occasion. To quote my in-laws, this is a "Tuesday" beer. That's all I got.

  1. J.R. Ewing May 24, 2009 at 12:48 PM  

    So if a beer is made with Southern Hemisphere hops, does that mean I get to drink a Summer brew in December? Or if you pour it down the sink, it drains counter-clockwise?