Harvest ales are nothing new. I said that
before, in my review of
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale . And I was right, of course, although for a
different reason. Then I was referring to the fact that harvest ales are
usually malty brews celebrating the barley harvests. Sierra Nevada, just to
be different, releases a fall harvest ale that is big on hops. Now, they’ve
done it again with the release of their Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh
A harvest ale in spring? Who would have thunk of such a thing? It’s
important to remember, however, that while we’re getting ready for summer,
our friends down under have already had theirs, and so are preparing for
winter. And that means bringing in the harvest. So, a harvest ale mad with
the finest New Zealand hops doesn’t seem so strange after all.
It was an effort, however, especially in this time of global hop shortages.
Sierra Nevada claims they got the hops “picked, dried, flown halfway across
the world and into our brew kettle in a little over a week’s time.” That’s
quite a remarkable achievement, and it shows in the beer. And this beer is
different from Harvest Ale, as you’ll see when you taste it.
Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale pours to a
beautiful burnt orange amber color with an immense rocky head of foam and a
robust resiny hop nose that simply screams fresh hop aroma at you. My first
whiff came right from the bottle before I poured, and I encourage you to
always try to catch that first concentrated hop blast straight from the
bottle whenever you pop the cap off of any certified hop monster.
I like the malt body here, it’s thick with chewy caramel and forms a solid
backbone for the beer, but it can’t hold the hops back long, and before you
know it, there they are. They’re intensely resiny and herbal, permeating the
brew with a floral flavor and aroma and a very intense bitterness that
builds to a truly puckering crescendo in the long, dry finish. They linger
on the tongue for some time after sipping, too.
Sierra Nevada claims this one has 66 IBUs of bitterness, roughly the same as
their Harvest Ale, though this one has a slightly lower original gravity
making the bitterness more apparent. Alochol content is slightly higher than
normal at 6.7% by volume, in line with the IPA style. The all-New Zealand
hop bill consists of Pacific Halertaus for bittering and Motueka and
Southern Cross for finishing.
I paid $4.99 for a 24 ounce stubby bottle, and $5 was never better spent.
Definitely worth seeking out, because once it’s gone, it’s gone until next
year. Kudos once again to Sierra Nevada for this very original idea.
And remember, try a new beer today,
and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.