The other day I got a little paranoid about freshness of hops, probably ably assisted (if that's the right word) by the lovely folks over at Aleheads. I have a tendency to end up with lots of IPA knocking about and really ought to get them drunk. I know, it's such a chore. The paranoia is not helped by codes rather than 'born on' or 'best before' dates. Although at least with this one you know roughly when it was made I guess, what with it being the name of the beer.
Anyway, to stop myself lying awake at night worrying about the ticking away of the glorious hop flavours in my cellar I thought I'd get this down me.
As if to reassure me from the off, it pours a beautiful burnt orange colour, and rather than the attacking hoppy nose I was half expecting from an American IPA at this strength (6.7%) it was actually quite restrained, more fruit (mango and passion fruit) than pine and pot. On the palate? Well if the name 'Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale 2012' is a mouthful then I suppose that reflects the beer. The tropical fruit aromas don't sink into a fug of sweetness; there's a crisp grapefruit pith note to balance the sweeter fruit in there, allowing the malt to come to the party and give the beer some weight. The finish is clean, bitter-sweet and suitably moreish. For me this is really a great beer, nothing too overdone, allowing complex rather than shouty flavours. Try it young and fresh. I think.
But hang on, what if I actually quite like the hops to be a bit more mellowed with age? I won't sleep easy until the next IPA fix now, wondering if my next bottle might not be quite mature enough.
6.7% abv. £5.88 (71cl) from Beer Ritz.