Sierra Nevada loves to experiment. A lot. They’ve done a whole series called “Beer Camp” that involves a 12-pack with twelve unique brews. I’ve experienced a few of those, and they were, honestly, hit or miss. I liked a few, and some others I think required a different taste. This brew, Sierra’s Harvest (number 1 of 5), is hopped entirely with one varietal – Idaho 7. A bit of Googling has revealed that Sierra Nevada is monopolizing this one. The entire first page of results were directing back to either Sierra’s own website, or other sites like BA, BSJ, and untappd (no, I have no problem giving a free plug here…we’re all friends, in it for the brews).
This is a really good brew. I’m a huge fan of single-hopping, as it lets the brewer tweak the brew to really bring out the aromas and flavors that a particular hop has been bred to offer. Idaho 7 really hits it out of the park on flavor, but aroma may be a bit lacking. The pour offered an aroma that was reminiscent of Heineken. This isn’t a bad thing, I like a Heiney or two on a hot summer day, or when I’m in the garage with my mates. I just wasn’t expecting Sierra to pour with such an aroma. The color of the full pour was a nice amber hue, with plenty of medium-sized bubbles rising constantly. The first sip was amazing. Considering I went into it with pretty low expectations based on the aroma, I was more than surprised. There’s a solid, fresh-picked orange flavor, like the kind you buy from the side of most roadways in Florida. Along with the up front orange hit, a bit of stone fruit pokes though, a Georgia peach-type flavor. Very little pine resin, but something new came through on the finish. Tea. Green tea. I’ve never experienced tea as a hop quality, but I rather like it. Somehow you wouldn’t expect to pair beer and tea, but it works. Sierra claims that it’s more of a black tea flavor. I’m no expert on tea (that’s Winey Woman’s other domain, but alas, Celiac Disease keeps her from enjoying the majority of beer), but I’d say it’s more green than black tea. Regardless of what tea quality you find here, I think you’d have to agree that this is one super smooth brew. Half way though the pint-and-a-half bottle in my favorite “super-tankard,” and I’m not looking for the end. I’m hoping this one keeps going, a bottomless beer, if you will.
As Sierra’s first of five special editions, each focusing on a different use and/or varietal of hops, they’ve gone above and beyond. I was able to procure brew number five along with this one…but numbers two, three, and four are still MIA in my area. I’m hoping I can get my hands on them…