I recently was in Chico celebrating the brother-in-law’s birthday (who claims to be “Oregon IPA” but is yet to make that happen), and so naturally, we went to Sierra Nevada on night one. This trip allowed me to try 3 IPAs that I have not yet had a chance to review, so here goes.
Hop Hunter IPA
I was most excited to try the Hop Hunter, as the much-hyped new and innovative method of vaporizing wet hops to allow for a year-round wet hop experience was intriguing. In addition, the recent spat between Lagunitas and Sierra over the bottle added to the fun.
ABV – 6.2%
IBUs – 60
The aroma gets you right off the bat on this one. It is probably the most redeeming and exciting part of this beer. Big, dank grapefruit nose. Some floral and citrus notes.
Nice golden-amber color, light carbonation, and minimal head.
Not overly hoppy, with a nice, oily mouthfeel. Finish was OK, not as smooth as Torpedo. Overall, I was expecting (or hoping) to be blown away but was not. It was good, but after having some wet hop beers last season (including Sierra’s Wet Hop), it did not seem to meet up. It is a great concept to be able to have a wet hop beer in late-January, but I was not blown away.
I by no means did not dislike this one, I just think my expectations were a little overboard.
Golden IPA was basically the opposite situation than the Hop Hunter. I had low expectations for this one, but ended up being pleasantly surprised.
ABV – 5.9%
IBUs – 55
The Golden IPA certain holds up to its name, golden.
Nose is a light citrus, nothing overwhelming.
Flavor was crisp and refreshing. Although I sucked down a few on a January night, I could see myself sitting in the sun having several of these. Light bodied, citrusy notes. Minimal pine. Smooth with a hint of a lingering aftertaste.
There is nothing particularly memorable about this beer, but it is very well balanced and drinkable. I think by the end of the night I actually had more of these than the Hop Hunter.
Bindfold Black IPA
Last beer I had was the Blindfold Black. I will admit, I had this right at the end of the night after having several of the above-reviewed beers. As my picture depicts, things were starting to get fuzzy at this point…
ABV – 7.7%
IBUs – 70
Dark blackish-brown pour with decent, frothy head. Strong lacing.
Nose fills of roasted malt and quite smoky. Initial taste is roasty with some chocalately coffee hints. As it goes down, you start to get the piney hops. Almost velvety.
Overall, it had a lot going on and it was enjoyable, although I could not see myself drinking more than one or two in a sitting.
All in all, another great trip to the brewery. Dinner was also fantastic, spent with good friends and some solid fish and chips. One of my favorite breweries to go to as there are always plenty of interesting beers and solid food and service.
You can learn more about Sierra Nevada’s IPAs on their website.