Tuesday, October 30, 2012

QUICK REVIEW #3: Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest 2012

I've had precious little time this fall for anything but work, but things are starting to ease up. Amanda and I will be off to Dublin and London in less than two weeks for a much needed vacation and I'm really looking forward to that trip both culturally and zymologically. This will be our first trip together in nearly two years, and it just so happens to be our fifth wedding anniversary and the celebration of a full decade together.

My schedule, the way it is, and the planning for this trip have left me finding the moments in between to sample new beers. I've also been pretty well stocked for homebrew, so I haven't really seen the need to overstock the fridge with new finds.

So here I find myself with five dollars in my pocket, a well-rested palate and a hankering to give something new a try. And to top that all off, I'm mustering the will to review it, with words, on my blog!


Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest 2012 - Wet Hop Ale

24 Ounce Bottle into Tulip Pint

The beer pours with a deep auburn body with enough fluffy off-white foam to nearly overtake the rim of the glass.  A quick sip takes care that none of the sticky head pours out onto the countertop and allows a cursory evaluation of the flavor and aroma. Excellent lacing with a steady cap of foam rising from the lazer-etched hop cone emblazoned at the bottom of the glass, an appropriate emblem to say the least.

The aroma is pine-like with a deep earthiness, almost pitch-like. Citrus fruit rind, grapefruit with just a hint of spruce.  The malt is also present with a mild caramel malt sweetness, that helps to balance the aroma without detracting from the main event.

The layering of flavors is extraordinary, starting with grapefruit pith, fresh grass and evergreen with that same earthiness in the finish and finally a lingering resinous sap-like quality. Again, in the flavor, the malt doesn't exactly take a backseat, present in just a hint of grain and balancing sweetness, yet it never overpowers, it carries the hops along in a wash of bitterness that lasts from beginning to end.

Just the hop kick I needed.


It's been some time since I formally reviewed a beer like this...it feels good. I'll have to remind myself to do it more often.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Emotional Drinking

Sam Adams Octoberfest is very dear to my heart (or should I say stomach). Back in 2002, I was fortunately enough to have been around individuals who cared less about falling down on the floor and more about having a good time with good drinks--some of them, anyway :^) Only a year before I had had my first experience with beer in Germany and I think it carried over into my drinking habits during college. I never did find myself on the receiving end of the ol’ red and white and I think I quickly found myself disgusted by anything light and in a can.

It also so happened that I had made the acquaintance of a young lady who seemed somewhat keen on this bright-eyed boy from the suburbs of Boston.  One evening during and outing with friends she asked me if I wanted anything from the “packie.”  I really had no idea…I think I ended up with some kind of whiskey and cola drink that was absolutely horrendous. The next time I was sure to get it right and asked her to pick up some beer, in bottles, that was good.  Again, I really had no idea what I was doing.

Group settings are always good for newly developing relationships.  You get to see the other person with their friends, it relieves the tension of having to talk one-on-one for an entire night and during this particular evening we were off to see a show and later a party, so there was plenty to do. The young lady who had graciously bought me drinks last time was kind enough to again pick up something for me to drink at the party.  This time it was Samuel Adams Octoberfest.

There was something about the beer, the time of year and the great memories associated with drinking it that has made it one of my all-time favorites and I look forward to it every year.

Five years later that same young lady and I would serve Sam Adams Octoberfest at our wedding and every year when it comes out we share the beer and the memories. So, cheers to Sam Adams Octoberfest and to emotional drinking!