Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1297) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 5, 2015
Sierra Nevada’s new “Hop Hunter IPA” claims to be brewed using a radical new method of “steam distilled” hop oil. They’ve even got a video explaining it on their website. I have a feeling it’s slightly hokey, but I can’t argue with the fact they made a good beer anyway. This is more than just a solid standard IPA; it’s got the hop character, bitterness and high drinkability you want in a well-rounded brew of the style.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. It was bottled on 2/6/15 and cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).

Appearance: Glowing shade of dark gold/pale orange. Cloudy as particulates can be seen floating in suspension. Pours to a small, white, soapy head which mostly evaporates, but still leaves good lacing.

Smell: Fairly aromatic bouquet of piney, grassy and spicy hops.

Taste: One swig into this beer and I was convinced that the distilled hop oil technique had worked. Hops are definitely the first and last thing you taste with this beer. It starts off with a strong sensation of grassy and slightly spicy hops (a touch of garlic or onion). It’s reminiscent of the “New England-style” IPAs that have been exploding in popularity thanks to Heady Topper. Piney in the first half with a spice rack sensation of the second. Not much in the way of overt or distinctive malt flavor, though. Just a light sweetness through the middle to give it some balance. This isn’t an especially bitter beer, either, as it’s only 60 IBUs which makes it quite drinker-friendly. This is what makes for a good, to-spec IPA.

Drinkability: While there is a lot of taste to this beer, I am a bit surprised by how drinkable it is. The mouthfeel is rather thin and surprisingly crisp; akin to a lager rather than an ale. Refreshing while in the mouth with just a slightly dry aftertaste. At 6.2% ABV, Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA has the amount of flavor you expect from the potency, but not the weight (which is a good thing). 
Grade: 8/10

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