1001 Beers: Estate Homegrown Ale

Beer Number 26: Estate Homegrown Ale, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere

There is a ton that I love about Sierra Nevada… as if you didn’t already know. They are one of my top 3 breweries. I just have a hard time deciding who number 2 is. I love just about everything they release and it is the only brewery that I have been to that let me play with their hop supply. I may have jumped into it like a swimming pool if that were allowed. Maybe when I have my own brewery, one day.

The, Organic, Estate Homegrown Ale is one of the beers that somehow I get my hands on every year. I don’t seek it out but it does come home with me. Same thing with the Hemispheres. Lucky for me, they landed in this book. Gives me, yet again, another excuse to love on these brews… or find out what I really think about them.

For a long time, wine has stubbornly owned and held on to the concept of terroir: the influences of soil, climate, and other factors that can be tasted in the glass. For a couple of hundred years, beer has been an industrial product, cut off from the land. Now that brewing has gotten more hands-on again, it’s useful to remind people that it is fundamentally an agricultural product.

These beers are a prime example of what that means. I get the feeling that this is why they decided to use ingredients from their fields for the Estate Ale and for the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere ingredients from Yakima and New Zealand, respectively.

So, I am not sure if the idea has changed from what was said in 2008/2009 or if these beers are still meant to be together but that is the way I am going to drink them.

“We wanted to show people what goes into beer,” says Sierra Nevada’s chief executive Ken Grossman. The first in the series of three Sierra Nevada Harvest beers is the Wet Hop Harvest Ale.

I am assuming that beer became what is today known as the Estate Homegrown Ale. It only makes sense in my book. They Chinook, Cascade, and Citra all from their farm in this one. For the grains, they used their own two-row barley and caramel. I wonder if they malt it themselves?

This Estate Ale is rich with the flavors of the valley-featuring hops with earthy, grapefruit-like flavors and layered spicy aromas and barley with mild sweetness and smooth, toasted flavors. Together, these crops grow alongside the brewery to make a truly unique brew. Enjoy!

I have finally figured out how to open a waxed bottle. This one took me no time at all to pry open. Cheers to that! Anyway, I thought the color of this beer was interesting. It was a very deep golden color but looked a bit peachy in appearance when I held it up to the light. That pink/orange/ruby color… if you know what I mean?

On first sips I guess I was not ready for it. Hop explosion and complete domination. That’s what drinking water does to you people! On the next few sips everything mellowed out I picked out some tropical flavors, grapefruit, a bit of toastiness, (I need to quite using fake words), to the beer. This beer is quite earthy and a bit spicy in your mouth and in the nose as well. I would say the fruits draw you away from that sensation. This ale finishes quite dry. Enjoyed this one.

Southern Hemisphere is actually the next brew I am going with. For no other reason than when I was looking at the scroll bar on the site, it goes Estate, Southern, Northern. I also had this bottle for about 9? months now. Maybe 8, so I guess it is time. This ale uses two-row, caramel and fresh hops from New Zealand. Pacifica, Motueka, and Southern Cross. These are not hops I know too much about but I used Motueka in a homebrew once. That was pretty exciting.

In 2008, we launched the southern counterpart to our popular Harvest Ale, featuring fresh hops picked, dried and shipped from New Zealand within seven days of the fields. Southern Hemisphere is a south-by-north fusion that showcases the intriguing floral and herbal flavors and aromas of New Zealand-grown Southern Cross, Pacifica and Motueka hops.

This beer throws out the same, interesting color that I was describing earlier. The aroma on this one is very piney and malty. I am beginning to think that all of these beers have an initial hop bite that you need to watch out for… or maybe it is just too much water. Deep roasted Caramel and sharp citrusy flavors come over next. This beer seems a bit thinner, watery, than I was expecting. This one finishes bitter and dry.

I wasn’t too big on it when I had my first Pint… err, the pour wasn’t really a pint, at Tony’s Darts Away but I have picked it up time and time again. When I was at the brewery, my almost personal tour guide (there was one couple there besides SWMBO and I), told me that people have saved this one for years and even served it with a few Martini Olives in it. That just sounds weird but maybe after another year or two, that is just what this beer needs?

Northern Hemisphere uses the same two-row and caramel that the other two brews used but this time takes Wet Cascade from Yakima that are picked and shipped to the brewery overnight, and then added into the beer as well as Centennial hops. Of course I would want to try this one as well!

Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale is the beer that launched the “wet hop” craze here in America. Brewed with wet hops plucked straight from the fields in Yakima, WA, and into our brew kettles within 24 hours of growing on the vine, Northern Hemisphere does not take shortcuts. Because hops are incredibly perishable, using hops “wet,” or un-dried, preserves all of the precious oils and resins for a unique drinking experience.

This beer pulled off that same color as the rest. Kind of weird to say this, but it took me until I cracked this one until I realized maybe they use the same grain bill… The aroma was big and citrusy, piney and a bit spicy. This beer filled my mouth with grapefruit and a nice touch of bitterness. Juicy and piney.

Damn fine. I wonder how it tasted the day they released it. My favorite of the three brews, but I kind of expected that just looking at the line up and ingredients. All of them seemed pretty earthy but that is one of the things, I feel that show off the terroir of this beer.

975 Bottles Of Beer To Go!


1001 Beers: Estate Homegrown Ale

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