Last year we saw the first bottling of Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Fresh Hop Ale. Apparently, this name wasn’t nearly long enough. So this spring, they’ve unveiled the newest of their Harvest Ales with the Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale. Aside from having, quite possibly, the longest beer name ever, this is also the first fresh hop ale to be available during the spring here in America. ‘Stasy at Hopmonk told me to keep an eye out for this one, so when I saw it at the store, I had to have it.
The hops used in this brew are Pacific Hallertau, New Zealand Motueka and New Zealand Southern Cross, all grown in New Zealand. Unlike their original Harvest Ale, which uses wet hops from the Yakima region, these Kiwi hops are quickly dried before shipping, similar to the process used in their Celebration Ale. The result is a beer that is strikingly similar to said Celebration Ale.
Southern Harvest (as I will refer to if from now on) pours a nice amber with an aroma that drifts away from the glass, no need to bury your nose in the head. Very floral, the smell only intensifies with the first taste. Not bitter, but extremely hoppy, this is a very drinkable beer from the start. As I mentioned, you might mistake this for Celebration Ale initially, but it seems to lack some of the harsher flavors found in their winter seasonal. Classified as an IPA, I was surprised when my wife grabbed the glass, took a sip, and actually liked it.
Sierra Nevada really did a good job with Southern Harvest. Later this summer look for their Chico Estate Harvest Fresh Hop Ale followed by the regular Harvest Ale in the fall. The Chico Harvest will be more difficult to find as it will only be bottled in Chico, but as the Chico hop fields expand, Sierra Nevada looks to expand availability.