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Friday, November 09, 2007 

Do you know the HARVEST??!!!

Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale
86 / 100

Pizza Port High Tide IPA
89 / 100

Every Autumn the finest of American hops are harvested. Most of these hops are dried and preserved to last until next harvest. Notice I said MOST. Some of the fresh hops get shipped directly to brewers so that they can unearth some of the flavors lost later down the line. The result are freshly hopped ales, some have been known to call them Harvest Ales.

Sierra Nevada have been making their Harvest Ale since 1996, but this is the first year they have bottled it. Previously, it was hard to come by,
only in keg form and usually in bars close to the California source. It was always a pleasure for me as Father's Office in Santa Monica; they had in on draught every Autumn. Being a HUGE fan of IPAs, it was always the different subtleties that the fresh hops resonated that pleased me. You get the big hop profile but it's far more subtle - the balance seems just right. In a way it seems like a muted IPA - not in the flavor but in the bittering. And I don't mean that negatively - this is a fine fucking beer.

Pizza Port's High Tide takes this idea and improves on it. The flavors are more fresh and the different hops really pronounce themselves: Centennial - I getcha, citrus but now boom in your face like Cascade (think West Coast hopbombs), Chinook - I'm with ya - dry hopped to give that floral and bitter cut.

This is something I recommend to everyone. Bitter not your thing? This is so well-rounded you'll push through. Get this soon, it's not going to last. And the fresher the better.

Holiday Beers up next...

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