Sierra Nevada | Hop Hunter IPA
Brewery: Sierra Nevada (Chico, CA)
As the summer slowly comes into permanent existence here on the East Coast, it’s time for that special style from the West Coast. Who else but Sierra Nevada would employ a new style with signature quality and popular fanfare? After conducting a tad bit of research, their original IPA came out in 1981, a year after the brewery’s inception. Almost 35 years later, and they are still effectively changing the flavors of beer. It is almost like they are living in a different California that doesn’t have a drought problem since they keep churning out barrel after barrel of deliciousness.
What is so different about this IPA you may ask? “Hop Hunter IPA features oil from wet hops steam distilled directly in the field, minutes after harvest.” (SierraNevada.com)
And what a treat it is. Weighing in less than Torpedo or Ruthless, Hop Hunter appears to share more in common with a session IPA, but when you do take that first sip, you quickly realize that is not the case. With a dry, citrusy taste that adds just enough malt to make it a solid outdoor brew, you can surely enjoy multiple without losing interest or taste buds. Although it may not be as floral as the nature of fresh hop oil (Cascade, Centennial, CTZ combo) leads you to believe, it doesn’t have to be. With 60 IBUS and 6.2% ABV, the only way to really improve would be to can it and guarantee delicious hoppy-ness on the beach.
After looking at the package date of my case, I am fairly confident that mine may have been one of the first batches back (brewed in late January), with the possibility of losing a bit of flavor over that period of time. When I make my way west this upcoming July, I will hope to be able to drink straight from the source and compare to my experiences thus far. This beer comes highly recommended.