Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale

Prologue:  Back in the day I tried Sierra Nevada’s pale ale. I loved the beer, but I felt a little uneasy that it was a grey import and thus not up to Sierra Nevada’s exacting standards.

But the good news is that Sierra Nevada now have an official distributor in the land downunder (The good people of Phoenix who bring in a range of awesome beers). This means that Sierra Nevada are now easy to find, there main range being stocked in Uncle Dan’s. It also means that the speciality bottle shops have some of the speciality brings from Sierra Nevada. 

This is one of these seasonal brews. The Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale uses Hallertau, Motueka and Southern Cross Hops all from New Zealand. In fact Sierra Nevada picked these hops instantly bought them a cuddle bed seat on an Air New Zealand direct to LA and they were in the brew tanks within a week. That is some sort of dedication to freshness.

They eventually bottled it, and threw it back on a ship and it made it’s way back downunder. Given harvest time for Hops is Autumn, my guess this whole process probably only took 3 months.

Packaging: This is a really a whole global quest type vibe going on here. A tall Ship, a raging sea and a map showing the location of New Zealand in relation to the good old US of A – there is a dotted line to allow Americans to find the land of the long white cloud, so in summary this beer label is doing a better good than the US public school system.    

Appearance: A light golden caramel colour with a thick foamy head which was a little off white.  

Smell: It didn’t have a huge smell, might have been a little cold out of the fridge though.

Taste: Hops, and more Hops. But not at first the front of the sip is actually quite malty (and the malt is more and more evident the more you drink as you get used to the hops). So it’s malt, and then this half second gap and the hops kick in, the taste lingers in your mouth, particularly in the top of the mouth and in the cheeks. And what is the flavour, all sorts of things a little citrus and lemon, but actually more spiciness, woody and pine.  

In conclusion: It is very good beer. If you like big American Hoppy brews then this is well worth seeking out.

Ranking:  I’ll have a Pint, thanks,

Six degrees of Norm (Where we link every beer back to Norm from Cheers in six easy steps):

  1. The hops in this beer travelled from New Zealand to LA
  2. Just like Russell Crowe (yeah that’s right he’s not Australian, he was born in Wellington)
  3. He is also the cousin of former NZ Cricketer Martin Crowe, but that’s beside the point
  4. Big Rusty’s best film was Romper Stomper, which also starred Jacqueline Mackenzie
  5. Who was in Deep Blue Sea with Samuel L Jackson.
  6. Both Samuel L Jackson and Ted Danson where featured in episode 2 of the crappy Clerks animated series. And of course Ted was Sam Malone and served beers to Norm in Cheers.
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5 thoughts on “Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale

  1. hoppy beers are something that the boys at Siera Nevada do well, so well that it almost seems wrong to have them on the shelf at Dan’s. Ah well get the good beer to the masses, still I would like to see them afforded a little more exclusivity, as they were when they were grey imports (dont get me started on that bullshit!). As for their other beers I rate Torpedo as one of the best bang for your buck IPA’s around

  2. Have to disagree with you there. More exculsive? The more quality beers like Seirra Nevada that can be in the mass retailers like Dan’s the better the beer community will be.

    We should be rejoicing every Pure Blonde drinking person who picks up a Sierra Nevada beer. Price wine store and slowbeer and Blackhearts are all fantastic bottleshops but they are preaching to the converted.

    Beers like Seirra Nevada, Fat Yak and Little Creatures which are all stocked in Dan Murphy’s will do more to advance the craft beer market in this country than the fact the Prince wine has fifteen different types of Mikkeller.

  3. with you on the more people drinking good beer being a good thing, I just liked it for myself when I felt I may have been drinking something exclusive. But yes I like being able to get it at Dans too, but I am a bit worried at what impact this will have on the smaller bottle shops, also worried about the impact of Vintage Cellars buggering up perfectly good bottle shops too. All well and good to have all the punters drinking good beer, but where do we go when slow beer, the prince, purvis beer etc. have been taken over by Vintage Cellars or Dans?

  4. I agree that independent bottle shops are very important, but hopefully these gateway beers will lead to better education and more people seeking out more unusual beers, like those sold in Slowbeer or Purvis.

    The other thing worth considering is the fact that becuase Dan’s are willing to sell three of the ‘mainstream’ Sierra Nevada brews this makes it worthwhile for a importer to import direct (and makes the volume enough for a major craft brewer like Sierra Nevada to asign stock to Australia) which means that we can get beers like this Harvest ale (Which you ain’t getting in Dan’s, this one came from Cloudwine in Sth Melb) and the Beer Camp range which Blackhearts and Sparrows have at the moment.

    Maybe it’s my advertising and marketing side coming out but I don’t see being mainstream (but still good quality) as selling out, I see it as being sucessful.

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