Hop Hunter IPA is a fairly new beer from Sierra Nevada Brewery, and if you like IPAs don’t pass on an opportunity to try this one. If you haven’t heard of Sierra Nevada then you must just be entering the craft beer world. They are one of the oldest, most innovative, and largest craft breweries in the U.S. Ken Grossman is the founder and owner of Sierra and one of the most respected and educated people in the craft beer world today. Sierra Nevada started as a home brew shop in the 1970s before becoming a tiny brewery that grew into the power-house it is today. If you have not learned about their story you can check it out here on the Sierra Nevada website, it’s pretty cool what they have done over the past few decades.
Sierra Nevada has always been a pack leader when it comes to creative beers, and the Hop Hunter IPA is no different. Through a new steam distillation process of fresh picked wet hops they extract very concentrated hop oils and then add it to the beer during the brewing process. By doing this it is creating a whole new experience for enjoying the complex aromas and tastes of hops. Of course, they still use whole cone hops in the brewing process as well, but this extracted hop oil adds a whole different angle to the Hop Hunter beer, that you just don’t find in other IPAs right now.
On to the beer, though. The appearance is clear and pours a light golden color, the head is white and thick. You definitely smell the hops upfront, some citrus and pine are there as well. You catch the hop oil upon first taste, so it has an oily taste the bitterness (IMO), but also plenty of other hops tastes and a good helping of malt to help balance this complex beer. The mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation and a lingering taste. The body could have been bolder with what all is going on in this beer. Overall a great beer and a very good change of pass in the IPA world. Learn more details and specs on the Hop Hunter here.
P.S. Keen-eyed readers may have noticed that I listed Sierra Nevada in the “local craft” category. Some of you may be asking… “How is Elliott considering Sierra Nevada out of CA a local craft brewery when he lives in Georgia?” To be honest I wasn’t sure at first whether to list this as local or not. The brewery is out of Chico, CA, but they have recently opened an east coast brewery in Asheville, NC which is only about 200 miles from me. So I decided to consider that local. We need to rep what’s local whether it’s small or big we are all in this craft world together. Ken Grossman helped pave the way for a lot of breweries and brewers today, and we can’t forget that.