Well now that’s hi-falootin’ for beer, even craft beer. Here what we gots is a “homegrown” IPA, certified organic, and using hops and barley that the SN people grew out on the back forty. It’s even dated like a vintage, 2015 in this case, and they call it an “Estate Ale”, and it’s $9 for a 24-oz bottle. Folks, we are dangerously close to using words like “terroir” and “provenance” here.
But it comes from Sierra Nevada, and this brewery has consistently scored well in my tests, they own 2 of my Top Five IPA slots, and three of their ales scored at 9 or better here. So it’s an expensive IPA, but the pedigree is good, let’s take it for a spin.
Cloudy, always a good sign when filters are not allowed to rip half the flavors out of an IPA. Dark for an IPA, and that’s usually a good sign too, this is a true copper color so the malts were probably tortured to perfection. The smell is hopped delicately, and nearly a liquor smell.
A sip? Not bad, not bad, but this 6.7% alk IPA has got a little oddity to it. Wet hops and organic barley make sure that this is certainly a rheinheitsgebot-compliant beer, but there’s a bit of musty to it. The taste hints at those things i don’t like about Belgian beer: a dusty old taste, like this was worn a few times and hasn’t been washed.
The barley really shines through here, in other SN ales the hoppity flavors are wildly in control. Here, the hopping is modest and balanced, so the malts all taste toasty and carmelized. But it’s got that Belgian taste to it, like a mushroom grown in a shoe. Sweetness is high, likely due to well-roasted grains without hi-hops to hide behind.
So, no. I’m not a fan of the organic estate-grown pure and hipstery IPA in my hand today. It’s just got that Belgian taste, which is trendy now, but i simply never acquired that taste. This hit the local store a while or two ago, and i saved up for a bottle before they sold out. Glad i tried it, and because of the SN brand i know that if i never tried it, i would kick myself and forever wonder if i had missed the greatest IPA evah in tha wurld.
So i had to try. I tried and it’s not for me. C’est la vie. Rating: 4.3, sorry Sierra Nevada. It’s got that “white ale” taste to it, and if you ask me, which nobody ever does, it could use more hops.