Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker - Top-Shelf IPAs

As the mighty Fear once sung proudly, "More Beer"! This short entry highlights a pair of top-shelf West Coast IPAs that I was lucky enough to sample recently. Same ratings system as ever, and since both of these exquisite beverages weigh in at a 4.5 out of 5, these are both superlative examples of American IPAs and well-worth your time and dollars. Support good beer!

Having loved the Southern Hemisphere Harvest a little while back (which used only fresh, wet hops from New Zealand), I was anxious to open this one, using only fresh wet hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington. 

Presentation-wise, it pours with a big, thick head of off-white bubbles. A+ in the lace department, with big, frilly, and detailed retention. Nose is hops, sweet hops. I get orange citrus, pine, floral, and grass. Splended and delectable!  Taste is definitely hop-forward, too, but well-balanced. I get pine most emphatically, with a lingering maltiness at the finish. Overall, very tasty and a great value, running about $4 on average for the 220z.bomber.

A legendary brewery, and one I'm anxious to try since I'm normally out of their distribution. Picked this one up in St. Louis, at the peerless Wine & Cheese Place.

Pours a clean, light amber with ample head and gorgeous lace. Promising beginning! Nose is beautiful. I get pine and floral notes, with a hint of fresh pineapple. Already love it! Taste is chewy and dry, with a tangy citrus/pine hops zip. It's all tempered by a smooth malt profile. This is a delicious IPA, and I'm sure it's even better fresher (my bottle was 5 months old)! Outstanding.

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