Saturday, August 31, 2013

Beer: Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest

So, craft brewing pioneer Sierra Nevada releases two different "Harvest Fresh Hop Ales" per year. Northern Hemisphere features specially-harvested fresh hops from Yakima, Washington, while their Southern Hemisphere Ale, reviewed here, utilizes fresh hops from New Zealand. This is as delicious of an IPA as one can enjoy, in my humble beer-critic opinion! On to the review...


Pours a clean amber, with a huge, frothy, and creamy off-white head. Delicate, intricate lace. Top! Nose is exquisite citrus, tropical pineapple hops goodness. Tastes well-balanced, with the malts up front and a tropical citrus/grapefruit twang at the finish. 

Absolutely superb and well-enjoyable, and a great value at the price (As I remember, $4-5 per bomber).

This is only bottled and released once per year, so if you see it out and about, do yourself a favor and invest!

Beer: Indiana brews from Flat 12 Bierwerks, Fountain Square, and Cutters

Indiana, and most specifically Indianapolis, has become a hotbed of upstart craft breweries. Indy, specifically, has at least 10 I can count at this point, with others just starting up. The beers reviewed here are all from Indy, or not far from Indy (Cutters is based in Avon, IN near Bloomington). There are no dogs here, either, so if you find yourself within a fair distance, check these out. 

Keep in mind that my reviews are on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being awful, and 5 being awesome. A 3, therefore, is drinkable, whereas a 4 is superb. I don't give out any real 5's, so 4 is top-tier. Drink indie, drink local, and drink responsibly!

Flat 12 has become a favorite of late, with all of their core lineup being above average. This black IPA is no exception.

Black with ruby highlights. Massive head of bone-toned foam. Attractive lace. Nose is rich, dark, bittersweet chocolate. I get a hint of hops, but it's pretty obscure. Taste is nicely hopped, followed by a roasty charred finish. A solid and enjoyable brew combining some usually disparate styles.

Also of note -- I love the stark, dark, and stylish bottle art.

Also from Flat 12, this is my personal favorite "local" beer now, hands down. It's a pale ale that approaches IPA hoppiness/happiness. using only delicious tropical-citrus Australian Galaxy hops. Cool points to the rep from Flat 12 who poured this at the SWIRCA brewfest in Evansville in 2013. Love this beer!

Pours a fairly clear golden-amber. Average head of off-white suds. Attractive tree-line lacing. Nose is immediately recognizable -- aromatic Aussie hops with a spiky, sharp, and floral earthiness. Superb. Taste is also wonderfully brisk and sharp, with notes of bitter grapefruit and earth again. 

A superlative pale ale that could easily be classified as an IPA, I'd easily pick this up again!

An easy-to-drink pilsner from a new brewery. Hmm.

Pours a cloudy golden, with a huge head of white carbonation. Not much lace, though, oddly. Nose is light grains and malts, yeast. Very mild. Taste is crisp and malty, with only a tinge of citrus hops at the finish. 

This is a smooth and easy-to-drink lager -- not overly memorable but solid and quite session-worthy. 

Fointain Square's porter wasn't so successful, but it's certainly not bad, either.

Pours a dark ruby, with a small head of tan bubbles. Minimal lacing. Nose is roasty and fruity, and the body is light, even watery. Flavor is toffee up front, with some roasty chocolate in there as well. 

Maybe this isn't super unique or standout, but it does go down smoothly, and Backyard Porter is a faithful and flavorful English-style porter.

I haven't been a big fan of the few Cutters beers I've had thus far, and this one just didn't "cut" it for me, either. I do give these guys points for their big pours at local brewfests, and for serving their massive Empire imperial stouts at said functions!

Pours a cloudy amber, with minimal carbonation. Lace is small and erratic. Aroma is mild -- definitely a pine and citrus hops vibe, but it's not overwhelming. Taste is sharp and bitter hops, very much in a citric vein with plenty of acidity. 

Not bad, but not a notable or unique IPA, either.