Ever since I heard it was being released and the story about how the farm hop oils are extracted on the hop farm by some magical hop-oil extraction device straight after being picked Hop Hunter IPA has been firmly planted on my beer radar or Beerdar™ (there is too such a thing) as the biggest beer release this side of Sierra Nevada’s own Torpedo… and my oh my it has some massive size 15 shoes to fill. Now the biggest challenge for me reviewing this beer will be to rein in the mouth-frothing hype that the name Sierra Nevada conjures in my mind… I hope I’m up to the task.
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Quite an unassuming clear golden rod body and a thin white blanket on top for a head… damn this is exciting, drumroll please! 8/10.
S: Full of that dirty/earthy/herbal/cannabis aroma that you only find with fresh picked hops – believe me I’m much acquainted with that aroma (fresh hops that is!)… man I really can’t get past how fresh the hop aroma of this beer is – it’s like you’ve got a hop garden in your glass. Not much else gets past these hops but when your name is “Hop Hunter” you can be forgiven for being all about the hops. 9/10.
T: Flavour steps back a little, yes it’s fresh and it has all of the above herbal hop notes described above, but it’s like someone turned the dial down on the taste – where you were expecting a hop slam dunk it’s more like an alley-oop – still satisfying but not to the same extreme. Balancing all this out is a light caramel malt base that really compliments the hop oil flavours well by not being in any way remarkable – it’s all about the hops here people! A second sip brings about the more classic bitter orange hop touch that we’ve all come to expect from a West Coast IPA. Aftertaste is medium bitter and slightly astringent. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with a really tight packed, but not too fizzy carbonation. 8/10.
D: It’s hard to tell if this is a missed opportunity from SN because the hop extraction technique used in the brewing of this beer is such a new and fanciful territory however I can’t help thinking that this isn’t SN firing on all cylinders, and when you think about a brew as hop rich and juicy as their own Torpedo you wonder if maybe SN could have combined the two… but what do I know about what goes on behind closed doors – perhaps the flavours of Torpedo clashed with HH – this is still a tasty and recommended drop regardless (especially if you love hops). 8/10.
Food match: Could not get Thai flavours (specifically lemongrass) out of my head.