I have yet to try a Sierra Nevada that I didn't like. As far as large craft breweries go, New Belgium is Sierra Nevada's only real peer. Plenty of local breweries would stand up to the same scrutiny, but they are not available on a national level like these two. As I've mentioned before, Samuel Adams has a few good drafts, but overall, I find their beers uninteresting.
The Hoppy Lager grew out of Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp. What is Beer Camp you ask? Beer Camp was a traveling festival that hit seven cities/breweries nationwide in 2014. The tour started in Chico, CA, in the heart of the Central Valley, and home of Sierra Nevada's original brewery, and finished at their new North Carolina brewery. These camps partnered with close to a hundred local breweries in each state to provide great beer, good food, and live music.
After the festival tour was over, Sierra Nevada decided to partner with 12 breweries to co-create a limited run of beers like this one. Hoppy Lager is the offspring of Sierra Nevada and Ballast Point in San Diego.
Sierra Nevada 2015 Beer Camp Hoppy Lager
The Hoppy Lager is exactly what it sounds like. At just 55 IBU, this isn't a bitter beer, but it is a lager, and it is hoppy.
Nose: Hops. Fresh lemon.
Taste: Soft, sweet head. Fresh grapefruit, milky finish.
Recommendation: Yes and yes. Buy this spring seasonal before it's gone! It's a one and done brew, and won't be around long.
It's easy to confuse hoppy and bitter, so here's a brief explanation:
Hops flavor, on the other hand, come later. To get that hoppy IPA feel, hops flowers must be added to the brew "cold," or after the cooking is done. This adds that special grapefruit tinge, without any of the bitterness.
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