A tale of two hemispheres

Hops, as with all herbs, suffer from age. Those volatile compounds which make up the wonderful aromas are escaping all of the time and being lost at every stage of the process; from being disturbed on picking and drying, to being compressed on packing. Hops being left for too long become shadows of their former selves. Feeling that it was perhaps unfair that hops should not be showcased in their full glory, Sierra Nevada chose to use some freshly harvested hops in two beers with the same base recipe. They're released 6 months apart as the USA and NZ hop harvests are similarly spaced.

I tried the Southern Hemisphere harvest back in July last year. The hops (NZ hallertauer, motueka and southern cross)are picked, dried and arrive for brewing within a week.  Here's what I thought then:
A wonderful fresh hop aroma of mangos and resinous pine in this red-amber beer. It forms a thick creamy head. Initially tastes of tropical fruit and toasted malt followed by orange pith with a sweet hoppy finish. Easy drinking for its strength due to the light carbonation and hidden alcohol.

Two tasty beers.
I enjoyed it so much I tried it again 9 months on. Those hop flavours have certainly subdued now but still plenty of body in there. Its obtained the marmalade flavours that are often present in aged IPAs but still a lovely beer.

The Northern Hemisphere version uses the hops (centennial, cascade) even fresher, they're not even dried and are from field to kettle within 24 hours.
Dark amber with resinous pine, mango and orange peel on the nose. Strongly bitter with more pine, high carbonation and a tropical bitter finish. I preferred the New Zealand hopped version actually, this one being perhaps too piney to become almost car freshener. But a minor quibble really as I still scored it higher than many other DIPAs I've rated.


  1. They sound wonderful, I'd love to get my hands on both of these at some point in the future!

  2. You should definitely look out for them, they're 650ml bottles and around £6-7 usually

  3. I've been thinking of ordering a bottle or two of these, but was worried that they might be too old to justify the expense. Good to hear that they're still enjoyable even when not in freshest condition!

  4. Well the northern hemisphere is newer and new southern hemisphere must be out soon!

  5. Time to get out the credit card then!

    Would you happen to have any idea whether there's a regular supply of them to the British Isles (i.e., whether the new release of Southern Hemisphere is likely to show up)? They certainly seem much more elusive over here than a lot of the other Sierra Nevada beers...

  6. think its james clay, so drop them a line