Friday, May 28, 2010

Beer of the Week (Vol. LVII)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the visionary folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you reach the summit of your drinking needs. Stop by and stock up today for Memorial Day weekend.

One of the first nationally distributed craft breweries that caught my attention when I began my conversion to good beer was Sierra Nevada. The Chico, California brewery has a rich history and in the world of American micro brews, a long one. They were one of the first craft breweries that was widely available and also one of the first to "hop up" their beer with their flagship Pale Ale. It was one of first really hoppy beers that I experienced and over the years it's become a reliable go to beer when looking for good hop flavor.

Nowadays, there's a veritable "hops race" going on between American craft brewers, with many trying to "out hop" the competition by coming out with hoppier and hoppier offerings. Compared to the bevy of heavily hopped beers now available, Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale seems pretty tame. While their winter Celebration Ale is a hop sensation and one of my all-time favorite beers, Sierra Nevada didn't have an especially hoppy beer in their standard lineup.

Until last fall, when they added Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA:

Torpedo celebrates the brewery's dedication to 100% whole-cone hops all the way through the brewing process. The name itself comes from a device called the "hop torpedo" that was conceived, designed and developed at the brewery. The result is a revolutionary method of dry-hopping that harnesses the vital hop oils and resins that lead to an unusually flavorful and aromatic beer featuring the full, nuanced range of spicy complexity that hops have to offer. Designed with a mixture of hop varietals, each with their own unique character, Torpedo Extra IPA has layers of flavors ranging from citrus, herbs, black pepper and pine, with delicate hints of tropical fruit.

A hop torpedo? And people say America's best days are behind us?

Standard Sierra Nevada short brown bottle. Label also reflects the Sierra Nevada design (font, logo, etc.) with Kelly green background and lots of voluptuous hops.

Beer Style: American IPA

Alcohol by Volume: 7.2%

COLOR (0-2): Amber brown. 2

AROMA (0-2): Lovely scents of pine, citrus, and hops. 2

HEAD (0-2): Bright white, thick with good volume. Nice lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Strong flavors of rich hoppy goodness with a bite. At 7.2% it also has a little heat. Medium-bodied with some carbonation. Crisp and surprisingly drinkable considering the full flavors. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Dry with a sharp finish. 2

OVERALL (0-6): A very good American IPA. Not for the faint of heart, but if you like bold, hoppy beers Torpedo IPA will prove a very satisfying selection. While maybe not quite in the top echelon of double IPAs, it also isn't in their price range either. Hard to beat this when it comes to taste and value. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16