Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

...And we round off the weekend with a ridiculously-named offering from perennial favourites Sierra Nevada. Although SN can't do much wrong in my eyes, Hoptimum's (10.4%bv) a puzzling one. Awesome label artwork aside (Reminiscent of Kevin O'Neill's artwork), the name of the beer precedes it; you know what's coming. Hops - and lots of them. Pouring that usual cracking SN shade of Amber, you bring Hoptimum to your nose and get....well, not a lot. A touch of Pine, some florals and that all-too-familiar Grapefruity fruity note. Oh well. Then the sip - Bang! A smack of hops, coming stealthily after some smooth, sweet caramel notes, but it's the massive, high bitterness that catches you off - guard with this one; high, green and bitter. Really Bitter.

Don't get me wrong - I like the concept of Hoptimum. The US market, and in some ways the UK, demand more hops these days - but there's something about Hoptimum that doesn't sit right. It's a smooth beer - and as sweet as you'd expect, having to outweigh that formidable hop attack - but the finish is all jumbled up, and I can't really pick out one hop aspect above all other. Simcoe, perhaps - as it's Piney as hell -but aside from that, it's just really, really bitter.

Maybe the size of the bottle helps this overwhelming feeling - a half, perhaps, served in good nick, would reduce Hoptimum to 'An interesting Drop'. But when I look at the depth of hop freshness SN achieve with their Harvest series, I wonder whether Hoptimum is just a little too much. And to stress the O'Neill artwork link, Hoptimum, for me remains much like Alan Moore's excellent comics - a strange Curio.


Cat said...

Loving the blog. As a fellow Yorkshire(wo)man I've been known to appreciate a beer or two in my time. The pictures and content are great.

Anonymous said...

My bottle's waiting in the fridge still so I'll let you know what I think after I try it. I thought the (amazing) label was reminiscent of Tony Millionaire's comic art:

Leigh said...

Thanks Cat - nice to meet you. Nicky - thanks man, I'll check that out. Waiting to hear what you thought of this badboy.

Matt Gorecki said...

Interesting, I've a couple of bottles in the larder. The double IPA is extremely difficult to pull off. I've tried a few but Flying Dog Double Dog is the best I've found so far - worth a comparison Leigh?

Leigh said...

Matt - let us know what you think but I think the FD was a little more balanced. Absolutely worth a comparison, though.