Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ale’s Draught Picks: Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum

Hoptimum earns my top rating: Gangster.

I am loving 2011 when it comes to brewing innovation. It has been a great year so far thanks to the fantastic brews that I have had the pleasure of sipping in January. Already excited about featuring an unprecedented way beer has been served in my lifetime—hot as tea with the saucer and the whole nine thanks to Atlanta’s 5 Seasons (go here)—in the matter of a week, I have lots more to write about. Thank you, brew gods! With that being the case, I am starting a section on my site called “Ale’s Draught Picks” exclusively dedicated to limited edition beers that hit the shelves and taps, but when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Regarding brewing excellence, here is the first Draught Pick you have to snatch up: Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum.

The Bell’s Hopslam has definitely garnered the most hype year after year in the land of India Pale Ales (can you believe I haven’t tried this year’s edition yet?!), but even when I do, I truly believe Hoptimum deserves the same love, if not more.

God bless the hop!
Already the #2 selling craft brewery in the nation, Sierra has been celebrating its 30th year of brewing excellence in style. The year-round standards like the Pale Ale, Porter, Stout and Torpedo have a solid following, but I love how the seasonals and limited selections have been maintaining this California brewery’s thirst for innovation. Answering the growing demand for more hops, Sierra and their revered “Beer Camp” brewers did just that with the Hoptimum, one of the best IPAs I have had in a long time. It's a whole-cone Imperial IPA at 10.4 percent ABV boasts an astounding 100 IBUs (International Bitterness Units-check out the breakdown of what that means here), but is still well-balanced and quite simply, delicious! I’m talking an amber-orange color; the perfect thickness; the nose of pine, cedar and oranges; mouth-pleasing notes of grapefruit, and even a little honey and caramel; and a subtle, yet potent alcohol presence that warms the soul.

Available in a 24–ounce, robust bomber that’s hooked up with some pretty cool art: a whole hop cone dressed like a distinguished politician from the colonial days crowned with a cool futurist font full of serifs surrounded by a crest of hop vines.

This earns my top rating: Gangster.

Get a bottle. Now.

Here are the specs courtesy of the Sierra Nevada website:
Alcohol Content: 10.4% By Volume Bittering Hops: German Magnum
Beginning Gravity: 22.8 Plato Aroma Hops: Simcoe and New Proprietary Variety
Ending Gravity: 4.5 Plato Dry Hops: Simcoe and New Proprietary Variety
Bitterness Units: 100 Torpedo Hops: Citra and Chinook
Yeast: Ale Malts: Two-Row Pale, Golden Promise, Munich and Wheat

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