Every year the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co of Chico, California collaborates with 12 breweries and their fans for a mixture of brews collectively known as Beer Camp. In 2014 the stand out was a brew made with San Diego’s Ballast Point and so has been resurrected as a spring seasonal in 2015. The Hoppy Lager is a strong Blonde lager with a heavy hop twist. Brewed to a heavy 7.0% ABV and an agreeable 55 IBU’s the Hoppy Lager is the perfect early spring brew. In addition to a lager yeast the hop manifest includes Palisade and El Dorado as bittering hops and Citra and Equinox as finishing hops.
Pouring out a bright, clear golden hay colour the body has a solid stream of carbonation and is capped by a dense cap of pure white head. The aroma is fresh and heavily accented with citrus hop notes. Light floral and spicy hops add a nice dimension to the hop profile. Impossibly light caramel and crisp bread malts have a touch of honey sweetness akin to the blonde style. Crisp lemon and grapefruit notes and a mild acidic crunch towards the finish. Overall the bitterness is moderate and mostly negated by the cascade of finishing hop flavours. Light floral and perfumey notes blend with zesty lemon and grapefruit notes. A pinch of pine resin on the aftertaste with moderate astringency and a heavy lager esque mouthfeel. A nice brew overall with a bit of a unique take on the style. My only wish is that we Albertans could get our hands on Sierra Nevada’s products.
Situated in Las Vegas, Nevada the Tenaya Creek Brewing Company has slowly crept onto Alberta beer shelves over the past year with a selection of a few flagship beers to start. This past week we received a slew of seasonal brews from the Sin City brewer which included the Double IPA known as Monsoon. Monsoon is brewed with Cascade and whole flower Mt. Hood hops with a sturdy ABV of 8.5%. Despite having one of the worst labels I’ve personally seen I know not to judge a book by its cover. During my trip to Las Vegas to celebrate finishing University I remember sitting in the pub in the Monte Carlo enjoying a few of Tenaya Creek’s beers. For me Tenaya Creek beers are associated with the Vegas experience I had; one of fun and celebration.
Monsoon pours out a bright golden orange colour with a thick and sticky off white head that looks truly appetizing. Large blobs of lacing coat the entire glass showing evidence of a solid fresh hop content. Taking my first solid sniff of Monsoon I notice a very fruit forward, resin filled aroma of grapefruit, tropical fruits, pine and a light herbal hop note. The malts are mostly non-evident in the aroma with the hop presence being rather strong. The first sip has a mild malty sweetness with flavors of caramel and toasted bread coming through with a general fruit flavor. A bunch of grapefruit, pear and pineapple notes become apparent after a second before the hops force their way through. There is a solid bitterness at first with a moderate acidity and a resinous smack on the finish. A fairly heavy bitterness and pine resin flavor lingers for close to a 30 seconds before subsiding. Monsoon has quite a heavy hitting hop profile with a good balance of sweet malt and fruity notes to balance out well. Overall a solid Double IPA from Tenaya Creek despite the horrendous label.