Aside from college football, one of the things I really look forward to in the fall is the fresh-hop beers that come around. For the uninitiated, fresh-hop beers are those made with, er, fresh hops instead of pelletized hops. Hops are harvested in the fall and the fresh-hop beers are made soon after harvest time. The beers tend to be extra flavorful and delicious.
Thanks to Sierra Nevada, we don’t have to wait for fall to have a fresh-hop beer. Sierra Nevada recently introduced its Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale, which uses fresh hops from New Zealand, where hops are harvested in the spring instead of the fall because the seasons run opposited down there. The Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale can be found in bottles at BevMo and other good bottle shops, and on tap at various bars around San Diego. I guess it was introduced in May but only recently made it to San Diego.
According to the label on the bottles, Sierra Nevada made arrangements to get the hops from New Zealand and begin brewing with them at Sierra Nevada’s brewery in Chico within a week after harvest time. It was worth the effort. The Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale has the characteristics of a good fresh-hop ale, and is a nice treat.
Here’s some more info, from the Sierra Nevada Web site:
|alcohol content 6.7% by volume
||yeast Ale Yeast
|beginning gravity 14.7 Plato
||bittering hops Pacific Halertau
|ending gravity 3.9 Plato
||finishing hops New Zealand Motueka & New Zealand Southern Cross
|bitterness units 66
||malts Pale & Caramel
Drinking beer out of a can usually means drinking beer I’m not all that crazy about. Yeah, you can find Newcastle in cans and that’s certainly not bad, but it’s not exactly a microbrew.
There is a new exception, though. Colorado brewery Oskar Blues recently began distributing its beers to San Diego, and the one thing that sets Oskar Blues apart from other craft brewers is that it sells its beer in cans (and on draft) but not in bottles. I can only assume they got a great deal on a canning machine or something, as I don’t know any craft beer aficionados who actually prefer beer in a can over beer in a bottle.
I tried the Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale and Gordon IPA on tap at some local bars and while I thought both were decent, I didn’t see myself ordering them again unless there was a specific reason to. That reason came last weekend, when Mrs. Beer & Burritos and I went to the Over-The-Line tournament at Fiesta Island. Thanks to a special permit, people were allowed to bring beer to the tournament, but of course the beer had to be in cans and not in glass.
I picked up some cans of Dale’s Pale at the La Jolla BevMo and they turned out to be a very nice companion to the Over-The-Line debauchery. For now at least, it will be my go-to beer when I have to drink something from a can.
The Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, organizers of the annual Over-The-Line tournament, aren’t letting the beach (and bay) alcohol ban stand in their way. They’ve gotten a special permit that will allow people to drink alcohol during this year’s tourney, which runs this weekend and next (July 12-13 and 19-20.
Amazingly, the special permit even allows people to bring their own alcohol to the event. Here’s a photo that shows where alcohol will (and won’t) be allowed (click on it to see a larger version).
For those unfamiliar with the Over-The-Line tournament, it’s a form of softball with three-person teams and generally involves a lot of drinking. The tournament is open to 1,200 teams that play 2,400 games over the two weekends, with an expected 52,000 people attending (not sure if that’s 52,000 each of the four days or 52,000 total, meaning about 13,000 each day).
For more info on the event, including how to get there by bus or trolley, go to the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club site.
Note: The image of the woman doing a beer bong above is stolen from the shotlivephoto flickr set. Another flickr set can be found here. Note: These sets contain images with nudity and debauchery. Click at your own risk.
With 50 taps, some award-winning house brews and my favorite bartender in town (Tyson), the San Diego Brewing Co. is always worth going to. And if you go there this week, you can try a special release from Sierra Nevada, an imperial pilsner called Super 7.
Here’s some background on Super 7, courtesy of Brewsky at the Bar:
Sierra Super 7 was brewed at Beer Camp #1, a program in which bar owners are invited to Chico to tour the Sierra Nevada brewery and develop a recipe to be brewed in Sierra’s 10-barrel pilot brewery. Super 7 will be on tap at the Beer Camp participating bars: San Diego Brewing Co. and its sister restaurants, Callahan’s and Jose O’Reilly’s in San Diego and JJ Brewsky’s in Camarillo. Tavern Service Co. in Northridge will be selling kegs.
The beer was named for all the “7”‘s that kept popping up during planning and brewing this beer, including the final ABV of 7.77 percent.