Sierra Nevada – Harvest – Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop IPA (USA)

Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Fresh Hop IPA turns the tables on the current Southern Hemisphere trend. Whilst, increasingly, Southern Hemisphere breweries try to emulate  the hop-packed flavours of American-style IPA’s, this American IPA uses fresh New Zealand grown hops to create a more smooth yet complex brew.


Sierra Nevada Harvest - Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop IPA ..... it's a bit of a mouthful!
Sierra Nevada Harvest – Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop IPA ….. it’s a bit of a mouthful!


I’m a fan of the the Sierra Nevada brewery, its beers are full of taste and character and this member of its Harvest series is no different. Colour-wise it reminds me of my last beer, the Young’s Special London Ale, a beautiful orangey-brown. The aroma is fresh and floral as you’d expect with an IPA. The surprise comes with the taste. Unlike the beefed-up IPA’s, like Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo, this one is more subtle. The taste is hard to put your finger on, but the blend of Southern Cross, Pacifica, and Motueka hops makes for a fresh and exciting brew. There’s a characteristic bitter citrus finish, just enough to bring you back for more ….. but beware, weighing in at 6.7%, it’s not beer for guzzling ……. unless you like that kind of thing!


Here’s another American pale, Neil Young, with ‘Harvest Moon’ …….




Young’s Special London Ale (ENG)

I always get excited when I try a new Young’s ale, I just know it’s going to be good. I was a convert for their Banana Bread Beer and an evangelist for their Double Chocolate Stout. How would they go with a beer flavoured ale? Well, there’s a clue in the name ………. ‘special’ is one way to describe it.

Young's London Ale ......... it's a bit special!
Young’s London Ale ……… it’s a bit special!


It pours nicely into the glass, with beautiful fat bubbles from its bottle conditioning.  The colour of toffee caramel, a warm orangey brown, there’s a sweetness on the nose,  (toffee apples spring to mind) but the taste is more complex. Toffee, yes, but three’s also layers of bitterness with hints of kumquat and olde English marmalade. I drank this a little cooler than I normally would but the subtleties of the taste still shone through. A thoroughly refreshing pint, it would go well with another bottle of Special London Ale.

Here’s something else a bit special, London Grammar with ‘Strong’ …….


Moa – Special Edition Southern Alps White IPA (NZ)

So it’s time for some of New Zealand’s finest, the Moa. It’s taken a while to come to terms with this Special Edition, sometimes things can leave a nasty taste the mouth. No, not the beer, that’s ‘choice’, the nasty taste comes from the Bledisloe Cup game on Saturday night. My night, like the game, started well. I was out of the blocks quickly with a thirst-quenching NSW Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. I soon moved the ever-reliable South Australian Coopers Pale, strong up the middle and solid in defence. The Coopers performed well and lasted up until the 80th minute of the game when it all went Pete Tongan and the Men In Black came back to win at the death . Now, that really left me feeling bitter.

Moa - Southern Alps White IPA
Moa – Southern Alps White IPA – leaves a bitter taste in the mouth …. but in a good way!

I tried one of these after the game. It worked, and I soon forgot all about the result. So good was it, that I had another one this evening. It isn’t quite white but it’s certainly pale in colour. The aroma is strong, like you’d expect from a 6.4% ale, there is acetone and pine needles on the nose. The taste explodes on the tongue, hints of elderflower and lip-smacking hoppy bitterness. The tastes lingers and draws you back for another sip. Moa, like the All Blacks, are at the top of their game and this Southern Alps White IPA is the Kieran Read of pales, world-class. Combining both Black and White, here’s Jack White with ‘That Black Bat Licorice’ ………….

Cascade First Harvest (TAS)

Cascade First Harvest is a limited edition ale from one of Australia’s oldest breweries. The Hobart-based brewers’ 2014 edition comes in a vintage style bottle celebrating their 190 year brewing tradition. Tasmania is renowned for its quality produce and this ale sits nicely with that reputation.

Cascade First Harvest ....... first class
Cascade First Harvest ……. first class


My particular bottle is flavoured by a range of 3 different locally grown hops (Macquarie, Brooker & Argyle) picked and brewed on 12th March 2014. It’s another English-style pale ale, but quite removed from the William’s Pale of the last post. This one is a reddish amber in colour and holds a great head. It tastes fresh and young, like the hops it’s made from but there’s a certain complexity too. There’s hints of caramel toffee with a kumquat bitter finish. It really is quite mouth-watering.

There is an ephemeral beauty in a limited edition, this won’t be around for long so go and grab one now. The First Harvest is first class first quencher ……. and I’d like a second!

With a song that just makes me want to ride a horse into the sunset, here’s First Aid Kit with ‘My Silver Lining’ …………………


William’s Organic Pale Ale – William Bull Brewery (AUS)

The William Bull Brewery is unsurprisingly named after a chap called “William Bull” (Billy B to his mates) and was founded by the De Bortoli family. The renowned wine makers originally brewed ale for consumption by the vineyard workers and branched out in to craft brewing about 10 years ago. The Bilbul-based Bull Brewey (try saying that after a 6-pack or 2) produces a range of ales but the Organic Pale is the first I’ve come across.

William's Organic Pale Ale .... it's organic, no bull!
William’s Organic Pale Ale …. it’s organic, no bull!


Now, before all you photo-nazis start pointing out that the picture isn’t straight, it’s the post that not straight. so just tilt your head to the left or your screen to right.

This organic pale is pale indeed, pouring a very clear white gold into the glass. There’s a mild aroma of rock melon and light carbonation. It’s a refreshing ale, more reminiscent of an English pale than an American one, I think this would be great on draught.  There’s malt mixed with a subtle citrus bitterness. A great quaffing ale, and being organic, it’s good for the environment too. What’s not to like?

Here’s the environmentally friendly, vegetarian and organically brilliant Smiths with “William It Was Really Nothing” …. great TOTP countdown too ……

Leffe Radieuse (BEL)

Belgians know how to brew beer. The Belgians at the Leffe Brewery have being doing their thing since 1240. That’s the year 1240, not the time. Traditionally, the beer was brewed by monks, some say this was because they weren’t allowed out of the abbey to go to the pub. I for one am glad they stayed in and put their time to good use.Leffe


Leffe Radieuse is a thing of beauty. Amber in colour, it is clear as a bell with a uniform, tightly bubbled head.  It’s  quite sweet on the nose with a hint of barley wine. I’m not a fan of barley wine, but the Radieuse stops just short. It’s a sipping beer that weighs in at hefty 8.2% and is better left to warm a little.  The taste is complex and bittersweet with hints of orange peel. Possibly the original boutique beer, it is one for the connoisseur.

Drink with moules et frittes ………….. et chocolat

Here’s another for the connoisseur, Radieusehead with the achingly beautiful ‘House of Cards’ ………..

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Fursty Ferret – Badger Brewery (ENG)

‘Fursty Ferret’ by Badger Brewery conjures images of the English countryside, tweed caps and Jack Russels. Brewed by Hall & Woodhouse in rural Dorset, the ‘Ferret’ is a rustic amber ale and simple as a county bumpkin.

Badgers' Fursty Ferret ...... has the taste of the hedgerow about it
Badgers’ Fursty Ferret …… has the taste of the hedgerow about it


I found it a little disappointing and somewhat nondescript. It’s very agricultural in nature, reminiscent of a flat, weak, home-brew ….. I half expected to find a piece of straw in it! It might work better as a draft ale, served via a pump but from the bottle, there’s too much of the ferret in it for my liking. Hall & Woodhouse have been brewing since 1777 and with 237 years practice you’d think they would have got it right by now. No first prize here.

Best drunk with Dorset Knobs.

Here’s Dorset’s greatest export, Polly Jean Harvey, with John Parish,  sounding a lot like Television with “Black Hearted Love” ……..

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