Sierra Nevada Flipside: Better than a Phil Spector B-Side

Next up, Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA:


Brewers tend to focus their seasonal energy on the main seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. However, Flipside appears to be a beer meant for the fleeting seasonal moment between Summer and Fall. The weather is cooling, but nobody has yet earned the right to be kicked in the nuts for uttering the term “leaf peeping”. It’s kind of like a Summer Flipside/B-Side beer, akin to the old recording practice of putting the song not intended to be the focal point of the vinyl single on the flipside. Yes, vinyl…as in records.

phonograph dj

Of course, B-side quality varies. Phil Spector wanted DJs only to play the A-side track. So, if Phil Spector was your producer, you were just as guaranteed to have a shit song on your B-side as you were to be chased around the studio at gunpoint by your producer dressed in a karate outfit. On the other hand, sometimes Flipsides ended up just as important, or more so, than the A-side. Case in point, the Smiths. The B-side to “William, It Was Really Nothing” (you know…the brooding, depressing one about unrequited love) was “How Soon Is Now?” (the brooding, depressing one about unrequited love), which ended up one of their most well-known songs.

Yes, Morrissey. Tasty, tasty murder.

Yes, Morrissey. Tasty, tasty murder.

Now for Sierra Nevada’s Flipside. It pours a clear copper with a big, off-white head that hangs around a bit like it just wants to be loved. It’s dark enough that it looks less like an end of Summer affair and more like a Fall ditty, à la Red Hoptober. The smell says otherwise. It smells lively, with some grapefruit and none of the 10-ton truck malt that I was expecting (don’t get me wrong, that would have been heavenly). And in the taste, the Citra, Simcoe, and Centennial work hand in glove, with light tropical and citrus, particularly grapefruit. There is a little earthiness and perhaps some spice that I thought was a little rye in the malt bill. But I was wrong. No rye. I’m so sorry. Lastly, it finishes somewhat dry (but not overly so) in a final nod to Summer.

It’s not mind-blowing by any measure, but I think it’s pretty good. Though, Morrissey would say: I was looking for some hops, then I found some hops. And heaven knows I’m miserable now…actually, maybe not. Maybe this beer would even make Morrissey happy.

The Haybag: It’s decent. Who the hell is this whiny Morrissey guy? Is this another one of your 80s things that I allegedly don’t understand because I’m all of 5 years younger?


Sierra Nevada – Hoptimum: In Search of the Elusive Hopps Boson

Next up, Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum:

Hoptimum is a diabolical Imperial IPA with a gansy-load of whole-cone hops, including Sierra Nevada’s own secret proprietary hops. For bittering they use German Magnum. Later in the boil and for dry-hopping they use Simcoe and their secret hops. Then they “torpedo” Citra and Chinook. Sierra Nevada’s website is a little coy on the specifics of their torpedoing process, but it seems they run the hot wort through whole-cone hops on the way to cooling and fermentation. A little Internet research, however, reveals that Sierra Nevada actually built a giant, underground hop accelerator, which propels hops and wort at each other at high speeds.

Actual leaked photo.

So now we’ll know why the tear in the spacetime continuum happens in Chico, CA, and not the Franco-Swiss border.

We're all going to die! And it's Sierra Nevada's fault.

It pours a clear orange-gold. The white, rocky head quickly dissipates and leaves some scattered Maldives lacing. You couldn’t swing a cat without hitting hop aroma up in here…resin, grapefruit, mango, peaches. As for the taste: Resin, citrus, tropical fruit, woodiness, and a little earthiness. And as it warms, the resin and the tropical fruit really stand out. It has a nice bitter finish that lasts for like 10 minutes and is dry despite all the sweet stickiness lingering around on the glass afterwards. Their bittering hops, German Magnum, have a high alpha acid content (high bitterness) but relatively low cohumulone content (imparts more of a clean bitterness than high cohmulone hops)…but we’ll save the technobabble for the Hop-epedia Project.

I’ll definitely get this again. And even better: Although it’s a special release, I didn’t have to fight for it.

The Haybag: This beer is excellent. It’s a must try for any hop head.

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale (Wet Hop Ale)

I don’t want to become the crotchety guy who just bitches about beer he doesn’t like. So, here’s one I liked.  It’s Sierra Nevada’s Estate Homegrown Ale.

This is a wet hop ale that Sierra Nevada brewed with hops and barley grown on their own property, which is strange because I think Chico, CA, may be better known for other homegrown crops.

"Textiles" crop.

It pours a lovely copperish-orange, with a nice, white, big-bubbled head.  It kind of smells like a sauvignon blanc…er, what I meant to say is: what kind of self-respecting male would drink a sauvignon blanc?  Let’s try again.  The hop aroma is pretty strong grapefruit, with some herbal zippiness.

As for the taste, drinking this beer feels just shy of taking part in a (fully-clothed) grapefruit-themed fraternity hazing ritual.

Like this...but with your face.

There is some pine and herbal quality to the hops as well, but mainly grapefruit.  And despite the fact that this is a hop monster, there is some decent malt character in there to balance it.  This is a well-crafted beer.  Get this if you like being brutalized by hoppy, but not-over-the-top, beers.

The Haybag: It’s a pretty good beer.  In hoppy beers, though, I prefer the orange-citrus or floral hop character to the grapefruit bomb.  And I would have preferred a little more sweetness as a backbone.  You’re still crotchety.