New Brew! Sierra Nevada Single Hop Idaho 7

Sierra Nevada idaho7-bottlepint
Sierra Nevada idaho7-bottlepint

Sierra Nevada really has my attention with its Harvest IPA series. No. 7 in the series released recently, and while I’m not sure I love it the way I loved the Wild Hop Neomexicanus from last year, the brand spanking new Single Hop Idaho 7 Varietal is pretty nice. The Harvest series, in case you’ve missed out to this point, explores diverse hopping methods with specific themes: single hop, fresh hop, wet hop and wild hop.

This dry-hopped IPA finishes clean and gets most of its character from the fruity nose on the Idaho-grown hop that Sierra Nevada brewers found when they apparently “stumbled upon a pioneering hop grower in western Idaho working with a handful of new and interesting varietals.”

Of course, it’s a single hop – Idaho 7 was used both for bittering and finishing – so it can only be so complex, but that’s part of what makes it interesting. The citrus nose with bouquets of orange and apricot gives way to a low-bitter (55 IBU) beer that is a perfect springtime sipper. And at 6.5 percent ABV, it’s not so big that you can’t have a couple.

I had the beer on draft at a Louisville, Ky., brewery by way of a guest tap – I’ll be interested to see what the bottled version is like, because the draft I had wasn’t as complex as I had expected, drinking much like an APA. Maybe the bottled version will carry a surprise for me. Still, the pale orange beer was a pleaser (hey, I like APAs), with an odd note in the bitterness that the Sierra Nevada description owes to a black tea character. Not sure I got the same, but it was intriguing nevertheless.

As I sipped a 20-ounce pint of the stuff, I more and more got a slight tartness mixed in with the bitterness, along with just a hint of sweetness from the two row and caramel malts. Again, it wasn’t anything mind-blowing (and I still also prefer the Hop Hunter IPA), but it was a solid summer IPA and a nice kick-off to the season.

Sierra Nevada suggests pairing it with dishes like steak tacos or lamb chops, as well as aged cheddar and dry Monterey Jack cheese. I had mine to wash down a pepperoni and garlic flatbread pizza, and it did just fine as a companion. I’d order another if I see it again.  And you can bet I’ll be on the lookout for a sixer.