As Sierra Nevada Brewing puts their newest seasonal release, it’s “fresh from the field to the glass with no stops along the way.” With the third installment of Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Ale Series, they introduce a beer that is close to the brewery’s heart. Chico Estate Harvest Ale is a beer made with hops grown just feet from the brew house. They grow the hops themselves, pick them, and put them directly into the beer, still bursting with the signature flavors that have put Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. on the map. Hops this fresh can be found nowhere else.
By stealing a page from the winemaker’s playbook, Chico Estate Harvest Ale will use all of the hops grown in the brewery fields for one big full-flavored Sierra Nevada beer. Typically, hops are collected and dried for use throughout the year, but as they dry, the precious oils and resins break down and some of the big flavors become muted. With Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Ale series, the brewery takes care to use the freshest hops possible, and in the case of Chico Estate and fall Harvest Ales, they use only “wet” or undried hops to add not only bitterness, but the full range of character and flavors that the small but mighty hop has to offer.
The Chico Estate Harvest Ale was originally called 20th Street Ale, and was available only on draft. At the end of August, it will be bottled for the first time under the new name.