Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Sierra Nevada: Snow Wit (White IPA)
Beer Deluxe, Fed Square Melbourne
“Anyone for hoppy snow cones?”
As mentioned previously in my review of Sierra Nevada’s outstanding Blindfold Black IPA, the Chico, Northern California-based brew masters have this year released a four-part IPA series to rival that of BrewDog and their IPA is Dead annual release series. Instead of honing in on one single hop variety as BrewDog have done, Sierra Nevada went for showcasing varying IPA styles; all the while showing off their talents with hop growth, blending and experimentation.
Snow Wit White IPA closely rivals its blackened brother in terms of its class and character, however it differs immensely on a variety of levels beyond simple style. At surface level, it straddles the boundary between Belgian wheat beer and IPA so delicately that it might as well be a circus performer walking the tightrope – without a net to catch its fall. Look a little deeper and you will find that no fewer than seven hop varieties were used here; dwarf hops no less (as the name Snow Wit suggests). “Dwarf hops?” I hear you query. The long and the (very) short of it is that growing hops in hedgerows rather than the more traditional method yield hop cones that have denser, more concentrated flavours that differ slightly from those grown in the usual fashion. *
A strong head quickly dissipates, leaving behind solid lacing. It is like the snow melting before a sunny day ensues. The aroma is pungent and heavy with lemon zest and peel. Following through is massive grapefruit zest, and complex herbal undertones.
Snow Wit’s mouthfeel is as dense and as rich as the flavours that follow; the entire palate is treated to a feast of delights. Smooth but rollicking and rolling flavours of fleshy orange, banana and an undertone of bready dough lead from the front, before huge, and I mean huge, grapefruit bitterness hits behind the molars. It is little wonder that the flavour profile of Snow Wit is so immense given the amount of hops used and the method in which they were cultivated. Moreover, Sierra Nevada is all about balance with their ales. Snow Wit continues this trend. It is enormously drinkable while being wonderfully complex.