Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Hoppy Lager, now available as a limited-edition 2015 Spring seasonal, is a hop-heavy twist on the classic blonde lager.
Beer Camp is Sierra Nevada’s ultimate brewing experience. Their team brings beer fans into the Sierra Nevada brewery nearly every week to create their own beer with the professionals — the more daring the better — and each spring Sierra Nevada will highlight one of the small-batch standouts. Last year, Beer Camp worked overtime. Along with their fan brews, Sierra Nevada made 12 additional beers with 12 exceptional breweries. As one could imagine, choosing just one for an encore wasn’t easy. Ever drawn to hops, the Sierra Nevada team decided to reimagine their Hoppy Lager collaboration with Ballast Point.
Sierra Nevada has recognized that there is a general misconception regarding the bitterness of beer versus how hoppy a beer tastes. A beer’s IBU number is based on a measurement of how much bitter hop acid is in the packaged beer. Hoppiness on the other hand, is a relative thing and can’t be put into numbers. If both bitterness and hoppiness come from adding hops to beer, how can bitterness and hoppiness be disconnected?
Their answer is that bitterness comes from adding hops to the kettle. There, the boiling process causes a chemical change in the hops (isomerization) which allows the resinous acids to mix with the liquid without separating out. Adding hops to the kettle after the boiling has stopped or adding hops into the fermenter (such as in dry hopping or our hop torpedo process) allows hop oils to mix with the beer—the source of most of the hop flavor and aroma—without adding bitterness. A beer can be hoppy but not bitter, and vice versa, but looking only at IBU doesn’t give a good measure of the hop flavor in a finished beer.
Try this liquid and you will understand! Then, stop by and grab a pack of Hoppy Lager at a retailer near you before it’s gone. Cheers!