Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. Actually, it's not just today. I've been sucking these things down for a few weeks now since this vintage hit the shelves. So I'm just making it official for the year, a review I can do without really concentrating at all.
Anyway, this will be the fourth year in a row reviewing this beer. I only really mention that because of the first year I gave an opinion on it. Holy Cow! Was 1 vs. 100! Here is last year's review, where you can easily be linked to the other years as well. I think what mostly happened is that I have developed into a closet hophead and enjoy this beer more and more every year. It's tough to drink this beer without developing a liking for intense hoppy bitterness.
Big fluffy head. Malty aroma--bread dough, sweet orange, fruity, very pleasant. Fruity orange and caramel, great flavors to start. Pine flavors aggressively attack with a bitter army and leave a resinous stickiness in the mouth that persists for a long time. Citrusy lemon and orange rinds further the bitter experience. Hoppy and floral as well.
Carbonation is big, yet very nice and creamy. Fresh and refreshing. Bitter wins by a mile. You finish a bit drier, feeling the alcohol just a little at the end. This is a great beer, no doubt. But there is definitely this distinct medicinal undertone, something a little beyond chewing lemon rinds, that I wish would go away. Probably a lot of other people taste that too, but very few are willing to say anything negative about this beer. I don't get it. It's like it can do no wrong. You can trust me, though. :)