Hemp beers (and let’s be honest, they’re almost all IPAs) have been around for a solid minute. Today, we examine Sweetwater’s entry into this trend, which is dominated mostly by brewpubs at the moment.
For their foray into hemp beer, Sweetwater has chosen to take its venerable 420 Extra Pale Ale and shake it up with the application of Columbus and Simcoe hops, and proprietary terpenes that they wed to hemp flavor. Once you pop the top on a bottle of this beer, you will immediately be brought back to your college days. Maybe for better, maybe for worse.
Blue moon you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper "Please adore me"
And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold!
-Rodgers and Hart
Abita Brewing’s Andygator is a perennial favorite in the Pine Belt region. It's a beer that has had multiple iterations, but it settled into its current Helles Doppelbock mode after Hurricane Katrina. The first time I tasted this beer it was still an American-style barleywine, and the Abita Springs brewery was where Abita Brewing was headquartered. Helles means bright, and Doppelbock means two bocks, so imagine a pale version of Shiner Bock with twice the alcohol, and you'll have less than half the story.
This month’s Signature Sip selection is Sierra Nevada Celebration 2018. This beer is among the most eagerly anticipated annual offerings from Sierra Nevada: a fresh hop IPA (India Pale Ale) in classic West Coast style. The malt backbone is classic Sierra Nevada, with just enough richness and sweetness to float the hops along. The hops are, of course, the big star, and this beer offers up the three Big Cs: Chinook, Centennial and Cascade.