The start of Port Street Beer House’s American Beer Festival starting Mon 27th June, until the beer runs out, is clearly an ideal time to review Torpedo, an IPA from one of America’s most respected craft beer pioneers Sierra Nevada. On the second day of this wonderful festival, our favourite craft beer venue is buzzing with talk, tastings and trialling of an array of beers that would put any respectable beer sampling adventure at DEFCON 1.
So Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo it is. It sits there, arrogant and assertive in my PSBH glass, a golden copper colour, ready to give my senses a run for their money. From the moment the glass is lifted, the sharp spicy aroma hits the nose, with strong strains of citrus and pine cones. Suddenly I’m camping in northern California, lying prostrate with my face in the pine needle strewn earth.
If I had to pick three words to describe this bold, year-round IPA, they would be ‘hop’, ‘hop’ and ‘hop’ again. Copious amounts of hops are this Chico, CA brewery’s trademark, and it’s no more evident than in this 7.2% ABV package of liquid heaven. Moreover, it’s whole-cone hops that Sierra Nevada uses to produce Torpedo. Concerned about long-term hop quality post-harvest, some brewers eschew the natural form in favour of a processed, pelletized version, but not Sierra Nevada. They have managed to consistently harness the full hop aroma from the whole-cone form using a mechanism they developed for dry hopping – with a stainless steel device called the Hop Torpedo. And so the name. Magnum and Crystal hops are the backbone for this brew, and in the dry hopping stage the torpedo injects Citra, a relatively new US hybrid hop variety.
So. At the end of this review I find Torpedo to be bold and totally full of character. There’s a huge bitterness that’s nicely balanced by a bready malt flavour. And the crisp dry finish makes me think my glass is very empty indeed. The bar beckons.
Brewer: Sierra Nevada
Words by by DJ Adams – http://www.pipetree.com/qmacro/