Chico, CA - It hurts to say, but weather dominated Sierra Nevada Brewing’s estate barley crop this year. We won’t be putting any of our own grain toward fall brews, namely Estate® Ale. Concentrated days of brutal, high winds as well as big rains–followed by basically no rain–simply overwhelmed the normal maturation of the barley.
But only briefly did we hang our heads. We decided to have some fun and brew Estate Ale’s evil alter ego, a black IPA we’re calling DevESTATEtion, using our estate hops and organic malt sourced from the Northwest.
From the Sierra Nevada Blog:
Wind, when moving swiftly, can hit you like a punch to the face. Well, we’d love to return an uppercut to wind’s jaw right about now. It’s one of the main factors that knocked out our estate barley this season.
Yes, there won’t be any estate barley going into fall brews, namely Estate® Ale. (We know; it’s a huge bummer. We could have malted the entire lot with the tears we shed.) Harvest was lackluster. While the crop didn’t meet our strict standards for brewing, the grain will likely head to a nearby dairy that can use it as a protein-rich feed supplement.
The beautiful, and occasionally vexing, reality of beer is that it’s an agricultural product. Key ingredients, hops and barley, are at the mercy of environmental conditions. Talented farmers labor to navigate nature’s ebbs and flows, but sometimes the sun plays lopsided games of peekaboo, rain abandons or overwhelms the soil, insects treat themselves to a meal (after meal, after meal…)—the litany of crappy “could-bes” is long.
The main culprits for us were wind and water.
About Sierra Nevada Brewing
Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s premier craft breweries, highly regarded for using only whole-cone hops and the finest quality ingredients. The pioneering spirit that launched Sierra Nevada spans more than three decades, with innovation emerging from both the brewhouse and sustainability initiatives. Sierra Nevada has set the standard for artisan brewers worldwide as a winner of numerous awards for its extensive line of beers including Pale Ale, Torpedo®, Porter, Stout, Kellerweis® and a host of seasonal, specialty and limited release beers. www.sierranevada.com - @SierraNevada - facebook