We’ve all seen how weather-related crop shortages can impact the hops segment of the craft beer industry. Now, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has reported that foul weather trounced its estate barley crop this year, forcing the brewery to forgo adding its estate barely in its beers — including the aptly-named Estate Ale. But like any innovative craft brewer, that isn’t keeping Sierra Nevada down.
Wind and rain ravaging crops reminds brewers and craft beer lovers alike that beer is an agricultural product. The brewery’s blog stated the barley crop didn’t meet Sierra Nevada’s high standards. The grain will likely head to a nearby dairy that can use it as a protein-rich feed supplement.
Instead of hanging its head, the brewery is taking the lemons and making lemonade, or in this case, taking other barley and making different beer.
From the Sierra Nevada website:
It’s a shame when good barley goes bad. This spring, the combined effect of double digit sustained winds and concentrated rainfall created major stress on the normal course of our barley maturation — our crop went down for the count. Instead of crying in our beer—or lack thereof—we decided to do one better and make something new. Featuring organic malts and our estate-grown wet hops, this black IPA is the evil twin of our legendary Estate Ale. Black in color with a mild roasty flavor and moderate body, this beer has a bold citrusy and earthy hop flavor and aroma from the use of our own wet hops. We’d never let one bad harvest get in the way of a great beer, so join us in a toast to the memory of our devastating season.
DevESTATEion Ale is slated for release this September, the same time Estate Ale would have hit shelves.