880: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Name: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Chico, California
Style: American Pale Ale (APA)
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.6%
First Brewed: 1980
Price: $0.99

Tasting Notes
Fresh grassy, resiny hop nose with orange undercurrents; also fruity with maybe just a hint of peachiness. In the mouth, it is crisp and dry up front, with a slightly toasty malt character that blends into a clean, assertive hop bitterness and a long, perfumed bitter finish.

Ricky’s Thoughts

They make this beer sound delicious… but it’s really not. I mean, it’s a good beer. But it’s not a great beer by any means. This is a beer that is for someone that doesn’t understand what craft beer is but wants to fit in at a party. Sure, Sierra Nevada makes some good beers. But this is just middle of the road in my opinion. I am impressed that a brewery can have such a hold on the market and that when someone thinks of a “pale ale” he or she generally thinks of Sierra Nevada. Sheryl called this beer, “boring”. Can’t say I disagree. But I will give this beer my FULL attention this evening.

In the Glass: I am really digging the color. It’s a thick, rich golden color and reminds me of an imperial pilsner. I have been hooked on the Odell double pilsner. Tastes better on draft, though. The head is a thin white layer on the top of the glass that just sits there begging to be drank. With as much as they produce of this beer, finding it is the easy part.

Nose: The aroma is that of a pale ale… subtle hop character with a simple, yet satisfying appeal. The aroma is nothing to write home about, and if they didn’t tell me they used only whole-cone hops in this, I would never have been able to guess.

Flavor: It’s been a while since I have had this beer, but it tastes about like what I remember. Initially there isn’t much going on, then the hops start to work. It almost reminds me of an early IPA, and as my palate has changed, the expectations of a strong, powerful beer have also changed. Very rarely will you see me order a pale ale. After the subtle IPA overtones, it settles to a typical pale ale finish leading to the somewhat disappointing aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is decent. It has an almost creamy character on the tongue, and shoves some subtle carnation to the top of the mouth. Then you swallow, expecting some of those characteristics to still be there… but they’re not. I guess for a beer that costs a buck a bottle, you can’t expect much in terms of complexity.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is nice, and while it sticks around for a few minutes, it dwindles from the second you swallow. It isn’t as bitter as the book explains, but it’s present reminding you that you are drinking a mouthful of hops.

This beer is decent at best. Since starting at Total Wine, I have been meeting a lot of people. Some are REALLY into craft beer, and others just want to get drunk on a Saturday night. This beer would be a good beer to introduce someone to that isn’t into craft beer, but wants to understand what a hoppy, bitter beer tastes like. Sierra Nevada is a good brewery, but they have never released anything I feel was spectacular.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – The bottle says: “Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a completely natural ale. There are no additives, only the finest malted barley, whole hops, brewer’s yeast, and crystal-clear water. The fine layer of yeast in each bottle is a result of the traditional bottle-conditioning process that produces carbonation naturally.”

Rating: 3/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

I have a feeling that tonight’s beer won’t compare to the other one that I’m drinking that tastes really good.  Don’t get me wrong, Sierra Nevada isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not the best beer that I’ve ever had.  But let’s see how it tastes.

In the glass, the beer looks kind of light orange colored.  It didn’t have much head.  There’s also not much smell to it.  Which makes sense, I don’t really get much smell out of pale ales, usually.  So, like I told Ricky, it’s kind of boring so far.  Let’s hope it tastes better

It tastes… a little bit hoppy, a little bit bitter.  Not a lot of flavor besides that.  I mean, it’s an okay beer, definitely above a domestic.  But that’s about it.  I’d rate Sierra Nevada as about a step above a domestic.  It’s kind of something I’d order (and I have) if I’m out somewhere and it is the only thing available besides domestics.  It’s a decent, light, somewhat flavorful beer.  And that’s pretty much where it stops.  I don’t have a lot to say about this beer, but I think its reputation speaks for itself.  It’s middle of the road, higher than a domestic beer.  Hoppy, but mostly boring.  I can see why they rated it as one of the beers to make sure that you try, but I just can’t give it a very high rating.  I might buy it again, but only as an alternative to domestics.

Rating: 2/5 

879 bottles of beer on the wall…

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