Monday, November 22, 2010

Sierra Nevada Double-Header

Today I bring you two beers from a brewery located in Chico, California. The Sierra Nevada Brewing company. If you're into craft beers at all, you've definitely heard of them. They've been rolling out cases of beer since 1980. They are not shy in using their hops, as apparent from their website with a hop-aplenty background. Today, we'll be reviewing one of their flagship beers, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and a 2010 offering, Summerfest.

You can imagine how tough it is to write a beereview. Now that the blog has gained some traction, my wife understands that I have a commitment to make to the blog every Sunday night (when I author the posts). And when I decided to do my Sierra Nevada double-header, I'm thinking "darn! I have to drink two beers tonight. Oh well, gotta do it for my fans." She saw right through that one, and after I'm done review the Pale Ale, she's already called dibs on confiscating it. Yeah, it's a good beer.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale comes in one of those cute stubby bottles, like one you might be used to a Woodchuck Hard Cider to come in. Not quite as stubby as a Red Stripe, and definitely not as stubby as Tripod, your neighbor's three legged dog. The bottle adorns a lime-green label with a very floral scenery of hops, grains, and what I'm assuming is the Sierra Nevada mountains. Points to Sierra Nevada for pointing out that the Pale Ale is, in fact, bottle conditioned (a little yeast is left in the bottle to naturally produce carbonation), a sign of a finely crafted beer.  Cracking the cap (strongly labeled "USE BOTTLE OPENER," as opposed to... teeth? Or watching less informed domestic beer drinkers tear open their palms?) unleashes a wave of hoppy Cascade goodness. The beer pours a beautiful amber-gold, with a decent, lasting, white head. Again, the smell of hops is very apparent, and you can smell that the Cascade hops are not alone. According to the website, the Cascade is also accompanied by a load of Magnum and Perle hops. Upon drinking you can tell it's a beautifully balanced beer. Very smooth, light in body, and wonderfully hopped. Now... @%)*(^.

Just spilled it. But no worries. Not all of it. Probably just a mouthful. One moment... My keyboard is also savoring the flavor...

Ok. Now, I'm not a hop head by any means. But this beer has a real good touch of it. It's not overwhelming, and it's quite refreshing. This is a wonderfully balanced beer, good for any time of the year, but I'd probably swing it towards more of the warmer months. Also would go great with about anything, but right now I'm feeling burgers.

Onto Summerfest. Labeled a "Crisp Summer Lager" it adorns a blue label, again with a similar scene of the Sierra Nevada mountains that looks like it was painted in 10 minutes... by Bob Ross (how does he do that?). The label all but self proclaims it a "lawnmower beer." Cracking this cap lends a much sweeter smell, classic of a nice summer lager. Very light hop aroma, and a light malt sweetness comes through as well. The beer pours a light gold color, with a bright white head Casper the Ghost would be jealous of. The head slowly collapses and leaves a nice lacing on the side of the glass. Aroma is very light, not much but a slight hop peeks through. The taste, again is light, definitely a pilsner style beer. It is a nicely made lager, but it just really doesn't have much character. Not that it's bad, it tastes fine and is true to style. This beer just isn't very unique. I think it could easily get lost in a sea of pilsners. That said, this is a good beer, one you could easily drink 10 of on a hot summer day.

Postscript (ps): You might have been expecting a Brew Masters post from me (I sure hope you tuned in), but I DVR all my shows. And I was in bed by the time it aired. I will be watching it tonight, and if Nick doesn't touch on it Wednesday (he doesn't have cable television... weird right?), I certainly will next Monday.

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