Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale


Only an American company could come up with this: a bitter beer wracked by a sweet fruity aftertaste. It is the approach one takes to bribing children to eat the disgusting faux nutrition that is “health food,” namely by making the food as vile as possible and then dumping a bunch of sugar on top so they will eat it for that. On the tongue, Pale Ale tastes like a European delicacy like Grolsch for just a moment before undertones of vinegar kick in, followed by a sugary fruitness resembling a Kiwi fruit swimming in corn syrup. The result is vomitous, a race between extremes in which the middle point — the balance of flavors that makes a good brew — vanishes entirely. Instead, you get get hipster cred for liking this “acquired taste” while having a big dollop of cupcake icing to follow it, with the assumption that you will not vomit from the clash of tastes on the palate. In favor of this beer, it is cleaner than most American beers, without the murky swill of unintegrated fermentation byproducts that makes American beer taste like stagnant rainwater. On the other side, however, it is like a car with the engine in the trunk that you steer with the stereo. Absolutely no integration of flavor leaves it feeling more like watching a crowd of random people pass, than the smooth ballet of a good beer.

Quality rating: 2/5
Purchase rating: 1/5

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9 thoughts on “Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

  1. Smoking_Gnu says:

    I’m a huge fan of hoppy/bitter beers but this review is spot-on; never understood the hype for this variety in particular. Grab an Alpha King or Yum Yum by Three Floyds Brewing for an actually-good American PA.

  2. Celtic Frosted Flakes says:

    Long live Tecate!

  3. Daniel says:

    Sierra Nevada is a real ale that is bottle conditioned. They are one of the best technical craft brewers in the US. The pale ale taste like its ingredients: pale malt, caramel malt, cascade hops, and ale yeast. If it tastes like actual sugar, then the batch you are drinking is not done carbonating in bottle and you are tasting the priming sugar. Let the rest of them sit for a week or so.

  4. Contrite Inspirator says:

    ‘you get get hipster cred for liking this “acquired taste”’

    Where in the world would you get ‘hipster cred’ off a SIERRA NEVADA?! It’s the 2nd best-selling craft beer in the USA. Too popular, too easy-drinking.

  5. Moloko + says:

    Lol at the equally bad oversights in identifying quality beer. Sheesh what next…

  6. OliveFox says:

    Sierra stinks. I don’t think it has any “hipster cred” though. This is a sports bar PA in my experience. The “smart” jocks and bros would get this in order to turn up their nose at their less “informed” peers. But I suppose I prefer it to typical macro-brew stuff if I am at a party or if a well meaning but uninformed friend brings it to my house.

    Craft American beer always seems to start off well and than devolve into mediocrity. DogFishHead is a good example in the area I am from. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stone, Founders, and other local beer champions that got some national recognition suffer from the same problem: scaling back their initial aggressive and individual take on classic brewing styles in favor of a more overly sweet approach that can appeal to more people (aka, Broads).

    Anyhow, if DMU is dabblin’ in alcohol reviews, they should class up the joint with some single malt scotch reviews. Or did Hipsters get their mitts on that too? I am always one step behind (ahead?) of those goofy freaks so it is hard to keep up.

    1. Smoking_Gnu says:

      I think all the “hipster cred” debate comes from the number of people who view exceptionally-bitter/hoppy (I)PA’s as some sort of pinnacle acquired taste that other craft-drinking plebs can’t appreciate. I’m a huge fan of the aforementioned styles but I do see where the criticism originates.

      That said, I think Founders and Stone at least are just as experimental as they ever were; the former still has KBS, Devil Dancer, Backwoods Bastard and the like while the latter is still going strong with Ruination 2.0, Enjoy By, their Imperial Stout varieties and the like. I’m with you on Dogfish Head though.

      1. OliveFox says:

        Last time I was in Grand Rapids and went to the Founders Brewery they had an Apple Bourbon Cream Ale (?!). It wasn’t good, per say, but I had never had anything like it before or since. I asked the bartender and he said the master brewer sometimes would just create something off the top of his head and only serve it in the bar for a VERY reasonable price, and then would never make it again, no matter how good or bad it was. Very odd, but I loved the spirit of the place. Hope they are still doing well, I have a hard time finding their beers in Maryland.

        Dogfish just wallows in their own “experimentation,” now, and let all their classics turn to junk. If I have to see a another new beer called “Rickety Attack Bucket 97” made of lemongrass oil and Turkish cave-dust or some such nonsense, I might have a heart attack. All downhill ever since they had success with Midas Touch. Then again, if you can find a bottle conditioned 120 minute, snatch it up immediately!

  7. freudian says:

    Drug reviews next. Strains, doses, etc.

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