Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Craft Beer Crosscut 1.2.19: A Flight of Sierra Nevada

Ron Swarner

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Beer-Flights-Logo-no-wordsThe craft beer movement has always been about the sense of adventure, going back to that little warehouse in south Chico where Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi brewed their first batches of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale way back in 1980 (to put that in context, that was the year The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters, and Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” was one of the biggest singles in the world), paving the way for the rest. Craft beer has come a long way since then, and Sierra’s Pale Ale is still the pale ale to which all other pales are judged. We present a flight of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. craft beers today, nine days before our Lodge Meeting with the Chico, California brewery and the celebration of its Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, a benefit beer for those affected by the Camp Fire, which started in the hills above the brewery Nov. 8, 2018 and became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. The fire burned more than 153,000 acres, killed at least 85 people, and destroyed more than 13,000 homes. Many of Sierra Nevada’s employees and community members were severely impacted by this tragic event. Enjoy Craft Beer Crosscut 1.2.19: A Flight of Sierra Nevada and see you Thursday, Jan. 10 for Resilience Night.

Craft Beer Crosscut 1.2.19: A Flight of Sierra Nevada

Sierra-Nevada-Brut-IPA-TacomaSierra Nevada Brut IPA

6.2% ABV, 25 IBU

Brut IPA is a new take on the IPA, brewed for a bone-dry, champagne-style finish. Aroma is toast, cereal, deep floral and dried citrus notes. Late Comet and Crystal hop additions give this beer balanced bitterness and a bright pop of citrus, sweet floral, spruce, light fruity notes, light tropical notes and a hint of breadiness. Light body, slightly oily feel, medium carbonation and a dry finish round out this brut IPA.

Sierra-Nevada-Pale-Ale-TacomaSierra Nevada Pale Ale

5.6% ABV, 38 IBU

Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale has been the beer drinker’s gateway craft brew for more than three decades. Peaks and Pints doesn’t know how many times we’ve heard someone tell us that, for some reason, they ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at a bar instead of a Bud or Coors. And that this seemingly insignificant decision in their life was transcendent. No longer would they settle for watered-down corporate beer. Sierra was their introduction to the world of craft. To the possibility of bitter hop flavors. It was a palate shocker. The proverbial beer awakening. BTW, generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

Sierra-Nevada-Narwhal-Imperial-Stout-TacomaSierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout

10.2% ABV, 60 IBU

As black as midnight, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Narwhal Imperial Stout is one of the driest imperial stouts you’ll come across. Roasty, too, but with an uncharacteristically wave of deep, dark fruitiness, ending in medium-high bitterness and substantial alcohol burn. The sweetness and hops are moderate and just enough to blend in with the dark fruit, chocolate and coffee flavors and aromas, to keep a balance. A slight touch of extra bitterness at the end, and no alcohol aftertaste or hotness, help leave a clean finish.

Sierra-Nevada-Celebration-Ale-TacomaSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

6.8% ABV, 65 IBU

Now that it’s wintertime, where do all the hops go? They’re currently hibernating in this yearly seasonal from California’s Sierra Nevada Brewery. In the midst of the many big and malty winter ales, Celebration Ale provides a comfortable winter home for the season’s displaced hops. A little darker than the average American IPA, this ale has a citrusy, piney and resinous hop character and a medium body.

Sierra-Nevada-Resilience-Butte-County-Proud-IPA-TacomaSierra Nevada Resilience Butte County Proud IPA

6.7% ABV, 85 IBU

In November 2018, the Camp Fire devastated northern California, becoming the sixth deadliest fire in U.S. history. It burned more than 153,000 acres and destroyed more than 18,000 buildings. In its wake, Chico, California brewery Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has put out the call for aid to every craft brewery in America, asking them to take part by brewing batches of Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, getting their suppliers to donate malt, yeast and hops to 1,400 volunteer breweries across the country who have agreed to pitch time and staff hours. All sales proceeds will go to Sierra Nevada’s Camp Fire Relief Fund, which the brewery has set up to help fund long-term rebuilding and support efforts in Butte County, where the fire took place. In regards to the IPA, flavor is massively West Coast influenced with lots of pine herbal hints supported by a toffee malt backbone. Pine plus the caramel reminds us of a Sierra Nevada throwback to 1998.