Friday, December 11, 2009

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale tasting

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was one of the original beers in the American microbrewery revolution of the late 70's. It's one that is often talked about on home brewing forums and beer appreciation sites, and is said to encapsulate the American Pale Ale style.

Despite the warnings about it not traveling well, when I saw it on the beer menu at Brisbane's Era Bistro, I knew I had to give it a go.

The warnings refer to the degradation of the aroma and flavour on the long trip over from California. I've even heard that Australian exports of the beer come via Europe, adding to the length of the journey. Bright hop aromatics fade over time and at increased temperatures, and when you consider that the beer could have been sitting in a container or warehouse for who knows how long on its trip over, the warnings are understandable. But it didn't stop me from ordering one.

It is difficult to evaluate a beer that comes with so many preconceptions. The hop aromatics were still there, although I could easily imagine them being less subdued in the fresh product. I can't remember a lot of the malt characteristics that are said to be present, though I wasn't taking detailed notes at the time (after all, this was a night of a work milestone celebration). I do, however, remember making comparisons in my head to Little Creatures Pale Ale at the time; an American Pale Ale style of beer that is said to be a tribute to SNPA.

Overall, I wasn't disappointed, and am still excited to have had the chance to try it. If anything, it has made me want to go over to the US and find out just how good the beer is fresh, and how good a job Little Creatures have done in paying tribute to the style.

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