Sierra Nevada Pale AleFour mugs out of four mugs
Thirty years ago, there were no microbreweries. America’s beer-scape was barren, and there was little hope for beer enthusiasts who enjoyed tasting beer, not just getting drunk. Around 1980, the first microbreweries began to appear. Most failed, but the strong survived and helped create the cornucopia that is now the grocery store beer aisle. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, of Chico, California, was a leader of the microbrewery revolution with its now legendary Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Still revered by beer lovers, it can be found in nearly any beer outlet and self-respecting bar.
Considered by many to be the archetypal American pale ale, Sierra Nevada is bolder than English pale ale counterparts like Bass, Boddingtons or Old Speckled Hen. Served in a pint glass, the ale displays a golden amber color with a foamy white head. The aroma is of multi-grain bread and biscuit-like pale malts, with a sharp citrus and floral aroma. A dry, slightly tart caramel taste opens the flavor, followed by hops. Derived from Sierra Nevada’s generous but balanced use of Cascade hops, the pale ale also brings tastes of lemon zest and grapefruit with a sweet, spicy finish.
Like a good pale ale should be, this beer is bitter, possibly too much so for the uninitiated. The bitterness, however, is not overwhelming and makes Sierra Nevada Pale Ale a great candidate for pairing with food, especially when wine can’t cut it. Have a pint with a Mexican or Pan-Asian meal. For the unadventurous, pizza will do just fine as well.
Beer-ucationBottle versus can
Of the bottle and can debate, both are losers. Beer is best enjoyed in its proper glassware. The right beer glass can improve taste, aroma and color, thus making for a better beer experience. Typically this simply means using a pint glass, but some beers require special attention. Breweries, especially in Belgium, have been known to design specific glasses for each beer brewed. As a general rule, lighter and more effervescent beers benefit from tall, slender glasses, while stronger, richer beers belong in wine glasses or chalices.
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Pabst Blue RibbonTwo mugs out of four mugsThe best cheap beer available. When you’re in a pinch, PBR at least imitates good beer.
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