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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    I've been really disappointed with the current Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I've slowly noticed a decline in flavor depth and hoppiness with SNPA over the last year or so.

    Has anyone else noticed this? SNPA is my go to beer. I went to college in Chico and started drinking it back in the early nineties so I have a softspot for it. You'd drink a bottle and see that large yeast sediment deposit in the bottom. OF course now you never see that, I have no idea if that means anything in regards to flavor.

    I don't drink it on a real regular basis anymore but purchase a 6 pack maybe every 2-3 months. Sierra Nevada always seemed quite dedicated to preserving their quality but has sheer growth led to this? or am I just loopy? has anyone else noticed this?
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  2. #2
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    SNPA used to be my regular beer, but I haven't had many lately. I've never thought it was nearly as good in the bottle as draught by a long shot, and I've written off the not-too-good bottles at bars to old stock. Maybe not.

    That sediment in the bottles has been gone for a decade, hasn't it?

    I visited Chico last December (I was in Roseville for a business trip, so I took advantage). You'd never tell by the tour and the bar/restaurant/tasting room that they aren't still as serious about the beer. Maybe they have, but the tour gave me the warm fuzzies. I've toured a lot of breweries, but I've never been in one that size where it was all about the beer, not the technology.

    The main reason I haven't been drinking as much SNPA the last few years is that there are so many other IPAs and APAs being made these days. I try to pick up something local wherever I am. I've turned into a bit of a hop head, and those options have increased, too.

  3. #3
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    If you like hoppy beer try Dogfish Head 60 or 90 minute Pale Ale. Very, very hoppy and very, very good!
    Tim

    I am going where streams of whiskey are flowing...

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2007
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    I haven't noticed a decline in the Pale Ale, but I did remark to several here that the Celebration Ale this past holiday season did not seem up to its usual fabulous standards. The folks from Chico set the standard for micros with their Pale Ale, long before the explosion of fine brewers from Washington and Oregon, elsewhere in California, and now all over the country.
    ____ ____
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  5. #5
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    I haven't been impressed with any of the dogfish beers. They've got the finishing hops thing down. The nose is full of it. There's just not much bite on the finish, and the body seems thin (even on the 120).

    The finishing hops do travel well in the dogfish bottle, better than most.

    Tyranena Brewing Company's Bitter Woman is just about exactly what I look for in an extremely hoppy beer, but they don't sell outside of Wisconsin. There's a couple from Michigan, New Holland's Mad Hatter and Bell's (formerly Kalamazoo's) Two Hearted, that get reasonable distribution. Those are both terrific.

  6. #6
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    I don't drink SNPA very often...it's never been one of my favorites. It just seems a bit bland to me. However I recently had one of their new releases (new to me, at least), the Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, which I thought was outstanding...a delicious, full-bodied ale. I highly recommend trying it!

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2007
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    Quote Originally Posted by robbyvirus View Post
    I don't drink SNPA very often...it's never been one of my favorites. It just seems a bit bland to me. However I recently had one of their new releases (new to me, at least), the Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, which I thought was outstanding...a delicious, full-bodied ale. I highly recommend trying it!
    Let me second that impression -- I enjoyed a bottle of the Anniversary Ale a few weeks back (thank you Jeff). It is very good indeed.
    ____ ____
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  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    I find these beers essentially the same as ever. Celebration probably changes from year to year somewhat, but in general all the beers of this pioneering microbrewery are still tops. Cliff was right about their huge influence on the U.S. craft beer industry and microbrewed beer styles, it is possible SNPA was responsible for the American Pale Ale phenom, certainly it gave it a huge boost.

    While I still like the best micro beers, I still like some commercial beers too, and maybe this is partly nostalgia since I started drinking them just before the micros and imports hit big in the late 70's. But also I think some of them have a good inherent quality.

    Last night I had an excellent Molson Export Ale, which was "the" beer in Montreal when I grew up there. Good product, it has the same taste as I recall from then.

    I was looking through Jim Robertson's 1978 beer book recently. It does not contain systematic stylistic descriptions in the way M. Jackson's books did but was informative enough and it brought back a wave of memories of beers sampled in the 70's and 80's, everything from the homely Dunk's of central Florida -made in Auburn, don't ask me how I know that - to Genny 12 Horse to the late lamented Ballantine IPA to Henry Weinhard (is that still made?) to the well-hopped Schaefer of the 70's (Robertson thought it was too bitter!) and, well, a 1000 others. Roberston chronicled the early emergence of micro and Belgian and other imports and gave them a fair hearing but his main focus at the time was mainstream U.S. beers (many of which were made by small companies at the time though). He wrote more in the style of one content to describe the palate of 1000's of beers rather than get involved in the intricacies of style and situate the beers in the national drinking cultures as Jackson did. Indeed Robertson is probably best known for his Beer Log series which is an invaluable source of information on what beers were available in the U.S. market in the 80's and 90's and what they tasted like. His first book from 1978, called The Great American Beer Book, was a great book for me for that time because it identified many beers I felt were worth trying and just gave a ton of information.

    And, to this day, there are things in it I am quite sure I read nowehere else, e.g., that the white beer style (which Dane was talking about recently) was first developed in England. So he didn't ignore national tradition and historical aspects but his main task was to chronicle the names and tastes of the 1000's of beers still available in the mass domestic market then.

    Anyone up for a Maximus Super!?

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 10-06-2007 at 16:31.

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    I just looked up the Dunk's entry in Robertson's book, it was actually in Auburndale, Fla. The full name was Duncan, the name of its brewer, who founded the brewery in the early 70's after relocating from the North East. Robertson's reviews are so-so but I recall liking Dunk's German Style, I think it came in those stubbies that were popular then (probably in cans too).

    Not bad for a 30 year memory.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 10-06-2007 at 17:16.

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Decline of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    Here is one of my favorite quotes from the Robertson book, which again was issued in 1978 and later revised, but I am referring to the first edition.

    It is about Straub's, which still exists in Pennsylvania and probably makes the beer the same way:

    "Sixty-two-year-old brewmaster Gibby Straub was recently quoted in a local newpaper: 'We only make so much and that's it. All the Straubs like to hunt and fish too much; to hell with making all this money. Besides, we're selling all we make now'".

    See, that's a story about beer, and America too, and it doesn't make any difference if you're talking about micro beer or any other kind.

    Gary

 

 

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