Hiding in Plain Sight
A Review of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Posted on 9/11/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
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Allow me to ask you a question. When did a basic, but still good beer become unacceptable in our better beer world? These days it seems that if a beer isn't beating the fool out of your palate with different flavor twists and extremes, people tend to view it in a bad manner. Why is that? What exactly is wrong with a beer sticking to the basics, and then knocking it out of the park as far as those basics are concerned? Take the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for example.

Those in the know tend to regard it as one of the best Pale Ales on the market today, but most people tend to walk right past when browsing their local beer isle. I don't know if it is because they constantly see it and think ''Must be mass produced garbage'', or if it's a case of them seeing it so much it practically hides in plain sight. Whatever the case maybe, it really is a shame. Every time I crack open and enjoy one of these beauties, the simple but profound statement of ''Man, that's a good beer'' seems to fall out of my mouth constantly. Everything one expects from a good pale ale is there. The coloration can best be described as a golden orange, and along with it comes a sticky, thick white head that paints the inside of the glass all the way to the finish. The aromas that escape the glass are definitely hop centered, and have the qualities of being both floral and citrus, with citrus doing the majority of the work. Grapefruit is the predominant smell, but at times there's a bit of orange and lemon zest mixed in, and some faint malt grain smells lay just beneath the surface to keep everything in balance.

Just like in the nose and visual departments, the flavor falls right in line with what you would expect from a quality pale ale. There's a good hop base that's not overpowering, but still manages to deliver plenty of the citrus detected earlier in the nose. There is a sweetness that comes along with the grapefruit, but there is still enough bite to keep things in check. Some very faint pine notes emerge as it warms, and they blend very well with just a basic malt base, which ends up keeping things rather clean.

I realize that a few weeks ago I wrote about how the pale ale style has almost become an afterthought by most. Maybe this review was just that little voice in my head reaffirming what I already knew. Why the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale doesn't get more love than it does is almost beyond me at this point. It's one of those beers that can be enjoyed by all levels of drinkers. It would make a fantastic bridge beer for those just wanting to dip their toes in the better beer waters, as well as make an extremely great session beer for those who can appreciate it for what it is. If you just give it a chance, you might end up finding yourself making some extra space for it on your ''keep it in stock'' shelf.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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