Origin – United States of America
Size- 473mL can
Style- Pale Ale
This XXXL 16 fl oz can of Sierra’s flagship Pale Ale is the perfect representation of the brewery itself. Big, bold, bright and enduring. It was 1979 when Les Grossman and Paul Camusi expanded their home brewing hobby into a commercial operation (I use the word ‘commercial’ somewhat loosely!), launching an American craft beer movement that changed the taste buds of millions, and started an entirely different conversation about beer. And that lubricant for conversation was the now iconic green labelled Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. In year one the output of the SNPA was a mere 30 barrels per week. Today the 60,000 barrels produced can barely keep up with the demand of the world’s best-selling craft beer, available in all 50 states of the US and 17 foreign countries. And while over the course of almost four decades, both Sierra and the flagship SNPA have evolved from an industry outlier to a bottlo standard, both have continued to maintaining fierce allegiance among aficionados, seemingly being one of a few breweries that avoided the ‘that band got too big and now they suck’ syndrome. This high-wire act of mainstream appeal and cult-like status is particularly remarkable when you consider the forces at play in today’s beer market: a fickle consumer base that’s constantly chasing the next wave and, a bearded hipster industry where flagships are rapidly giving way to the always-new portfolio of the weird the wacky and the wonderful. So what’s in the secret recipes from the likes of Les Grossman and Colonel Sanders that keeps us coming back for more? I have my own ideas about the chicken, but Les isn’t quite as secretive, openly sharing that the magic is in the generous addition of Cascade hops. Tear open this tinny and you can’t miss the effect they have on the nose, that dominant pine and citrus aroma. They are also the fairy-tale in the flavour, serving up an unfussy and well-balanced enough to drink often, but complex enough to satisfy sophisticated palates, profile. It may well be the beer your dad drank, however, if the past and current popularity is anything to go by, I’d suggest it will also be the beer your grandson will be drinking a few decades from now.