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Rating: 4.1/5 (14 votes cast)

Beer Profile

  • Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
  • Website:
  • Country: United States
  • State: California
  • Style: American Pale Ale (APA)
  • Malts: Two-Row Pale, Caramel
  • Hops: Magnum, Perle, Cascade
  • ABV: 5.6%
  • IBUs: 37
  • Tasting Notes:
  • Preferred Glass:
  • Food Pairing:
  • PHM Grade: A

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the number one selling craft beer in the United States (total sales at almost $50.5 million, just ahead of Sam Adams Seasonal). It is the most widely distributed and culturally recognized Pale Ale, therefore acting as a quasi poster child for American craft brewing. That means that to “everyone else” (i.e. the largely uneducated general drinking public), Sierra Nevada Pale Ale stands as one of craft beer’s most important representatives to those who think Adjunct Lagers are next to perfect in the fermented beverage category. Thankfully, Sierra Nevada, along with Sam Adams, are often found wherever Adjuncts are sold. You can get it at your local supermarket, or the nearest Chili’s. Or, you can find it in bottles or on tap at a brewpub. It’s popular and commercialized, and it’s a staple.

America loves beer, and there’s no question that there will be some craft brews/brands that hit mainstream success. Frankly, I am perfectly happy that the most popular one as of today is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This is a classic English Pale Ale that is made with integrity and purpose. It pours a brilliant, crisp, clear light copper color, with a great foamy white-ish head. Cascade hops, used in finishing, are easily detectable on the nose every single time. The ale is balanced with Two-row Pale and Caramel malts … but not 50/50 balanced. This is still a hoppy Pale Ale.

Sierra Nevada makes excellent beer, and their flagship is no exception. The hop profile – Perle, Magnum, and Cascade – satisfies with a wonderful spiciness all the way through, and the malt makes for an initial sweetness in the sip that tastes great. At 5.6% ABV, this Pale Ale is easily sessionable. Enjoyable on hot and humid afternoons, great with all kinds of foods and at all kinds of gatherings.

It’s hard to find negative things to say about this beer. Sure, hopheads will say it’s not hoppy enough, but hey … it’s simply a Pale Ale. 37 IBUs ain’t shabby for a drinkable, quenching craft brew. I know I’m not the only one who enjoys this recipe.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 4.1 out of 5 based on 14 ratings
  1. I’ve been to enough bars, liquor/grocery stores, and Phish shows to agree that this is America’s craft beer. Not the best beer in America, although top notch, but it is an icon, a staple, a logo for American craft beer. And it deserves all the attention and respect it gets in my opinion.

    Matt — June 28th, 2010, 12:58 PM
  2. Definitely not the best pale out there, but really, really good nonetheless. The standard by which most APAs are (or should be) measured, in my opinion.

    Noel — July 2nd, 2010, 12:24 PM
  3. Ken Grossman definitely set a precedent with this APA. Probably the only beer I actually like the very noticeable taste of Cascade hops in. I do appreciate the fact that, while this beer provides a nice hoppy kick, it retains a balanced APA approach distinguishing it from an typical West coast IPA.

    Tom — July 3rd, 2010, 11:32 AM
  4. I live an hour away from where this is brewed in chico, and I honestly thought is was only popular in these parts. I was unaware it was the face of pale ale in this country.

    Bryce — February 28th, 2013, 2:12 AM
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