For those of you who have heard of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, most of you have only seen or heard of their flagship beer, the Pale Ale. Sierra Nevada is a fairly large craft brewer out of Chico, CA. They have been brewing the Pale Ale, now a staple in American craft brewing since 1980. I had a chance this weekend to taste a few of their other varieties and was impressed with what I experienced.
Two varieties I got my hands on were the Kellerweis Hefeweizen and the Sierra Nevada Porter. Both were delicious in their own right, and offered me another idea as to how serious this brewery is at producing high quality beer. Enjoy…
Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.) – This beer is a superb take on a hefeweizen. Sierra Nevada is already known as a quality craft brewer, and this variety definitely backs up that statement. The initial aroma is fruity, banana maybe and a hint of clove or other spice. It has a hazy, almost murky golden yellow/orange color. The head was thick and creamy upon pouring. A fairly ample amount of lacing remains on the glass after each pull. The taste gives you hints of banana, citrus and clove spices. The spice element is definitely more present in this than some of the other hefeweizens I’ve had. Nice touch. The yeast in this beer gives it a velvety texture. I soon found that I needed to keep about ¼ of the beer left, swirl it around and pour out the rest, just to get the remaining sediment from the bottom of the bottle. Guess it’s been a while since I’ve had to do that. I was quickly reminded why – it adds a new dimension to the flavor as you polish it off. Delicious, this one is…
ABV – 4.8%
IBU – 15
Sierra Nevada Porter (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.) – This one is a meal. The color is a very dark brown, nearly black. It isn’t too thick and murky, so you can still see through it. It pours a thick beige/tan head, which settles over time and leaves a pretty good amount of lacing in the glass. The aroma that comes through the nose is of coffee, courtesy of the roasted malts. Also present are hints of oak. This one must have been well roasted, as the smell and flavor offer an almost burnt malt characteristic to it. Many of these styles of beer offer up a coffee/chocolate balance to it, but not so much with this one. The coffee aspect would render any chocolate notation almost completely powerless. But that’s not a bad thing. It has a medium body, which is almost atypical for a porter, but this thing still fills me up. The taste is of a hearty malted porter with a bittersweet finish, most likely from the medium hop presence. It balances well with the really dark-roasted malts. There is a slight caramel taste as well, but mostly understated with regard to the malt and hops. As mentioned before, it has a medium body, but once you finish it, your stomach tells you it’s time for dessert. Another gem from Sierra Nevada.
ABV – 5.6%
IBU – 32