I’ll admit that I’m not very familiar with Sierra Nevada’s beer lineup beyond their famous Pale Ale, so when I saw both the Anniversary Ale and their new Hefeweizen, I picked both up to become more familiar with what makes them such a strong name in the craft beer industry.
The Anniversary Ale is described as an “American IPA” which is nothing but a complement. Some of the best IPAs in the world are now brewed in the U.S. This beer marks the 29th anniversary of Sierra Nevada. According to their website,
“Our 2009 Anniversary Ale is brewed in the style of an American IPA, a style that Sierra Nevada helped create”
I’m all for pushing the envelope of brewing, so I had to give this one a try. It pours a rich amber/orange with a head that says for white a while. The smell on this one is great – a nice citrus smell with a light overlay of hops is very inviting. It isn’t one that you stick your nose in and pull back, exclaiming “Woah, hops!” And that isn’t to its detriment.
It tastes very balanced and smooth. The hops leave you with that bitter coating once the beer has been swallowed. It lingers on the tongue and lips and begs you to take another sip. This is very well balanced but assertively hoppy. You know this is an IPA – and a good one. This would be a great beer for a hophead, or for someone breaking into hoppy beers. Its also 5.9% ABV, making not unreasonable to have a few of these in a sitting, or to share with others. Its not a 9% hop bomb that is scary – its accessible and quite delicious.