Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sierra Nevada – Pale Ale & Glissade and Boulevard Nutcracker Ale

I consider Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale the standard bearer for the American Pale Ale style. Sierra Nevada is one of the oldest craft brewers in America and the Pale Ale should be tasted so one knows how the style should look, smell and taste. Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale has an ABV of 5.6% and an IBU of 37. I have had a number of these over the years and I had not had one in awhile and it was great to drink one again. Sierra Nevada describes Pale Ale as “Our most popular beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, is a delightful interpretation of a classic style. It has a deep amber color and an exceptionally full-bodied, complex character. Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor. “Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is a very good beer and it should be used to understand the style and as a comparison with other American Pale Ales.

Glissade is a Golden Bock with an ABV of 6.4% and an IBU of 42. This one pours a golden yellow with a nice head and has nice malt sweetness with a balanced bitterness on the finish. This is a drinkable beer and Sierra Nevada describes Glissade as “With restrained sweetness, we emphasize subtle malt flavor, balanced against delicate aromas of spicy and floral European hops. This complex balance helps Glissade slide across the palate—bracing us against the last cold nights of winter, while its bright golden color turns our thoughts toward spring.” Sierra Nevada is one of my favorite brewers. They brew consistently good beer and they continue to try new recipes and styles. They took a gold at GABF this year with the 30th Anniversary Black Barleywine and I look forward to sampling this in the near future.

I did not know much of Boulevard and I think I had not tried any of the beer from this Kansas City brewer. Nutcracker Ale is a winter seasonal with an ABV of 5.8% and an IBU of 38. This is a tasty seasonal ale that pours a reddish-brown with a nice head. This has sweet caramel tastes with balanced bitterness from spicy and floral hops. Boulevard describes Nutcracker Ale as “Boulevard’s holiday gift for real beer lovers. This hearty, warming brew is a classic winter ale, deep amber in color, with hints of molasses balanced by the “spiciness” of freshly harvested Chinook hops.” The brewer added brown sugar and dark sugar, but it is not too sweet. This would go great with deserts and strong meat dishes. I look forward to sampling more from Boulevard.

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