Name: Sierra Nevada

Location: Chico, California

Type: Production brewery

Available in DC Market: Yes

What you need to know: Sierra Nevada is one of the most influential breweries in America. One of the forerunners of the craft beer movement, Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi were homebrewers who wanted something more than what the market was offering them. Sierra Nevada continues to innovate, despite being the second largest craft brewery in America, by producing beers like Hoptimum, the Ovila Abbey Dubbel, and the Sierra Nevada Estate Ales. Sierra Nevada is widely recognized as a premier green business. They recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of their brewery, and they, thankfully, show no sign of stopping.


Beer #1: Ovila Abbey Dubbel

Notes: The story behind this beer is really cool, but to explain all of the awesomeness would take more space than I have here. So check out this website on the Ovila series, which is being led by the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California. The tasting notes for the Ovila Dubbel read like a traditional Belgian version: malty, caramel sweetness with clove, raisin, and spiciness from the yeast strain. This, to me, is one of the cooler stories in the craft beer world right now. I can’t wait to try this and chat up the Sierra Nevada folks about their new endeavor. PS, in case you’re interested, the abbey will also do a Quad and a Saison.

Beer Advocate: B+(222 reviews)
Rate Beer: 96 overall, 97 style

Beer #2: Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale

Notes: This is a very tasty and (a rarity!) balanced IPA. Brewed with fresh Pacific Hallertau, New Zealand Motueka and New Zealand Southern Cross hops, these hops were dried immediately after picking to keep them as fresh as possible. They were used in the brew day at Chico within a week of picking. A relatively modest 65 IBUs melds with the malt back to create a pretty approachable IPA with some not-often-seen-in-the-States ingredients.

Beer Advocate: A- (969 reviews)
Rate Beer: 98 overall, 98 style

Summary: They’re an industry legend. What else is there to say? They’re bringing two extremely interesting beers that are indicative of the envelope that they continue to push. We owe a lot of what we have today to Ken and Paul, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re at SAVOR. Both of these will be solid beers with great back stories, which is, to me, everything craft beer is about.

This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2011 SAVOR participants.

Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.