Narwhal® Imperial Stout
Ovila® Abbey Quad with Plums
Our handmade Estate Ale highlights the flavors of home.
From the sun-drenched fields of California’s North Valley comes our Estate Ale. It’s rich with the flavors of the valley—hops with earthy, grapefruit-like flavors and layered spicy aromas, and barley with mild sweetness and smooth, toasted flavors. Enjoy this remarkable homegrown ale, made with organic wet hops and barley grown at our brewery in Chico, and one of the few estate-made ales produced anywhere in the world. Together, these crops grow alongside the brewery to make a truly unique brew.
Every so often, invention provokes revolution. Never was that truer than with the birth of the Cascade hop. Worldwide, it was thought that European hops were—and had always been—superior to their New World counterparts. That changed in the late 1960s with the development of the Cascade. Born as the first successful example of the USDA Aroma Hop Program, Cascade proved that world-class hops can be grown in America. Its release in 1971 serendipitously aligned with the fledgling American craft brewing movement. These aspiring brewers were eager for something unique, bold and distinctly American to use in their boundary-pushing beers. Cascade fit the bill. Its unique pine needle, grapefruit and floral aromas were like nothing out of Europe, and the bold aromas and flavors became the flag for the new American brewing upstarts. If one ingredient can be said to start a movement, it would be the Cascade hop—the plant that built craft beer.
Wet Hop versus Fresh Hop
Over recent years, there has been some confusion about the difference between fresh and wet hops. While it may seem like semantics, to us it’s an important distinction.
Wet Hops are un-dried hops, picked and shipped from the growing fields within 24 hours.
Fresh Hops are the freshest dried hops to come from the fields, typically within seven days of harvest.
Over 90% of the world’s hop harvest happens between August 31 and October 31, and these hops are used throughout the calendar year. Can hops possibly be the same on November 1, one day after harvest, as they are on July 25, nearly one year after growing in the fields? The answer is no. We think of hops like dry kitchen spices—the flavor of thyme or rosemary right after the jar is opened is far more intense than it is six months later. The same can be said for hops. There are ways to control the way hops age and to reformulate and readjust as some of the aromas fade, but there’s nothing like the magic of the first bales of hops as fresh as can be. That is the stuff dreams are made of!
The American Style
Worldwide, Americans have something of an outsized reputation. Bold, brash and brazen. To some, that boldness is perceived as arrogance, but for us it’s just daring spirit and a thirst for adventure. The term “American” in brewing is not necessarily a sign of origin, but rather a brewing ethos and homage to that daring nature we love so much. In the early days of the craft brewing movement, there were far fewer beer styles and what was on record largely comprised the historical ales of the UK and the lagers of Germany. As American brewers began experimenting with homegrown ingredients and their own techniques, they inadvertently created beer so unique it defied conventional categories. Instead of a traditional pale ale, there all of a sudden was American pale ale—a new, rowdy hybrid of the older beer, intense with hop flavor and aroma. American-style beer is shorthand for the kind of brewing we do at Sierra Nevada—a reference to the use of a clean, crisp and neutral yeast and a healthy dose of hops quite appropriate for the adventurer in us all.
Brewing is as much art as science, and all beer specifications and raw materials are subject to change
at our brewers' creative discretion.
6.7% by volume
Estate-Grown Chinook, Cascade
Estate-Grown Chinook, Cascade, Citra
Estate-Grown two-row Pale, Caramel
Caprese Salad, Southern Barbeque, Tamales, Cilantro-Focused Salsas