In my opinion, one of the great things about traveling is getting to try out the local and regional food and drinks. Because I love craft beer, making stops at local brewing companies is a special perk of being on the road because often times you can’t try these beers at home. I know Sierra Nevada can hardly be considered local anymore because they are massive and distribute nationwide, but you can only find a couple of different flavors in your local grocery store or even your specialty beer/liquor store. On tap in their brewpub they have 19 delicious options to choose from; one more tantalizing than the next.
I have always enjoyed the beer Sierra Nevada makes and certainly consider it to be one of the best values at the stores in San Diego. A six-pack regularly runs a dollar or two cheaper (sometimes more) than one from our local craft brewers and I think the flavor and quality of the beer is at least as good. My biggest disappointment is that the stores only carry the Pale Ale, the Torpedo, and if you’re lucky one other seasonal brew. Hardly enough variety to keep me engaged all year long, especially because I so rarely like seasonal brews, although their Ruthless Rye IPA is seasonal and all time favorite for me.
The brewpub is everything you might expect it to be; large, open, long wooden bar covered in copper, and yes, beer. The food menu strikes a good balance between fancy foodie and good old pub food. As is the trend today, Sierra Nevada makes an effort to source local foods and follow the farm to table trend of sustainability. They do it without losing sight of the fact that it’s still a pub in Chico, Ca. and not a fancy restaurant in San Francisco. You can still get a decent burger or some fish and chips; or you can go upscale with something gourmet, and you don’t forget that it is still all about the beer.
I tried the beer sampler; $3.00 for four 2oz pours…and then I tried it again. As much as I would have loved to have full pints of everything on tap, this is still a road trip and driving under the influence is dangerous and illegal.
My Choices were:
The Foam Pilsner
The Sorachi Solstice
The Belgian Black IPA
The Clean Sweep
The 93 IPA
Every Beer was interesting, fresh, and delightful in it’s own way. I’m not going to bore you with tasting notes on every beer, but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with the Sorachi Solstice. Normally seasonals with names like solstice, harvest, autumn, or any other reference to time of year are just disappointing for me. I chose this one on the bartender’s recommendation, but with serious reservations, and the comfort that there would be 7 other beers if I didn’t like it. I guess they use a Japanese Sorachi hop variety to make this golden ale and it makes for an interesting and tasty beer.
All in all if you are cruising up Route 99 past Sacramento I highly recommend stopping in to Sierra Nevada for a meal and some brew. In fact, if you are anywhere near that part of the state, make it a point to check these guys out.