Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sierra Nevada's Anniversary Ale

I have been writing this freaking post for the better part of two weeks in between work assignments. It originally was a bash of the Anniversary Ale along with a snarky analogy (that I was proud of and may use on a future post) on Cascade hops, which is the exclusive hop of the 2009 Anniversary Ale. But a few things happened before I hit the "Post" button. I did some quick research on some the beers brewed with Cascade hops, and although none are exclusively brewed with Cascade hops, many of my favorite IPAs include Cascade hops in their brewing, including the magnificent Racer 5. Then I did something even smarter - I tasted Anniversary again. Sierra Nevada called Anniversary an IPA and I did not think much of it as an IPA, but when I viewed it outside the IPA prism I realized that it's a damn good beer. The original bash was misguided. (Why are the bash posts so much easier to write than the positive posts?)

Sierra Nevada has introduced two new outstanding beers this year with the release of the release of its year-round Torpedo IPA and Kellerweis Hefeweizen. I tend to overlook Sierra Nevada, which is a mistake. It was staid for many years, but it is now making outstanding beers. Don't let the ubiquitous Sierra Nevada Pale Ale lull into believing Sierra Nevada is boring. I want to try Sierra Nevada's new Estate Ale that is brewed with hops and other ingredients grown by Sierra Nevada.

Anniversary Ale fails as an IPA when compared to Torpedo and Celebration. It is, however, a great pale ale. It is drinkable, has a great aroma, and pours a deep copper with nice white foam. It does not have much of a hop bite, which is fine and appropriate for a pale ale, because other flavors make up for the lack of hops. I am no expert on defining flavor profiles, but I would say it is more woodsy than citrusy and the malt is spot on. It had excellent balance with a pleasing aftertaste. If you're looking for an IPA that will destroy your taste buds do not reach for an Anniversary Ale (despite the description on the six-pack holder that says its an IPA), as it will disappoint the hop craver. If you want an excellent ale that is easy to drink with lots of flavors, Anniversary is the beer for you.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I love this beer. For some reason when I think of great craft beer I don't think of Sierra Nevada. But I should really change my mind on that.