By Tim Rodgers
In a domestic beer landscape of vortex neck bottles, cold window boxes, cold activation cans, triple hops guarantees, and flavor seal taste protector caps, the surface of the American beer industry looks and tastes pretty grim. I was disappointed to learn that when my tasteless beer flavored water spins real fast at the end of my bottle; it still tastes like beer flavored water with a metallic finish when hit finally reached my mouth. Although, when Miller Lite recently introduced its triple hops guarantee, at least I could be comforted with the notion that at least three actual hops were used when brewing each batch. And, since I merely have a liberal arts education and not one in science or physics, it is reassuring to know that when the mountains turn blue on my can or bottle, I know that my beer is cold rather than the archaic method of putting my beer in the refrigerator for an hour or feeling the bottle for its temperature like our ancestors did.
The Macro-American Beer industry ironically reflects much about American society in general. Bloated advertising budgets, humorous commercials on television, and most important of all; self-image and sex. Calorie counting has become an American pastime just as much as a day at a baseball game or apple pie. Perhaps that is why the “light beer” phenomenon dominates the American beer industry. To put it simply, American beer drinkers and companies favor style over substance, much like today’s popular culture in general. However thankfully, what America also has to offer traditionally, is its great beautiful lands, its illustriative resources, innovation, entrepaneurship, and craftsmanship. The beer that represents these elements of American society well is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Of course there is always going to be your local micro-brew that brings varieties and flavors that will be your favorite, but it reassuring to know that you can always count on Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to be consistently crisp, refreshing, clean, aromatic, and delicately balanced hoppiness in each sip. Headquarted in Chico, California and originally a micro-brew, it now produces 700,000 barrels of beer a year. And for your calorie counters, a 12-ounce bottle has 175 calories per serving. If that troubles you, lose the mayo or butter or put in an extra ½ hour at the gym because any serious beer drinker would never compromise taste for quality. I don’t ever recall seeing a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale commercial, so I know that that more of a percentage of their operating costs and budgets go into improving their product rather than the pockets of the NFL at halftime of the Super Bowl.
The other well-known craft macro brewery in the United States is the Boston Brewing Company that brews Sam Adams. But instead of going off of the map in so many directions that Sam Adams has a tendency to do, Sierra Nevada in its specialty and seasonal brews stays close to its original formula. In the late fall, the Anniversary Ale is one of the best beers ever produced in America hands down. When my beer taste buds were less mature, beers that were hoppy in nature like your Pale Ales were not as appealing, but unlike most Pale Ales, Sierra Nevada doesn’t try to impress other brewers by putting 113 counts of hops into each batch so you feel like your drinking a Christmas Tree, but rather the hoppiness of the Sierra Nevada variety is merely one component of its complexity. Just like a piece of a puzzle of a masterpiece. The carbonation and head when poured into a pint glass is perfect. Most importantly in these troubled economic times, I bought a 12 pack of bottles in Wilmington, Delaware for $10.99. I think Bud Light Lime was $14.99.
So when you’re in favorite bar or restaurant you no longer have to skip right past the domestic beer selection and go for the pricy imports. If you are looking to support American entrepreneurship, American jobs, and most importantly, if you are looking for simply a great beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of the best choices out there. And although there is no plans in the works for a “Vented Wide Mouth Can” to allow drinkers to swig more easily or a house made entirely of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale bottles (including the shower) I still think that if they served and sold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in a dog dish, it would still be a better beer than most domestically speaking.
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