Tasting: June 19, 2011
The cliche summer ale is comprised of lighter grains or wheat and fruit like lemon. Most aim to have a crisp, dry finish with little hop character. Sierra Nevada is a hop-centric brewer that usually forgoes the cliche seasonal — see their Celebration Ale, so I’m curious on their take on the summer ale — Thanks to Craig for this swap.
Pour is very light yellow, no head to speak of. I’m getting the grains on the nose, bready and sweet. The taste is a pleasant surprise — really nice balance. You get the grain up front in the form of a biscuit with some subtle sweetness on the back end. There is just enough of a floral hop signature that rolls into a short-lived and subtle bitterness. It is a crisp clean finish. Mouthfeel is a little fizzy — but not a distraction. I’m going to say that they were more “by the book” with this one and they’ve executed it extremely well. As mentioned in another post — I’m not a summer ale enthusiast — but I can see this as being an annual addition to my fridge — 86 points.