I’m actually fighting off a flu infection because the whole office at work got sick and I was the last of the stranglers to get hit with the virus. My body can only fend off so much before it succumb so even though I’m writing a review today, I really shouldn’t be. Sierra Nevada has never been a brand that I would go out of my way to buy, not because I hate it, but because it’s not the first brand that immediately comes to mind when I try out something new. I actually received this as a gift (or pay back) for giving someone at my office a ride home two days out of the week because her boyfriend works late nights as a professor at CSU Fullerton two out of the five days of the week. She’s one of the white folks that lives in “da hood.” And get this, she’s a fellow former Borders employee from the store in Norwalk. It’s pretty neat to meet a fellow comrade of a now defunct company.
Anywho, it’s been a while since I’ve had an IPA, and this one is definitely a more powerful version of another IPA that I had tried a little while back. You know how hops tend to have a lingering flavor even after it’s gone down the gullet? This one doesn’t really have that lingering flavor. In fact, it’s kind of clean in that respect. The tingling sensation from the carbonation and the hop flavors that go along with it dissipates as soon as the carbonation is gone. That, in and of itself, is nothing new. Plenty of other IPA’s have done something similar.
The nice thing about IPA’s is the high alcohol content by volume. It’s rated at a whopping 8% ABV. Fairly high, even if I’ve had much higher that takes the form of a beer. But those “high ABV” beers are exceptionally rare as it tips the double digit range. Once they start hitting 15% ABV, which is at about the range that wines are typically rated at, that’s when they fall off the cliff. Very, very few brewers make beers at that range. So anything in the 8% to 12% is good enough for me, so far as IPA’s are concerned. Anything higher is a bonus.
It’s clean tasting except the strong hops flavor that’s like a one-two punch in your mouth, at least for the first couple of sips. Once the alcohol starts working its magic, you won’t really notice the hop flavors as much, but then oddly enough, this sticky residue starts to form on your lips, which is odd, at least for me. I’ve had plenty of IPA’s at local breweries (hello~, I do live in Los Angeles), and I’ve had my fair share of hoppy beers that are particularly yeasty that would leave this residue on one’s lips but that’s only as a indication that it’s a sweeter beer than it should be. And you would taste it. However, this is not a sweet beer. In that respect, the hops overwhelms any sweet flavors that you might taste.
All in all, it’s not bad. I’m almost certain that I’ve had better as I’ve had so many IPA’s in the past trying out beers at Barbara’s Brewery in Lincoln Heights, Arts District Brewery in Little Tokyo, and Eagle Rock Brewery in, you guessed it, Eagle Rock. For what it is, I think I would be okay with buying this at a bar, but only if it was cheaper than the competition as Sierra Nevada is not actually a micro brewing company. They are part of a much bigger beer syndicate that controls and owns, you guessed it, the bigger beer brands like Budweiser, Coors, and Miller’s: AKA Anheuser-Busch.