Beer Review: Sierra Nevada River Ryed Rye IPA

River Ryed sounds like a nice beer for a lazy day. Although, the last time my friends went on one of those lazy tube rides on a river, one girl broke her elbow. So maybe those aren’t as relaxing as one might hope. I think I’ll continue to hide indoors, as we writers are wont to do, and have my beer in peace with minimal threats to my bones, thanks.

This pours from a bottle as a very pretty auburn color. It has a very carbonated look to it, though. That’s not normal for most beers. Of course, I realize my glass may have been a little wet (creating more nucleation sites) so perhaps I’m at fault here. Must dry my glasses more thoroughly in the future.

There’s a thin head of large, cream-colored bubbles. This fizzles out rather quickly over a few minutes, presenting some sturdy lacing. It smells, to me, like an amber or a brown ale – malty and a little sweet without a lot of hop notes to the scent.

It’s very crisp up front with a nice sort of vague graininess to it. It turns a little dry after I swallow, but not in an unpleasant way (and we know how picky I am about dry aftertastes). And – I swear this is true – it finishes with a banana-like note. I do get the rye as well, but it’s not super strong.¬†Finished with Chinook hops, I was expecting more spiciness from those and the rye from which the beer gets its name.

This is a very middle of the road amber to me. I’d say it’s a pretty well-balanced beer overall and it’s pretty refreshing. It’s got good body, it’s not at all watery, though it really is a little more carbonated than I would have expected or preferred. It’s pretty solid and I’d grab it again. Four out of five.

Review: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across the World Dry Hopped Berliner Weisse

Somehow, I had never heard of the Beer Camp project from Sierra Nevada. Maybe I’ve been living under a rock. If that’s the case, I still need beer for my dark, dank rock-home. Enter Gilly’s on a fateful afternoon when I went in for a pint and some bottles and stumbled into the Beer Camp Across the World promotion/tap takeover. I was given a little paper passport and told that if I drank seven of the BCAW beers, I’d get a prize (it was a Nalgene-like water bottle plus some stickers and sunglasses, I think). Even seven half-pints is a lot of beer and anyway I had a BBQ to hit later that day, so I couldn’t loiter all day and drink a bunch of beers.

I first tasted the the ginger lager and the Thai-style iced tea and they were both amazing. It was genuinely hard to choose. Then my next door neighbor recommended the Dry Hopped Berliner Weisse, which I had overlooked, so I gave it a try.

It’s a cloudy straw color with a slight foamy head. There’s a touch of lacing, but nothing very strong there. There isn’t much of a nose. Maybe there’s a hint of lemon peel or something else citrusy and similar. It smells sour. Can something even smell sour? I vote yes.

Its taste is not overwhelmingly sour, but it is absolutely packed with flavor. It’s zingy and gently wheaty up front, which makes sense because they use their in-house kellerbier/Hefeweizen yeast. The dry hopping definitely comes through on the back end of the taste with a nice, resinous green hint. It really rounds the beer out. It’s not just sour; it has layers. There’s no dry finish to be had, this is a very clean beer.

Would I buy this again? Over and over. I actually did buy the sampler case for BCAW this year and then brought it to a party and drank the whole thing with friends. So, sadly, no more BCAW beer reviews. You’ll have to forgive me. Five out of five mugs!

Review: Sierra Nevada Sidecar

I was meeting someone out for dinner, but, true to my fashion, I was insanely early. This usually happens when I use the metro to go into DC – I don’t trust it one bit and always budget way too much time to get anywhere. Oh no! Stuck at a bar with time to kill? I guess I’ll review a beer!

At the City Tap House in DC, I was unimpressed with the selection of IPAs that day; I’d had most of the ones on offer that day and I generally like to try and review a beer I’ve never had before. Enter Sierra Nevada Sidecar.

Sierra Nevada Sidecar 002

This draft beer came to me as a rich, orangey gold colored liquid in the very dim light of the bar. It has no head and just a tiny amount of lacing around the outer ring of the liquid. It doesn’t have a huge nose of any kind, but I could swear I’m getting a whiff of passionfruit. It’s also smelling a little biscuity and hoppy. It’s made (I looked it up because that’s what I do) with Cascade, Equinox, and Mandarina hops – which might be why it tastes so…

Orangey. I looked up the bottle label and, on there, it’s advertised as an orange pale ale. This was not indicated on the beer list’s description. That said “a hint of orange peel” and this is bright and orange from the very first taste. It’s very light, tropical, and has some sweet citrus notes – but the beer itself isn’t sweet. The finish is clean and just a hint dry. It’s very easy to drink. It’s light and breezy at 5.3% ABV and not really hoppy tasting at all.

Would I drink it again? Sure. But now that I know how very orange-tasting it is, I’m prepared to pair it with the right weather or food next time.