Sierra Nevada ESB 2008

Sierra Nevada
Chico, CA
Early Spring Beer (ESB 2008)

I have been saving this beer for a while and figure that, as a Sierra, it will be sufficiently hoppy and more of an IPA than anything, so it probably shouldn’t sit around too long.

The pour is lively and pretty with swirling effervescence that stirs up a yellowy-orange head above a hazy, rich amber that has plenty of dark pumpkin orange and a hint of garnet.
Light passes through the glass, but not a lot, it is translucent but certainly not transparent.

The nose is lemon soap and orange rind with a malty, sweet tobacco back. There are more esters than there are flowers in the nose. The ABV is almost 6%, so I’m sure there will be some kick.

The mouthfeel is, of course, splendid and full. It fills the mouth with a malty coating which refrains from masking the rest of the flavors. Citrus and pepper on the tongue with a dry and slightly rusty finish that gives just a modicum of chewy breadiness. The lacing is better than decent; nice drapery zagging around the glass.

As always, Sierra really delivers. I am definitely biased, but this is outstanding. Everything from the coppery haze to the mild spiciness really make this beer stand out. Certainly, it’s not a session beer at 6%, but a few of these will show you that Sierra can make a complex beer for those non-hopheads among us. This beer lacks the same bitter floral grapefruit flavor that I love about the Pale Ale but is smooth enough to hide some of the heavier alcohol notes of that light green label.

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