When I was about 16 or 17, I was over at my big brother Max’s apartment, drinking a few beers. I went to get two more for us when he said “check the drawer”. Instead of having produce in the produce drawer, Max had two brown bottles with green labels and caps. “What’s this?”, I asked. “This,” he said, “is Sierra. I keep it in the drawer so my roommates won’t find it.” We cracked them open, I took a sip, and my mind was blown. Face melted. It was like hearing Hendrix for the first time, or reading Nabokov – you couldn’t believe that someone could make such a thing. This wasn’t beer; at least, it wasn’t the same crap I’d been drinking out of pounders and 40s through my youth. This was quality. This had flavor, and depth, and personality. This was beer.
So, it is apt, then, that our first guest review comes not only from one of my two favorite brothers, but that it is also a review of one of Chico’s finest.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
It is hard to review this beer without mentioning several times that this is a hopped-up, 7.5% version of what is one of the greatest IPAs on the planet.
At first glance the pour is solid and straightforward for an IPA, but a birdseye view shows that the head is lacy and uneven.
The aroma is, as expected, full and inclusive of citrus and honey tones.
SIDE NOTE and PREAMBLE : the regular SN IPA has always been a relatively hoppy IPA but always good as a session beer and, if stranded on a deserted island with one beer to drink until rescue, would be my number 1: tasty, full-flavored and can be consumed in reasonably large quantities without serious repercussions. So with that being said….Torpedo.
Torpedo is a lovely large IPA that at first taste almost fools you by disguising its big hop taste with strong hints of grapefruit and key lime. However, while those flavors persist they become the finish to what is a bold experiment that is an ode to hopheads (me). Most high ABV IPAs fall victim to being too huge in taste – they become mealy and medicinal, but Torpedo knows just when to stop. The taste has all the attributes of the regular IPA, but with the added fruit and caramel to make it a truly nice starter for the evening. Despite its subtleties, this is by no means a session beer. Torpedo is a great effort from a master brewer, it pushes the envelope by adding fruity tones which makes a this beer perfect for dare I say the summer.