Tag Archives: Sierra Nevada Brewery

Sierra Nevada Brewery

Last weekend the craft division of my company was flown up to Chico by the awesome crew of Sierra Nevada!
am6We were flown via Southwest – lucky for me, I got to score some extra points from this trip for all my future Colorado trips!
AM7Random airport artwork in Sacramento.
amchicoAfter a ridiculously speedy flight, we all hopped into a huge shuttle van and drove 90 minutes up to Chico.
abbAfter a quick unpacking session, cans of Old Chico (not available in SoCal) were grabbed from the hotel lobby and consumed, followed by a trek to downtown Chico for dinner and some more brews.
abaWe somehow ended up at this dance club/billiard hall/restaurant that was obviously hoppin’. At this point, I hailed a cab for myself and headed back to the safety of the hotel.
AM8Many of my coworkers had a rough start the next morning, but thanks to my quick escape at the early hour of midnight, I felt somewhat alive. Our first stop was the brewery gift shop where we were given gift cards and set loose. I’m now the proud owner of a few shirts and an awesome lip balm that has hop oil in it.
AM10We perused the grounds and found these awesome bike racks…
AM9And a bike pump! Every brewery should have one of these!
AM11Lunch was up next. We sat on the patio enjoying the beautiful warm weather and scanned the extensive beer list.
AM12French Saison for me! Hair of the dog for everyone else!
AM13I ordered the Sierra Nevada salad – fresh greens picked from the garden out behind the brewery, goat cheese and candied walnuts.
AM14We were given some amazing samples of experimentals and beers that haven’t been or will not be released to the public. Barrel-Aged Narwhal Imperial Stout. Out of this world.
AM15The brewery tour was next!
AM16AM17Sierra Nevada uses only whole leaf hops in their brews. The floor and tanks were littered with beautiful cones.
AM18Hop room! Freezing cold and smelling of joy. Oh, how I love the hops.
AM19Wonderful artwork for Life and Limb that for some reason didn’t make the cut??? Gotta love the fig leaf action.
AM20The bases of the huge fermentors that stick out atop the brewery.
AM21Everyone jumped aboard the awesome pub-bike and we pedaled out to the hop fields.
AM23They’re a little more barren than the last time I was here
AM22The remains of the garden from where my lunch was cultivated.
AM24HotRot – this composting machine is loaded with all the remains from meals in the pub and takes twelve days to turn all of that into what looks like sawdust. The smell is horrendous, the outcome is awesome.
AM26After biking back, we toured the nanobrewery and got to sample some of the Beer Camp brew that Roger from The LAB participated in – milk stout with almonds. Divine.
AM27The tour ended with a sample of Ovila with mandarin oranges straight from the conditioning tank.
AM29Up next – dinner!
AM30Cheese plate appetizer.
steaksFilet mignon with lobster butter. Yes, please.
AM32This rocked my world. I’m drooling as I recall…
AM33The next morning we were up bright and early and back to Sacramento for our flight. This may be the best airport fare I’ve ever had – it’s a toss-up when it comes to burritos. I got lucky.
AM34We had an even faster flight back.
AM35AM36Descending through the thick marine layer.

It was a wonderful, fast-paced and delicious trip. With all these brewery trips, I’m seriously loving my job!

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Happy IPA Day!

Please tell me you knew it was International IPA Day today, because our waitress at Sierra Nevada Brewery had no idea. NO IDEA!
International IPA Day was founded by Ashley Routson (aka The Beer Wench) and Ryan A. Ross of Karl Strauss as a grassroots social media effort to celebrate craft beer. As of 5:30pm tonight, it was a trending topic on Twitter in Seattle, Denver, San Diego and a crapload of other cities that I’m much too technologically challenged to find. IPA Day: A genius idea!
Sierra Nevada seemed like a good place to spend IPA Day! While we were too late for a tour, I got to take a look around at their brewing equipment – these are actual copper mash tuns from a defunct German brewery!
Delicious amounts of mass fermentation pipes!
The only Sierra Nevada beer I’ve tried before was the Torpedo Extra IPA. How the heck am I supposed to choose from 16 different beers??
Ooooh, 16 tasters! Why didn’t I think of that? Oh yeah, because I weigh 110 and I’m not completely insane. Oh well, here goes nothing (or here goes 16)!
Yeah, that oughta do it for me…
We ordered to the garlic fries as a cushion for the beer. A helpful hint: When tasting beers, if you want to be able to appreciate the aroma and flavor, DON’T ORDER GARLIC FRIES! Before even touching them, the garlic smell overwhelmed our little table.
One of my favorites: Tumbler. First off: I love that they describe this beer the same way I describe beer. “Light wisps of smoke delicately balanced with a gentle touch…” Awesome. This beer was a beautiful brown-amber, malty and smokey, with just a “gentle touch” of hoppiness on the end. I was tempted to order a pint.
But then I saw Life & Limb. A collaboration between Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada? Look, I know it’s IPA Day, but I had to go for this baby. In my defense, it’s 50 IBU, so it’s technically in the IPA range of hops! It. Was. Epic.
Brewed with maple syrup from the Calagione family ranch. Bottle carbonated with birch syrup from Alaska! 10% ABV. Dude. This beer was heavily scented with maple syrup, full bodied with a warm, boozy essence up front. While you could sense the bite from the hops, it was in no way overwhelming and the caramel/maple malts melted through my veins and pulsed with joy and wonder. No wonder they only offer 10 ounce pours.
I balanced it out with butternut squash ravioli topped with grilled vegetables. Sweet and spicy butternut squash wrapped in a luxurious pasta, topped with a zesty garlic dressing. I had two pieces before I had to stop. Half a basket of garlic fries will do that to you.
After I managed to roll out of my seat and out the door, I waddled around the building to check out the well-lit rooms that displayed their whole-leaf hops. So many hops! I was tempted to break a window to steal them, but I decided to leave them be for the good of mankind.
I be a happy girl!!!
Delicious food, amazing beer (I DID sample two IPAs today, thank you very much!) and a great way to celebrate International IPA Day!


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