HIB 6: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Attempt

The SNPA project was an open project – use whatever recipe you want, whatever techniques you want, just try to brew Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Kyle Kassie, David Disney, Daniel Hillesheim, Mike Caylor, Marty Vellas, John Peed, Joe Edidin, Jonathan Poplawsky and Micah Sweeny participated. We made some nice pale ales, but it’s safe to say that Sierra Nevada’s product is not in any danger of any of ours replacing it. Home brewers nowadays tend to think SNPA is something of a run of the mill beer. Back in the day, Sierra Nevada established the hoppy American-style Pale/IPA, beginning with SNPA. Back in the day, SNPA was actually considered something of a hop bomb. Things hop-wise have gotten pretty crazy, so people tend to think SNPA is old hat and, as such, anyone can brew it. But in fact, because it is so restrained and refined, it’s about as big a brewing challenge as you can take on. We had some pretty darn good brewers take a crack at it and, honestly, nobody really came very close. SNPA has a very clean, lightly sweet, refined maltiness, crisp bitterness and a pretty delicate American hop flavor. Ours tended to be either short on hop flavor or somewhat heavy-handed on all counts.