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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Active Beers: 118
Beer Ratings: 60,253
Beer Avg: 3.85
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
1075 E. 20th Street
phone: (530) 893-3520
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 54 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I've visited the brewery a couple of times while working in the Chico area. The good folks of Sierra Nevada attempt to establish the "wow" factor from the very beginning, and they do so quite successfully. Easily the most beautiful brewery I've seen, filled with hand-crafted wood and etched glass, and kept immaculately clean. Having a top-notch concert room doesn't hurt, either.
As for the beer, if you drink SN Pale as your "emergency" beer (aka, there are no other crafts on tap), or if you aren't completely sold on it, I would highly recommend going to the brewery, if possible. It will absolutely change your perspective of the beer. I don't know why, but whatever they're pouring out of the taps at the brewery is a far sight better than what's coming out of the Sierra Nevada taps at any bar anywhere else in the country. I also enjoyed the IPA, Porter, ESB, and Barleywine.
The food was excellent. The beef fed with the byproducts of the brewing process was truly a treat, and the desserts are tasty, as well. The only negative I can really say is that they seem a bit cocky about themselves. It's good to have confidence in your product, but a cocky attitude will turn people off in a hurry.
All in all, a great experience for beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. Enjoy!
04-22-2005 19:12:16 |
More by smcdowell
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4
Sigh. We centered our brewpub tour of central-north California around Sierra Nevada yesterday, and were ecstatic to finally reach "The Mothership" as we call it. Best thing: $2.75 half pints of the renowned Bigfoot Barleywine. Worst things: a bunch of swill light styles, and loads of loud families drinking pop.
Background: I drink about two six packs a week of Bigfoot Barleywine each year for the ~3-5 months I can get it. I drink an average of two six packs a month of SN Pale Ale. I drink an average of a six pack of either SN Porter or Stout a month. This is total, and doesn't include all the other beer I drink.
I LOVE Sierra Nevada. I believe in it, and will always have a soft spot in my heart for it. Now... that said, the brewery visit itself turned up a lot of crappy beer, and a super crowded family-style dining experience that was highly inconducive to realbeer drinking.
I've visited three times in the last year, and each time, been mildly disappointed in the quality of the beer. As I noted elsewhere in a review of the Best Bitter, I agree with another reviewer that many of SN's brews, available only on tap at the brewery (and maybe kegs?), basically taste identical to one another, and suck. That is, the Best Bitter varied MINIMALLY from the Blonde, the Pilsner, the Wheat, the Crystal Wheat, and the Extra Special Pale Ale.
We waited a little under an hour for a table, which was fine, as it was passed at the bar, with the mediocre bartender rushing by every once in a while. Apparently, a fencing convention was in town, and packing the place in a partial buy-out.
ATMOSPHERE: I used to like the atmosphere; as other reviewers have noted, it's beautiful, but only when empty, and not when packed to the gills with people. Even more unfortunate, a definite majority, and perhaps a supermajority, weren't drinking good beer. Sitting at the bar for almost an hour, we saw MUCH more white wine, Pilsner, and Blonde being poured than anything else. Entire tables, with half kids and half yuppie adults, drank only soft drinks and iced tea and water. WHAT? You come to The Mothership and drink POP? What the HELL is wrong with you? Clearly, many of these tables were full of people who might have been just as happy at TGI Friday's, Chili's, Olive Garden, etc. (we personally witnessed at least eight tables that fit this profile.) It was loud, crowded, bright, and heavy on young children. I (sort of) hate to be ageist and snobby, but this was *NOT* conducive to enjoying and drinking good beer.
The SERVICE was fine, and pleasant, if harried, and busy. No knowledge of the beer was noted, except when the bartender remarked on my drinking pints of the Best Bitter and Extra Special Pale Ale, then tasting Wheat and Crystal Wheat, and finally ordering a Stout. (Explanation: I like to taste lots of stuff, but since almost all the light beers taste thin, boring, and similar, I wanted a pint of something that actually would taste good.)
The FOOD was quite tasty, but let's be serious: I don't come to The Mothership to eat. We had a tasty pizza, and in the past two visits, I"ve enjoyed the organic greens salads, and sandwiches.
The SELECTION is amazing: approximately 17 beers currently on tap, but with limited information provided regarding distinctions between styles: for example, at least three were variants of "pale ale", and they basically all taste the same. I've had the great deal taster ($8 for 2-3 ounces of everything on tap) twice in the last year, and probably fiev times total, and each time, been struck by how little difference exists between the various lighter beers.
The beer QUALITY... well, as I said above, many of the light beers taste very, very, very similar to one another, and basically suck. We drank and tasted the Best Bitter, Blonde, Pilsner, Wheat, Crystal Wheat, and Extra Special Pale Ale, noting only minor distinctions between them. The Pale Bock was also very similar with only a cloying sweetness and hint of higher alcohol to distinguish it, and the Stout and Barleywine were obviously very different.
Of these, the Bigfoot Barleywine was fantastic, the Stout predictably great, and everything else went downhill, fast, from there. My "Quality" score of 2.5 reflects the reality that about five of the 17 beers are outstanding, and about eight are pretty poor for such a competent brewery, with five hovering in the middle, but barely average.
I have taken the self tour in the past, which is indeed entertaining. And yes, the place is pretty. But really: I'm going to a brewpub to drink great beer, and when I can get all the the great styles in bottles, and otherwise only taste boring, bland, thin styles, I'll skip it. While I'll continue to buy loads of SN six packs, I won't bother to drive all the way to Chico again.
03-21-2005 03:11:45 |
More by warmstorage
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
For some reason I am shocked as I write this to see that there have only been two BeerFly reviews of the classic Sierra Nevada brewing Company. I am having to restrain myself from going hog-wild with praise for the place.
The brewery sneaks up on you with the strange wort smell you catch a half a mile down the road. All of the sudden you are forced to deal with SNBC in its mighty stature: mammoth, impressive, even imposing. Even being as large as it is, it is still rather hard to believe that a single place like this could produce such a wide slosh of brew throughout the country and abroad.
The "experimental" hop garden near the parking lot is interesting but was in unhealthy shape when I visited. A sign informed visitors that the area used to be large hop producer, and these hops will one day be used in a small experimental batch at the brewery.
We took the self-guided tour, visiting the awe-inspiringly beautiful process unfold even into the more mechanized distribution area. I'm in beer utopia. You walk through a huge, 4-star looking reception area on the tour, and down the beautiful marble SNBC engraved stairs lie another beer guy's dream. Gift shop. Lots of SN swag, which is mostly all available on the website. I only took part in the free SNPA, Celebration, and Bigfoot posters littered around in the lobby area. Cheap SN is available for carry-out, and boy did we, eventually both putting down our respective six-packs with no effort later that night.
The actual dining area has the feeling of a nice hotel banquet area with a long curving gold bar, but we decided to sit outside in the secluded and beautiful beergarten area. The waiters are all super-professional and are treating everything in a very high-class way. I felt their beer knowledge might be a little lacking, but no way i'm testing that. This is the closest to 5-star food i'm getting on this (driving and camping) vacation.
I had a free-range, SN grain-fed hamburger, and the wifey had a huge spinach salad with all-organic veggies. The fries were even wicked good.
But the beers, of course, the beers. Fresh, slobberingly hoppy Bigfoot available in half-pints for a little more than $2. Nothing was more than $3/pint. Breaks for pitchers. I don't know about growler fills - most probably not as this is shooting to be a 'nice' restaurant. Extra Pale, Best Bitter, IPA, Rauchbier, and Pale Bock were the "different" selections I tried, though the Dopplebock I felt ruled the SN world that night.
A journey that I kept questioning myself about on the way (Chico was way out of the way, and way, well, not that great) but once I was here I found it to be the best beer nirvana i've had, and will probably have, in quite some time.
09-08-2004 23:57:58 |
More by GreenWBush
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
I've visited this brewery several times in my travels up and down Interstate - 5 between the Puget Sound and Bay areas . It's located in the small valley town ( small for California , anyway ) of Chico , about an hour plus drive north of Sacramento on rural highway 99, and maybe 2.5 hours from Frisco, basically it's in the sticks. Being that it's only a half mile off of Hwy 99 and huge makes it easy to find.
The brewery lobby is a large two story area with super fine brass and wood trim. The gift shop is neat , clean , and well stocked with Beeraphernalia , including genuine SN tap handles. Cold bottled SN beer to go is also available at discount prices. The brewery is also one of the few places you can get bottles of their Pale Bock every spring ; one of my favorites.
Brewery tours are available. Walking the tour reminded me of a baby Miller plant only much cleaner and with much better products of course.
The Bar - Restaurant is the largest I've seen that's attached to a brewery. The Bar is " L " shaped and has about 25-30 stools to slide on to. The Bar is open to the large all ages dining area which seats 90-100 folks. The furnishings and atmosphere here is top notch and is very popular with the locals. Get here much after 5 and you'll be on a waiting list for a table. The food menu is much more than the standard pub grub and is very good at that. The 3 sausage platter is a standout item on the menu.
On tap are 10-12 SN brews most of which are not bottled. A draught style Pale Ale , Harvest Ale, and Rauchbier are among my favorite tap only brews. Seasonally they'll have Celebration and Bigfoot on tap. My favorite on tap brew is the stout which goes well with the menu items.
Over all this is an excellent establishment and I' d highly recommend it to all BA's passing through the Northern California area.
03-22-2004 11:34:17 |
More by beerceller99
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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA
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