Nice article about Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the beer that built the craft movement in the USA, almost 40 years ago!
"When Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi opened Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California, in 1980, the first beer they made was a stout. Sierra Pale came along shortly after but took almost a dozen tries to get the recipe dialed in to their liking. In his book Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Grossman says the pair spent a lot of time “trying to decide exactly what flavor and aroma profile our flagship beer should have. We knew we needed to create our own style of beer that would stand out as being unique and distinctive.”
It came from testing a number of hops varietals, different malt bills, and even trying several different yeast strains."
“They had open-top dairy tanks fermenting beer, [former Sierra Nevada Brewmaster] Steve Dressler was walking around this Frankensteined-together system, and it was just the coolest thing. I bought a mixed case of pale, stout, and porter and just fell in love with everything that small brewing could be.”
“[Sierra Pale] is a lovely, balanced and great, great beer,” says Dan Kenary, the cofounder of Harpoon Brewery. “It was my go-to when I couldn’t get Harpoon IPA. For a lot of my generation of American beer drinkers, Sierra Pale was a recognition that we could do this and make great American beer. When this beer came onto the market, it was an antidote to what we could get in the 1970s and early 1980s.”
Even though Sierra Nevada started out small, its positive reputation grew quickly. Kenary says that when his brewery, founded in 1986, was assembling their flagship IPA, a beer rooted in the British tradition but with an American influence, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale served as an inspiration.
“Sierra Pale awoke a spirit in people, and we knew what beer should be,” says Kenary. “This beer introduced hops to the American palate, and there’s a reason that it still has a cult following: it’s still great to drink.”