Total Score: 8.15/10
The original Sierra Nevada! As the label states this is the drop that began the now monolithic SN, it’s hard to imagine what the beer world was like without Sierra Nevada… a hell of a lot blander for one… but there was a time not so long ago when beer meant something shit like Foster’s or VB. Like waking up from a bad dream the world has progressed to our current state of beer nirvana: Beervana – now you really can get almost any crazy combination of ingredients ready-fermented in a glass bottle for your enjoyment. So what does this 30 year old recipe have to offer us today? Something easy and agreeable one would hope.
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Sierra Nevada US pint glass.
A: Dark – but not imposing – like a big cuddly brown bear with razor sharp claws and teeth bared… err, not sure that analogy works, but whatever: deep brown body with a wispy tan foam half centimetre head. Leaves decent lacing: Check! 9/10.
S: Roasted toasty grains and chocolate notes along with hints of dark fruits and light smoky aromas. Quite a moreish nose here – though it could, for 5.8% ABV, use a little more heft – not complaining, just noting. 7/10.
T: Classic Sierra Nevada – it doesn’t jump out and shout “Look at me! I’m a beer!” in some sort of weird stein-related costume that gets the wearer arrested for public indecency “Is that a small tap handle coming out of the stein? No, wait!” – it just quietly turns up the dial, not to 11 (this is beer not Spinal Tap) but to something like 8. Compared to the last American Stout I reviewed (Newstead The Outpost) this seminal American Stout is hardly hop-happy, it focuses primarily on roasted malts and the above noted flavours – it doesn’t veer off course. Tasty, tasty malts! 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with a nice light but dense carbonation. 9/10.
D: As stated in my preamble what can Sierra Nevada Stout offer todays’ drinkers? Something easy and agreeable. This brew is exactly that: Easy and agreeable. I’m sure back in the day of bland tastes (30 years ago) drinking this would have been akin to releasing a firestorm on your tastebuds, however today we have so many bolder beers out there. What Sierra Nevada does again is create a respectable base-line standard of a brew in this American Stout that we can all drink after our tongues have been lashed by hearty Russian Imperial Stouts and the like – here’s my cheers to Sierra Nevada for giving us a damn fine regular American Stout on which we can rest our weary taste-buds, cheers! 9/10.
Food match: Hearty Russian Imperial Stouts… or beef stew, whatevs.