Sierra Nevada 40 Hoppy Anniversary Ale

Review Date 12/31/2019   Last Updated 2/27/2020   By John Staradumsky

Happy 40th anniversary Sierra Nevada Brewing Company! Has it really been that long? It has, or at least will be in 2020. Sierra Nevada was founded in 1980 as one of America’s first craft breweries (the term microbrewery would hit its stride a few years later). I wasn’t much of a beer drinker in 1980, being only 16 at the time. By 1983, though, not only was I drinking beer, I was drinking well made beer, craft beer as it came to be known. Among the beers I drank often in those days was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Sierra Nevada has always, therefore, been one of my very favorite breweries. When I started drinking their beers I was a Rhode Islander, though today I am a Georgian. A few years ago, Sierra Nevada added a new brewery in Asheville as a companion to the original Chico, California location. I visited it, and it is indeed a brewhouse.

To celebrate their 40th, Sierra Nevada has introduced Sierra Nevada 40 Hoppy Anniversary Ale. They says this about the beer on the six-pack carrier:

Hop-forward beers weren’t popular when we started brewing in 1980. But we loved them, and we knew that if we were going to open a brewery, we’d better make something distinctive. It’s been 40 years since then, and we’re still brewing what we love. This beer showcases the bold flavors and aromas of a classic West Coast IPA: intense pine and citrus with a deep gold color and slight caramel sweetness. Here’s to following your passion, and to the next 40 years.

I’ll be blunt: I for one am tired of no malt, namby pamby, fruit loopy IPAs and hazy crazy New England IPAs. Rest assured, I don’t hate them (I actually enjoy New England IPAs), it’s just that that’s about all anybody does. When I come across a classic earthy hopped English IPA or citrusy piney classic American IPA, I rejoice.

These days, Western North Carolina is a haven for such beers. Valley River Colonies IPA is lovely classic English IPA, while Appalachian Mountain Brewery Long Leaf IPA and Nantahala Noon Day IPA are great examples of classic American IPA. With it’s Asheville brewery in the same area, Sierra Nevada adds another wonderful IPA in the vein of the latter two.

Sierra Nevada 40 Hoppy Anniversary Ale has an alcohol content of 6% by volume with 65 IBUs. I picked up a six-pack at Kroger for just $9.49 shortly after Christmas of 2019. The brewery lists the following ingredients on their website:

Malts: Two-row Pale, Caramelized malts, Acidulated, Oats

Hops: Cluster, Cascade, Centennial

Sierra Nevada 40 Hoppy Anniversary Ale pours to a deep orange amber color with a thick fluffy head and a nose full of citrus and resiny pine. Taking a sip, the beer offers chewy caramel malt up front followed by bitter grapefruit citrus peel and pine tar resin. It finishes nicely with a long lingering bitterness.

Very impressive, this is a beautiful example of a real IPA, what IPA used to be like. A sip transports me back to the 90s when a craft-brewed IPA meant a beer very similar to this. This is a beer that should not be missed. Do all you can to make sure you don’t.

Update 2/27/2020: Sierra Nevada 40th Anniversary IPA. I am at Taco Mac Woodstock just because they had this. $7.50 gets me 23 ounces. Magnificent!

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.