My Sierra Nevada Love Affair

1 Sep

I wish I could remember exactly when it was that I had my first Sierra Nevada but I can’t, so my best guess is that it was at the Black Oak Tavern, in my hometown of Oneonta, NY, ‘cause they have it on tap, and had it there long before other bars did. Now it’s fairly common to see “good beer” such as Sierra Nevada on tap, but back when I was in college, the mainstays seemed to be the light beers (Bud, Coors, Miller, Labatts), and then a few better beers like Sam Adams, Bass, and, of course, Guinness.

So, when I tried Sierra Nevada, compared to the light beers I was used to, it was quite a (hoppy) shock! I immediately fell in love, and began to judge any bar’s worth by whether or not they carried SN on tap. Sierra Nevada was my first foray into so-called grown up beer. I had subsisted during college, as many of us do, on the cheapest, lightest, best-for-kegs, frat parties, camping & pitchers, beer that was available. Drinking, in college, was all about drinking as cheaply as possible.

And now? Well, drinking is more about taste, and thank God for those maturing taste buds! Sierra Nevada was my gateway beer, and started for me a love of IPAs that I still haven’t betrayed. For me, the hoppier the better. I tried an Arcadia Hop Rocket the other night, and I knew I was going to love it just from smelling it!!

Back to Sierra Nevada though… so even though I was in love with SN, I really only was familiar with their Pale Ale, so I wasn’t truly aware of all that the brewery had to offer. I don’t think at that point that I really understood just how much variety there was overall in the world of beer for that matter!

That all changed, thanks to my friend Orry who, knowing of my love for Sierra Nevada, on August 23, 2007, brought me into the Blind Tiger, a bar on the corner of Bleeker & Jones. The night before they had hosted a Sierra Nevada brewery event, and most of the kegs hadn’t been kicked yet, so when we walked in, I was confronted with about 17 taps of unique Sierra Nevada brews.

My jaw just about his the floor. I immediately turned to Orry & said, “OMG, I have to call my step-father!” I got him on the phone & said, “Timmy, you will never believe what I am looking at right now… Orry just brought me to a bar where they have 17 different Sierra Nevadas on tap!! I didn’t even know there WERE that many different kinds of Sierra Nevada!!” Seriously, I could not even begin to contain my excitement.

Consider, as of that day, my eyes opened to the world of beer.


2 Responses to “My Sierra Nevada Love Affair”

  1. Chris Ingraham September 1, 2009 at 2:40 PM #

    Speaking of cheap watery undergraduate beer, I will always have an inordinate fondness for Genessee Cream Ale. Like Upstate NY in a can…

    • thehopshoney September 1, 2009 at 3:03 PM #

      I love that you just mentioned Genny Cream Ale!!! When I meet people and they ask what name I like to go by, I always say “the only thing I hate is Genny, because since my name starts with a “G”, then it’s like Genny Cream Ale… and it’s not necessarily a comparison I want to draw! lol No disrespect, of course… 😉

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