Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sierra Nevada Nooner Session IPA


3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1083) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 20, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. It was bottled on 1/22/14 and came as part of a mixpack for $15.99 ($1.33 per bottle or $0.11 per ounce).

Appearance: Slightly hazy, dark gold hue with consistent carbonation visible. Pours a large, bright white, frothy head which laces and retains extremely well.

Smell: Slightly skunky/herbal notes at first, though close inspection reveals some distinct citrus aromatics.

Taste: The so-called “session IPA” sub-style has been rather controversial lately. Some dispute whether it’s a true style and not just a hoppy pale ale. In the case of Sierra Nevada Nooner Session IPA, I can say it definitely is more than just a hoppy pale ale as it has the malty backbone to support the IPA label. Many of this genre are ridiculously light in body with a lot of hops added for flavor, but this one is a truly light IPA.

Naturally, the hops are the star of the show here. But not in bitterness, rather, in flavor. A light zesty herbal character of dry potpourri spice right from the get-go. Some citrus pith (lemon and orange) across the middle with additional spicerack seasonings on the finish. Throughout it all there’s genuine malt flavor at core. Two-row Pale, Wheat, Munich, and Chocolate according to the brewery’s website, though I wouldn’t describe it as a particular complex palette – just a solid one. A tasty beer to be sure, with enough hop character to satisfy hopheads, but not to the extreme of scaring away everyone else.

Drinkability: If there’s one thing a “session IPA” ought to be good for, it’s drinkability and Sierra Nevada Nooner definitely excels in this aspect. Unlike other brews of the style, it’s not thin and watery, but a true medium body and weighty mouthfeel. There’s a crispness throughout and it goes down smoothly, leaving just a slight aftertaste of herbal character. The only thing I would fault this beer for is the fact it’s 4.8% ABV, which is a little too high to be considered an American-style session beer. If they could knock it down to 4.5% it’d be perfect. 
Grade: 7/10