A tasty tour of Sierra Nevada Brewery

Posted on May 31, 2011 by Mary Ellen Brewington

Sierra Nevada Brewery is the Walt Disney World for brew junkies. Several weeks ago On Tap encouraged readers to take a “brew-cation.” A few of us from Cherokee Distributing Company took the idea across the country to visit our friends in Chico, California.

As we pulled into the parking lot covered with solar panels – Sierra Nevada creates 85% of their own energy – we noticed the organic gardens and the nose-tickling scent of fresh beer brewing. Inside and out, floor to ceiling, the brewery facilities are spotless. The love of brewing is in every detail down to handmade wall tiles depicting the history of beer making.

Our tour began in the Brew House where two copper brew kettles made in Germany serve as the focal point. Sierra Nevada only uses the finest barley malt, hops, yeast and pure water.

Sierra Nevada hand selects their hops from around the world. Most hops are purchased from growers in Washington State while some come to the brewery from as far away as New Zealand.
Brian Grossman of Sierra Nevada shares a sip of wort with Dennis Botts and George Sampson of Cherokee Distributing Company.

Next stop on the beer tour is the yeast room. The strain of yeast determines the type of beer produced. As with all of their ingredients, Sierra Nevada uses the finest yeast. During fermentation, the yeasts convert the malt sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

The product poured following filtration is a pure bright beer.
In Sierra Nevada’s Pilot Brewery we met Scott Jennings. He introduced us to several new flavors brewing. Our favorite was Bonnaroo Brew Farmhouse Ale that will only be available in limited quantities at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee, June 9-12.
One of our favorite parts of the tour was traveling on the 12-seat cycle draft bar. We pedaled our way around the property while enjoying a nice cold Torpedo draft. As we traveled the music from Willy Wonkaplayed:“If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanta change the world?
There’s nothing
To it…”

Sierra Nevada is changing the world while brewing their traditional-style ales and lagers. This environmentally conscious company strives in every single step of brewing to leave the smallest footprint on our planet. They are leaders in corporate citizenship.

A visit to Sierra Nevada is not complete without dining at the onsite taproom and restaurant. The delicious eclectic menu features produce from their organic garden, and of course, all meals are complemented with Sierra Nevada ales and lagers.

Cheers to our friends at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and in Chico! We had a ball visiting your paradise.

For more information about Sierra Nevada Brewing Company visit them at www.sierranevada.com or on Facebook.

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