In 1980, was the hottest new beer around, taking the beer world by storm. Using only Cascade hops, this beer brought unique pine and grapefruit flavors to a market dominated by lagers. “Back in the early ‘90s, a friend of mine brought some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale back from college in Colorado,” says Hulmeville Inn owner Jeff Lavin. “He just came in and said, ‘you have to try this right now’ and that was how I got hooked on craft beer. I didn’t know beer could taste like that.”
Sierra Pale Ale was one of the first big winners at the Great American Beer Festival.
“I remember it winning almost every award it could. It’s been part of the GABF from the beginning and has been essential in the beer world ever since,” Lavin says.
The beer’s popularity skyrocketed, and it inspired other brewers, who opened innovative breweries of their own. Naturally, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale became a staple in most bars, including the Hulmeville Inn, where it continues to be a top seller. “Even today, it’s still available everywhere, and there’s a reason for that,” says Lavin, “It sells and it’s good.”
In a world where new beers and breweries pop up weekly, the longevity of a go-to beer like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale speaks for itself. While not new, “it’s a beer that you can always fall back on,” as Lavin puts it. And it has stood the test of time in a rapidly-evolving industry.
Considered a relic by some, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is still a favorite today, almost 40 years later, and that’s no random stroke of luck. Lavin still serves Pale Ale on tap “religiously” because of how well it sells at the Hulmeville Inn. While some drinkers might be interested in trying the newest beers, Lavin believes Sierra Nevada Pale Ale can do for others what it did for him.