girl+beer meets Steve Grossman

I don’t remember the first ever Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I had but I do remember the first time I had it off tap. It was when I was on holiday in London where I spotted it at a pub, perhaps one of the All Bar One venues.

I got excited, I’d never seen it on tap and having worked for Little Creatures I knew Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was the beer that inspired Creatures own Pale Ale. I had to have one!

That was quite a few years ago now and whilst my love of beer has only grown and I’m always looking for something new I still find myself coming back to Sierra Nevada fairly regularly, whether it’s the annual Bigfoot Barleywine style ale or the Ruthless Rye, or just picking up some Pale Ale case you know it’s going to be good. Sierra Nevada is like a comfy old chair and I mean that in a really good way!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2013

Last night Steve Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s beer ambassador and brother of founder Ken Grossman, was at Five Bar in Mt Lawley. He is spending a few days in Australia visiting Perth and Melbourne, maybe even Sydney if my memory serves me right.

For someone who had flown in from the US that morning he was extremely upbeat and awake. I found Steve really engaging in a very sincere and polite way, not over-the-top or brash, just friendly and nice and great to have a chat with.

Steve Grossman kindly taking a photo with me

I awkwardly approached Steve and got to have a chat about how his trip was going, what his plans were, what he thought of the bars he’d visited so far and a little about beer camp and the new brewery in North Carolina.

“Beer Camp Across America is a multi-weekend path of beer festivals, a rolling tour that will cover 4,800 miles, celebrating the collaborative spirit of the craft brewing community with the fans that have buoyed its success. There’ll be seven stop —in cities with thriving craft beer cultures—moving geographically west to east, much like the craft movement has historically spread. The festivals will appropriately begin and end at Sierra Nevada’s two brewing locations.”

From Sierra Nevada Media Kit on their website

Incidentally there’s a great interview with Sierra Nevada Ken Grossman that was done during this beer camp rolling festival that you can check out here. It’s by Michael from Good Beer Hunting, my new favourite beer reading material.

When I asked how the logistical side of this years beer camp went, a seven stop tour across the country, he replied “a nightmare!” but I think he had a smile on his face. He also said the new brewery, though a little behind the original schedule, was just weeks away from opening their doors.

To celebrate having Steve in town, Five Bar had three Sierra Nevada beers on tap –

  • Snow Wit – a white IPA
  • Nooner – a session IPA
  • Harvest – an IPA showcasing either a hop variety, region or hopping method

Taps at Five Bar

The Snow Wit was my favourite, perfectly balanced and rather than just tasting like an IPA and looking like a wheat it was a great harmony of soft tropical fruit, a little spice and a really clean easy finish.

Five Bar matched this to some corn, jalapeño and cheese croquettes on a pineapple salsa, a really nice match with the beer easily cutting through the deep fried ball of yum (yep, that’s my other name for croquettes) and there was just enough fresh jalapeño to provide some contrast but not so much it destroyed everything else.

Croquettes at Five Bar

Next up I had the Harvest, juicy tropical hops mixed with caramel sweetness and a good match to Five’s steak tartare, served with horseradish, egg and an anchovy. The anchovy gave the dish to suitable omphf that it needed to stand up to the intensity of the Harvest. It was also nice to have a salty contrast to the beer’s fruit and malt sweetness.

Steak Tartare at Five Bar

Last I had, as I am sure you can guess, the Nooner and this was lovely and I wrote no notes at all. By this stage I stopped taking notes on my phone and just enjoyed the people around me and the beer in my hand. Happy Monday!

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