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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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BEER AVG
3.94/5
Based on:
172 Beers
29,996 Reviews
Place Score: 98
Reviews: 66
Visits: 309
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

1075 E. 20th Street
Chico, California, 95928
United States
phone: (530) 893-3520

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @sierranevada

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Reviews: 66 | Visits: 309
Photo of veech
5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

My wife and I, drove 3 hrs across the Sierra Nevadas from Lake Tahoe on my honeymoon to visit the brewery/habe lunch last week. Beautiful weather, and scenery en route were a plus. The minute you approach the property it's obvious the amount of forethought and care that goes into everything involving the business. A small hop yard greets the visitor as they approach followed by a parking lot with a terraced canopy of solar panels that were pleasing to both my green and aesthetic sensibilities. The patio was at once cozy and spacious. We chose to dine inside and were seated immediately during the lunch rush. The decor is wood and copper. Huge gorgeous bar with Sierra Nevada's logo and nature scenes similar to those depicted on the bottle labels highlighted the huge behind bar mirrors. The bar linied the left side of the room and was divided by a half wall. copper exhaust/ducts that match the brew kettles run the ceiling and compliment the wood fixtures that help round out the high country lodge decor. Very classy and well appointed place. Our waiter was incredibly attentive and offered us several samples of their more unfamiliar styles: the brown saison and the southern hemisphere ale being our favorites, both were extremely delicious and warranted refills. The food matched the decor and service in top notch quality. I'll qualify this by saying that my experience with fish tacos is not what a Californian's would be, but regardless, they were amazing and by far the best I've ever had. We also had an Employee's favorite pizza which was also tremendous. We took the short, obligatory afternoon brewery tour, stopped off for some souv's in the giftshop, went back to the beer garden for a pint of brown saison and 1/2 pint of Bigfoot before leaving Chico. I highly recommend that whether you find yourself in the Bay area, Sacramento or Tahoe, make the trek to Sierra Nevada. It will not disappoint. (1,920 characters)

Photo of StoutChaser7D
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is hallowed ground in Chico, California. The restaurant is great, the bar is awesome, but usually pretty packed. They normally have about 16 brews on tap not including the Thursday Cask. The service is prompt, bartenders are nice, but usually very busy. If taking the day or weekend in Chico, the tour is a lot of fun, but fills up very fast.

Overall Sierra Nevada presents a very full craft beer experience. There are no gimmicks, just good beer, classy environment, and nice people. The only issue I have with the place is during busy nights, the place gets a bit loud, but not so bad that it interferes with conversation. It is always worth the trip. (685 characters)

Photo of xhcadamx
5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place defines classy. Beautiful woodwork and shined copper everywhere. The quality of the beers and food were top notch. I was really impressed with all the beers they had on tap that they do not bottle. I wish these were more available besides just in the taproom. I went two times in one weekend (that good) and both times my servers were awesome. Food was excellent I had the fish and chips which blew me away and a salad with a grilled chicken breast. If I lived in Chico I would go all the time. (505 characters)

Photo of willjschmidt
5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I finally made a visit to my favorite brewery and it lived up to my expectations and more.

Atmosphere: The brewery, restaurant, and grounds are beautiful. There is a restaurant with inside and outside sitting. There is also a large hopyard adjoining the brewery. There is also a great gift shop where you can purchase beer, apparel, and other merchandise.

Quality: Everything about this place is high quality. The beer, the food, their commitment to the environment and sustainability. They only use the highest quality ingredients in their beer and food. For example, they only use whole cone hops and are the largest user of whole cone hops in the world.

Service: All the employees that I came across here were top notch. The bartenders, the tour guide, our waitress, and the gift shop employees. They were all fun, knowledgable, and you can tell they enjoyed their jobs.

Selection: They have all of their production beers on tap along with about 8 one-offs available only on-tap at the brewery.

Food: The food was great. I ordered a steak pizza. The steak was from a local ranch where the cattle are feed spent grain from the brewery. The circle of life! The cheese was made from Torpedo beer. It was excellent.

The Tour: I highly recommend their tour. It is top notch. It's 90 minutes and free. They start off with a video about the history of the brewery. The tour then takes you through all of the production from mashing, to the boil kettles, to the hop storage room, to the packaging line. Along the way they explain how they reuse and recycle 99% of their waste and generate a large portion of their energy and electricity. At the end you go into a tasting room and taste 8 different beers. Our guide was fantastic. She was knowledge and passionate about beer and Sierra Nevada.

I highly recommend a visit to what is really the mecca of American craft beer. (1,876 characters)

Photo of Finkline
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Favorite beer of all time is the Pale Ale. I try a lot of different beers throughout the year and that's the one I come back to time and again. Has a smooth yet full flavor taste. It's great for an everyday beer. Their other beers are pretty amazing as well. (259 characters)

Photo of jmadrigal2
5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I have been to Sierra Nevada many times and have always left happy. The atmosphere is great because of the classy decor. The quality has always been top notch. Service is always great, the staff always nice and helpful. The selection changes but they always have quite a few beers on tap. You can pick up a 13 beer sampler that is fun. The food is great as well. I have eaten here many times and loved everything I have eaten. The value is OK although I think the growlers are a bit pricey. All in all a great place that you should check out if you love beer. (559 characters)

Photo of Jakkusu90
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The brewery is so big. They have solar panels and are very eco friendly. It's beautiful. The only downside is there isn't much of an outside/patio area. The food was great, lots of vegetarian options. They had a great selection of their beers and other local beers. (265 characters)

Photo of spark3148857
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I mean this is beer heaven right? Where Ken Grossman took the Cascade hop and changed it all? Yep. Great tour. Great tasting. Great relaxed vibe. Food is delicious though maybe a bit overpriced. As Beerfest taught us..."You go, I'm never leaving this place." (258 characters)

Photo of Swamper
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Top notch. I've been blessed to have friends and family attend school in Chico. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is always a stop when I'm up there. The facility is truly what all craft breweries should aspire to be! The tours are fantastic, the history, tradition and love of it all are inspiring. The beer and food although not "fancy" are exactly what they should be. The Big Room? forgetaboutit! If you have the opportunity to see a show there DO NOT MISS IT! If you have a chance just go, stop by the gift shop too for gods sakes, very cool stuff. Wow, I need to go visit my cousin or something... Chico here I come! (614 characters)

Photo of 111213forlife
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I LOVE THIS! i want every birthday and special occasion to happen here. funeral too. i absolutely hate disneyland, but i called this place disneyland for beer loving adults. i went on the tour. it blew my mind. so much detail and so much information. i got to play in the hop bins! the story, the people, the beer, everything about this place just makes me happy and proud. i want to support this company, these people, this beer, and this place so that it can keep getting better and better. the things you will find on tap here can NOT be found anywhere else. the food is nicely paired, and the restaurant and patio are a great place to spend an afternoon. the gift shop will break your wallet. i try to come here at least every two months, but i am looking for ANY reason to go more often than that. i do appreciate their sustainable approach, and have said to myself, "well if sierra nevada can do it, i'm sure i can be more sustainable too." i am really looking forward to the east coast expansion, what sort of excitement do you think they'll come up with? i would encourage everybody to come here and see for themselves, but seriously, i like that it's not that crowded in chico... if you go at the right time. (1,217 characters)

Photo of Morgoth
4.86/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I spent 15 years growing up in the Chico area.
Before turning 21 I heard legends of the awesomeness of Sierra Nevada, as a brewery and as a restaurant. My first beer (and yes, I actually waited until I was 21 to try) was a Pale Ale!
As a advocate and entrepreneur in the Sustainability industry I have been constantly been inspired and impressed with SN's M.O.
I can not speak highly enough of this company, or what they have done for my community. I promote SN wherever I go, and have increased sales in multiple states ;).
The way the treat their employees has been a model for my own management for years.
I admire this company greatly and cannot speak highly enough of them.
Cheers! (687 characters)

Photo of GreenWBush
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

For some reason I am shocked as I write this to see that there have only been two BeerFly reviews of the classic Sierra Nevada brewing Company. I am having to restrain myself from going hog-wild with praise for the place.

The brewery sneaks up on you with the strange wort smell you catch a half a mile down the road. All of the sudden you are forced to deal with SNBC in its mighty stature: mammoth, impressive, even imposing. Even being as large as it is, it is still rather hard to believe that a single place like this could produce such a wide slosh of brew throughout the country and abroad.

The "experimental" hop garden near the parking lot is interesting but was in unhealthy shape when I visited. A sign informed visitors that the area used to be large hop producer, and these hops will one day be used in a small experimental batch at the brewery.

We took the self-guided tour, visiting the awe-inspiringly beautiful process unfold even into the more mechanized distribution area. I'm in beer utopia. You walk through a huge, 4-star looking reception area on the tour, and down the beautiful marble SNBC engraved stairs lie another beer guy's dream. Gift shop. Lots of SN swag, which is mostly all available on the website. I only took part in the free SNPA, Celebration, and Bigfoot posters littered around in the lobby area. Cheap SN is available for carry-out, and boy did we, eventually both putting down our respective six-packs with no effort later that night.

The actual dining area has the feeling of a nice hotel banquet area with a long curving gold bar, but we decided to sit outside in the secluded and beautiful beergarten area. The waiters are all super-professional and are treating everything in a very high-class way. I felt their beer knowledge might be a little lacking, but no way i'm testing that. This is the closest to 5-star food i'm getting on this (driving and camping) vacation.

I had a free-range, SN grain-fed hamburger, and the wifey had a huge spinach salad with all-organic veggies. The fries were even wicked good.

But the beers, of course, the beers. Fresh, slobberingly hoppy Bigfoot available in half-pints for a little more than $2. Nothing was more than $3/pint. Breaks for pitchers. I don't know about growler fills - most probably not as this is shooting to be a 'nice' restaurant. Extra Pale, Best Bitter, IPA, Rauchbier, and Pale Bock were the "different" selections I tried, though the Dopplebock I felt ruled the SN world that night.

A journey that I kept questioning myself about on the way (Chico was way out of the way, and way, well, not that great) but once I was here I found it to be the best beer nirvana i've had, and will probably have, in quite some time. (2,744 characters)

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I think not much more can be said about this place and the contributions they've made to the craft beer movement. A very nice facility that was packed at the time I visited, an August day after some long hiking through Lassen Volcanic Park miles to the north. While the service and atmosphere were hurt a little by this, the beer was still great in quality and selection. A must stop for any craft beer lover and I wish I could go back again... if it weren't so far from everything else I wanted to see... (505 characters)

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I lived in Chico this past summer and stopped into the Sierra Nevada Brewery at least a dozen times. I feel like I can write a pretty thorough review at this point, but I'll try to keep things concise. Here goes:

This is the best brewery I've ever been to. Definitely. Everything about the Sierra Nevada Brewery is high quality. The tap beers are always fresh, tasty and beautiful (the bartenders are masters of the pour). The beer selection is solid, boasting sixteen taps plus the occasional cask line. Polished brass and wood cover most of the interior, giving it a rustic yet classy feel. The bartenders, waiters, waitresses, and gift shop attendants are all kind, quick, and informative. Everything is reasonably priced, and the beer is downright cheap! All of the fellow customers I talked to were friendly and interesting. It's really hard to think of anything negative to say about this place.

Every experience I had at Sierra Nevada was a positive one. I highly recommend it to everyone. For those that haven't been before, here are a couple of tips to make your upcoming experience even more enjoyable:
- Every Thursday Sierra Nevada puts a different (and often brand new) beer on-cask. It's the only night of the week when cask beer is available at the brewery.
- All of the long-time patrons, home-brewers, and beer savants sit at the bar. If you're looking to strike up good beer conversation, you should sit here too.
- The patio is a great place to sit if you're looking for something a little quieter/mellower. It can get pretty hot up in Chico, which is why the patio is equipped with abundant shade and misters.
- The food at Sierra Nevada is hit and miss. Your safest bet is probably a burger, sandwich, or salad. The pizzas are okay, but I've heard that the fish & chips and Mexican food are downright bad. Everything is very fresh and grown/raised by Sierra Nevada.
- Self-guided tours are available daily from 10:00am-6:00pm. Guided tours are also available upon request.
- Check out "The Big Room" if you get a chance. I never got to see it, but I hear that the concerts in there are awesome!

This is a must stop! If you're anywhere near Chico, make the trip to the Sierra Nevada Brewery. You will not regret it. (2,238 characters)

Photo of 1759Girl
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

There are many things to love about Sierra Nevada, starting with the company's part in the resurgence of microbrewing in CA,not to mention nationwide.
It's pretty awesome to drive in and park in the shade of the solar panel-covered parking lot, beside the beautiful hop farm!
The tap room is always busting at the seams with convivial locals who are proud to tell you all the fabulous things that SN does for the community, and to promote green policy.
Oh, I should probably get to the beer. ...
You'll need to walk down the whole bar before choosing, because there are so many styles on tap, that you can't see all the handles in one place. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgable. You get a good pour in a proper glass everytime.
Okay on to the food. Don't think that Sierra Nevada has just kept strict quality control on their beer... Even the meat is local and organic. And, from what I hear it's awesome. The pizza is excellent. I'd rather that the caesar salad had more anchovy, garlic and lemon... and that they would make a tasty stout ranch for their fries.. but these are just suggestions from a connessieur.
Did I mention the beer garden? If it's not a million-degree Chico day, then be sure to hit it up.
Enjoy! (1,230 characters)

Photo of GeorgeH
4.76/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Awesome place to visit. I took the tour and it was outstanding. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and personable. Tour was just the right amount of time. Seeing their facility is extremely impressive, and recently, has become very energy efficient. Tour ends with a large sampling of everything they are currently serving in the area, which is a much larger selection than you can get anywhere outside of Chico. I can't recommend this place enough. Sierra Nevada has been my go to beer when I'm unsure of what I want to drink. I know it will be outstanding every time. Go enjoy this place! (593 characters)

Photo of Rand_ale_Thor
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

One of the best in the country. After seeing a few more breweries, it is amazing to me the size of this place. I love that they have top-notch food, and they always have a good selection. I will have to go back now that my palate has changed. Worth the visit. (259 characters)

Photo of indysamra
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

A great place to take a date. It looks great when you drive up, and they have a great selection of there brews.

Definetly suggest this for a good night out, however, the food does get a little pricey, but the beer is definetly worth it.

If your looking for a place to get drunk, this is not it. If this is the case, check out Madison Bear Garden, downtown Chico.

This is however, a great place to entertain business guests, or to take someone on a first date. Good food, and great beer. Overall a good selection.

Cheers, and bottoms up
Indy :o)
...
... (568 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

What a beautiful restaurant and brewery.
Stopped at the restaurant and had their beer sampler....16 current on tap beers in 4 oz glasses...that's a half gallon of beer. ($8.00) Service and knowledge of the staff was great.Menu was extensive and reasonable. Food was excellent.
Did a self tour of the brewery which again was beautiful as well as the gift shop.
My only complaint was that they don't have growlers, however I am told they should be selling growlers of beer in about a month. (that would be around July, 2006).
If I lived in Chico, this would DEFINATELY be a regular stop for me. (596 characters)

Photo of Ljoreilly
4.65/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The Asheville brewery is a sight to behold. The taproom is beautiful, the beers are really good with several you can't get anywhere else, and the food far exceeded expectations. It's a cathedral of beer, the best I've ever visited. (231 characters)

Photo of Bouder32
4.64/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Really enjoyed the brewery tour and ate lunch in the Brew Pub afterward. Was a bit disappointed that they changed out the Hoptimum to Oktoberfest from when I started the tour to when it came to the end and the sampling. I was really looking forward to Hoptimum as I have not tried it as yet, but the sampling was great at the end of the tour. Enjoyed the food at the Pub and sampled quite a few other beers during lunch. Was very impressed with the presentation and food quality. Can not wait to come back again next year! (522 characters)

Photo of SanFranJake
4.64/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I love this place more and more every time we go to Chico.
Always been a SNBC fan and was lucky enough to marry a woman who was raised in Chico, so "going home for a few days" is NEVER a bad thing.
Great beer served in the proper glass, great prices, even for growlers and just as many distributed beers available on tap as there are brewery exclusives, so a win-win! Bigfoot is on-tap always too.
So while you can get the Pale, Celebration Ale and Torpedo on-tap, they also have a bunch of not released beers like Barrel Aged Ovila Dubbel (Quad also available but in bottle only), Bigfoot and other specials.
Good gift shop as well. (633 characters)

Photo of beerceller99
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I've visited this brewery several times in my travels up and down Interstate - 5 between the Puget Sound and Bay areas . It's located in the small valley town ( small for California , anyway ) of Chico , about an hour plus drive north of Sacramento on rural highway 99, and maybe 2.5 hours from Frisco, basically it's in the sticks. Being that it's only a half mile off of Hwy 99 and huge makes it easy to find.

The brewery lobby is a large two story area with super fine brass and wood trim. The gift shop is neat , clean , and well stocked with Beeraphernalia , including genuine SN tap handles. Cold bottled SN beer to go is also available at discount prices. The brewery is also one of the few places you can get bottles of their Pale Bock every spring ; one of my favorites.

Brewery tours are available. Walking the tour reminded me of a baby Miller plant only much cleaner and with much better products of course.

The Bar - Restaurant is the largest I've seen that's attached to a brewery. The Bar is " L " shaped and has about 25-30 stools to slide on to. The Bar is open to the large all ages dining area which seats 90-100 folks. The furnishings and atmosphere here is top notch and is very popular with the locals. Get here much after 5 and you'll be on a waiting list for a table. The food menu is much more than the standard pub grub and is very good at that. The 3 sausage platter is a standout item on the menu.

On tap are 10-12 SN brews most of which are not bottled. A draught style Pale Ale , Harvest Ale, and Rauchbier are among my favorite tap only brews. Seasonally they'll have Celebration and Bigfoot on tap. My favorite on tap brew is the stout which goes well with the menu items.

Over all this is an excellent establishment and I' d highly recommend it to all BA's passing through the Northern California area. (1,853 characters)

Photo of kpattonunc
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Overall, an exceptional destination. A place I often bring visitors; everyone knows the beers. To take them to the brewery is always a plus. I also frequently take them to the gift shop to buy swag. The regularly have an interesting selection of various beers not distributed. Recently, the added the growler option which lets you take home a selection that you try in the pub. The food is excellent! Well worth the visit. Even though I live in town and frequently visit, I am always interesting in checking out the new draft selections as well as the new menu items. (567 characters)

Photo of SpecsBEERMAN
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

A must see. The best brewery I have ever seen. Most smaller breweries would die just to have access to Sierra Nevada's pilot brewery. An amazing operation. You would never believe this place is so big until you have seen it first hand. The entire brewery is cleaner than my kitchen. The pub attached to the brewery is amazing. Great, laid back atmosphere where after work hours you will find the brewers and Ken Grossman enjoying a pint and conversing. The food is even better. The cows where the beef comes from are feed all of Sierra's spent grain, the result is something everyone needs to experience. (604 characters)

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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA
98 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.