Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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BEER AVG
3.87/5
Based on:
137 Beers
103,455 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 283
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask:
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

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 283 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
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...

Photo of SmashPants
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of TX-Badger
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of bulldogg915
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of david18
3.75/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of Floydster
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I took a day trip to Chico with my girlfriend and her family, this was obviosuly my choice for lunch, we went around the gift store for a couple minutes when we first got there and a few of us bought shirts including myself, then we went on a tour which only lasted about fifteen minutes, the guide was terrible and it probably would have been better to just go explore ourselves but we did get to see some cool things, the old bottles in the glass cases were my favorite part, after that we walked over the restaraunt and was seated immediately, a few of the people I was with ordered the beers sampler which included fourteen of the sixteen beers available that day, I had a bunch of half pints myself, the most expensive pint on the menu was $4.25 which was awesome, they had a lot of stuff you would not see anywhere else too, the beers available while we were there were: Southern Hemisphere Harvest, Anniversary 2008, IPA, Brown, Blonde, Porter, Stout, Wheat, Double DeBockel, standard Pale Ale, Draught Style Pale Ale, Ruthless Hefeweizen, Torpedo, Crystal Wit, and Best Bitters English Ale, the kettles and everything were bright copper and looked awesome along with all their other equipment, the experimental hop field looked really nice as well and I cannot wait to try the Chico Estate Ale once I see it in a bottle, solar panels were everywhere and they supposedly have nine thousand of those, great atmosphere and the place was immaculate, service was good for the most part even though the people were not the nicest at times, food was great and definitely centered around an organic theme, I ordered the burger which came with cajun fries and enjoyed it with a variety of their mustards, other people with me ordered pizza, lentil burgers, a chicken sandwich, and the soup, the bread they bring you at the beginning is awesome as well, the food was priced very fairly and the meals ranged from seven to ten dollars at lunch, will be back here every time I am in Chico for sure, great stop and highly recommended

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Can't believe I've never reviewed this place. Been here about 20 times, and that may be a conservative estimate. Last visited Jan 2011 to pick up a case of Hoptimum.

Awesome atmosphere, unbelievable beauty all over the place. The brewing facility, the patio, hop fields, the very long bar, the amazing stained glass, hell even the gift shop. Quality is amazing, SNPA is the best beer in the world on such a massive scale. If you're into more rare stuff, they'll probably have a one off available for you. If you like hops, they'll have multiple selections available to you.

Service has always been good. Prices have always been good, a little more expensive than it used to be, but that's life everywhere I guess. Back in college we used to like to hit this place and then run downtown for the 'scene'. These days, I'm pretty content to just sit here all night and chill. A summer evening in the beer garden, you can't do it better than this. Tons of parking. Amazing scents. Amazing food.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.78/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of bradybeer
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 5

Last brewery on the trip from Bend back to Santa Cruz County and the 400th brewery I visited.

Located right off the highway and can't miss it with the hop fields and the grain silos.

My wife and I hit the gift shop where I scored a Timbukto SN bag for my 400th brewery.

We got there at 5pm ish on a Friday and got seated with in 10 minutes. The tap room is stunning and you have to see it to believe it. Our seat was above the bar in height and to the side giving us a great view.

I have to say I was disappointed by the beer selection. Of the 9 breweries visited on this trip the selection was nothing special. Yes they had the standard SN line up plus Ovila and Life and Limb 1 and 2. But only three special tap room only brews. One the Draught Pal Ale was one of the best two or three beers on this trip, a Rye PA, and a Kolsch. I expected more as delivered by Deschutes.

Food was exceptional-we split the sausage sampler, the salmon filled pasta shells, and the seafood pasta-top notch.

I would mos' def drive the 4 hours to get here even for a few hours-I wish they would kick up the tap only selection.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

On my last visit to Chico I ate dinner and had brews at the brewhouse three nights in a row- it's that good. I make it a point to stop here every time I'm in town. The place is very nice- very eco-friendly and beautiful and open without looking industrial. Very warm and inviting but still holds a lot of people. The service is generally eager and pleasant, but they aren't necessarily beer people. This place has what really matters though- great food and a great selection of solid beers. The first time I was here I had the sampler beer tray- Wow! 14 beers- that is a sampler tray. Many were beers not really available elsewhere as well, and many of the smaller run Sierra Nevadas are quite good. On subsequent visits I had various delicious pints. The food is also quite good. It is upscale pub food, but very tasty and with lots of organic option. They supposedly have their own herd of organic cattle to supply the restaurant. I always thoroughly enjoy myself here, and its quite worth going out of your way to check it out.

Photo of flexabull
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is the West Coast Beer Mecca in my opinion. While the brewery has gotten MUCH bigger than my first visit 10+ years ago, the quality hasn't suffered at all. It is great to show up there every now and then, because often there will be a new beer on tap that is available only at the brewery. (or maybe a few select locales in Chico) I personally like tasting Best Bitter, Pilsner, and the 20th Street when I make it by. The food is good too... but the only problem I have found is that this place is SO popular, that you will usually spend a decent amount of time waiting for a table.

Photo of Vogt52
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of tkdchampxi
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of DrMindbender
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of misternebbie
4.44/5  rDev -3.5%

Photo of atpca
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of VegasBill
3.93/5  rDev -14.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

So I finally made it to Chico and SN Brewing. I love the atmosphere in the Taproom, dark wood everywhere and this place is so so clean. I was let down with the tap selection, I thought there would be a lot that I had never seen actually there were only two. I tried the Torpedo to see how much different it tasted on tap and there was a big difference, much better. The menu looked boring to me so no food. This was a Monday and they were quite busy, I was sitting next to a local and we started chatting and he said they are busy all the time. I should back up, this is a really first class operation, covered parking with like a mesh cover and security in the lot, everywhere very clean and kept up, first class.
I did go to the gift shop and bought two bottles of the Brux, a collaboration of SN Brewing and Vinnie at Russian River. When I got home I read the reviews here on BA and they are not good. Maybe I will give one bottle as a gift to my worst friend.

Photo of BUNZILLA
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of buzzedup
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Troyone
4.4/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It's good to be King of the Micros. A really nice restaurant and brewery. Spacious dining areas and patio. There is a field next to the property where hops are grown for one of their specialty beers. One can smell the cooking malt in the parking lot. Staff was friendly, one had been with SN for 15 years and a favorite of his was an available seasonal.

Stainless steel and some brass tap nozzles that appeared to be changables. Copper plated bar with wood siding also wood tables, chairs, and a huge beer cabinet behind the bar. Their draught beers had thick marble housing. The kitchen was in the open with a brick oven and a real grill. Restroom was clean and fancy with copper sinks.

Service was prompt, kind of business like but informative and knowledgable.

Unbelievable but there were 16 beers on tap and no cask or guest beers. Unfortunately, in my opinion, most of the 16 beers tasted similar to their two versions of the flagship SNPA, therefore that was drowned out for notable consideration. Some possible notables were the Ruthless Hefeweizen (seasonal), Pale Bock, and Porter. A definite notable for today was the Bigfoot Barleywine (very good on tap). The local favorite is the 20th Street Ale or Green Hop Ale, same thing according to the regulars and locals, that is made with the hops in the neighboring field when available. Not available today nor was the Celebration Ale.

The food was really good with some healthy options.

Reasonable for the offering.

Photo of Flashy
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of drewone
4.58/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Chico is not convenient to anywhere - but I had wanted to visit for a long time and am glad I finally did as it did not disappoint. As you turn off freeway and drive down 20th you can not miss it.

Arrived on wed before thanksgiving around 11:45 - was able to snag the last spots on the 1pm tour (you can sign up ahead of time - but they always reserve half the spots for walk - in. Around holidays tours seemed to fill up fast.

Went and ate in the restaurant while waiting - super attentive staff, friendly to kids, quick service. Ordered pretzels, ham and bean soup, goat cheese salad, fish and chips, chicken curry (a special). All were very good, medium price. Also did 2 tater flights - $3 for 4 2oz tasters. As me and my wife were splitting 2 of them wish the size was a little bigger. Ideally in retrospect would have done tour than ate, but ended up not doubling up on many of the beers. Most all beers are all available as taster, half pints, pints or growler fills.

If you've trekked up here you better do the tour - and as it's free and they start you off first thing with a glass of SNPA you can't go wrong. Last about 1.5 hrs - highlights for me were the hop room and the packaging line. Ends in a tasting room where you get to try another 8 or so beers. Very awesome - guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

No k ids under 12 allowed on tour - although there is a short self guided tour open to any one.

Photo of david131
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of warmstorage
3.4/5  rDev -26.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Sigh. We centered our brewpub tour of central-north California around Sierra Nevada yesterday, and were ecstatic to finally reach "The Mothership" as we call it. Best thing: $2.75 half pints of the renowned Bigfoot Barleywine. Worst things: a bunch of swill light styles, and loads of loud families drinking pop.

Background: I drink about two six packs a week of Bigfoot Barleywine each year for the ~3-5 months I can get it. I drink an average of two six packs a month of SN Pale Ale. I drink an average of a six pack of either SN Porter or Stout a month. This is total, and doesn't include all the other beer I drink.

I LOVE Sierra Nevada. I believe in it, and will always have a soft spot in my heart for it. Now... that said, the brewery visit itself turned up a lot of crappy beer, and a super crowded family-style dining experience that was highly inconducive to realbeer drinking.

I've visited three times in the last year, and each time, been mildly disappointed in the quality of the beer. As I noted elsewhere in a review of the Best Bitter, I agree with another reviewer that many of SN's brews, available only on tap at the brewery (and maybe kegs?), basically taste identical to one another, and suck. That is, the Best Bitter varied MINIMALLY from the Blonde, the Pilsner, the Wheat, the Crystal Wheat, and the Extra Special Pale Ale.

We waited a little under an hour for a table, which was fine, as it was passed at the bar, with the mediocre bartender rushing by every once in a while. Apparently, a fencing convention was in town, and packing the place in a partial buy-out.

ATMOSPHERE: I used to like the atmosphere; as other reviewers have noted, it's beautiful, but only when empty, and not when packed to the gills with people. Even more unfortunate, a definite majority, and perhaps a supermajority, weren't drinking good beer. Sitting at the bar for almost an hour, we saw MUCH more white wine, Pilsner, and Blonde being poured than anything else. Entire tables, with half kids and half yuppie adults, drank only soft drinks and iced tea and water. WHAT? You come to The Mothership and drink POP? What the HELL is wrong with you? Clearly, many of these tables were full of people who might have been just as happy at TGI Friday's, Chili's, Olive Garden, etc. (we personally witnessed at least eight tables that fit this profile.) It was loud, crowded, bright, and heavy on young children. I (sort of) hate to be ageist and snobby, but this was *NOT* conducive to enjoying and drinking good beer.

The SERVICE was fine, and pleasant, if harried, and busy. No knowledge of the beer was noted, except when the bartender remarked on my drinking pints of the Best Bitter and Extra Special Pale Ale, then tasting Wheat and Crystal Wheat, and finally ordering a Stout. (Explanation: I like to taste lots of stuff, but since almost all the light beers taste thin, boring, and similar, I wanted a pint of something that actually would taste good.)

The FOOD was quite tasty, but let's be serious: I don't come to The Mothership to eat. We had a tasty pizza, and in the past two visits, I"ve enjoyed the organic greens salads, and sandwiches.

The SELECTION is amazing: approximately 17 beers currently on tap, but with limited information provided regarding distinctions between styles: for example, at least three were variants of "pale ale", and they basically all taste the same. I've had the great deal taster ($8 for 2-3 ounces of everything on tap) twice in the last year, and probably fiev times total, and each time, been struck by how little difference exists between the various lighter beers.

The beer QUALITY... well, as I said above, many of the light beers taste very, very, very similar to one another, and basically suck. We drank and tasted the Best Bitter, Blonde, Pilsner, Wheat, Crystal Wheat, and Extra Special Pale Ale, noting only minor distinctions between them. The Pale Bock was also very similar with only a cloying sweetness and hint of higher alcohol to distinguish it, and the Stout and Barleywine were obviously very different.

Of these, the Bigfoot Barleywine was fantastic, the Stout predictably great, and everything else went downhill, fast, from there. My "Quality" score of 2.5 reflects the reality that about five of the 17 beers are outstanding, and about eight are pretty poor for such a competent brewery, with five hovering in the middle, but barely average.

I have taken the self tour in the past, which is indeed entertaining. And yes, the place is pretty. But really: I'm going to a brewpub to drink great beer, and when I can get all the the great styles in bottles, and otherwise only taste boring, bland, thin styles, I'll skip it. While I'll continue to buy loads of SN six packs, I won't bother to drive all the way to Chico again.

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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA
100 out of 100 based on 283 ratings.