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Nor Cal Ale - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Nor Cal Ale
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BA SCORE
84
good

75 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 75
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 11.83%


Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Inspired by Northern California's brewing history, this California Bitter is as inviting as the Redwoods. Smooth and drinkable, this ale has a well rounded malt character accented by Cascade and Centennial dry hops.

(Beer added by: DefenCorps on 04-28-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 75 | Reviews: 54 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of argock
argock

Virginia

3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap in a Shaker pint at Mellow Mushroom (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Very dusky amber with short cap of off-white head that left some lace.

S: Very bland average-homebrewish herbal and pine hoppiness with some citrus character. The malt backing is not too prominent in the aroma.

T: The flavor is also very bland with a steely, almost metallic pine and tannic hops flavor followed by a crackery but otherwise washed out crystal malt backbone. It has a very homebrew character, with too much astringency for the maltiness. If I had to guess this has a big wallop of Northern Brewer hops.

M: Decent slick smooth mouthfeel but the carbonation is too low.

O: I am surprised Bear Republic let this out of their brewery. This is easily the worst beer I have had from them - flabby with too much crystal malt and a semi-astringent hops tannin feel and flavor. Skip it.

Serving type: on-tap

01-25-2013 03:32:14 | More by argock
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Lost Dog Cafe.

The beer is golden hued with a small white head. The aroma offers some hops and citrus. Tangy flavor with citrus and a bit of an earthy tone. Grapefruit, biscuits, crackers, grain. Light bodied and thin with moderate carbonation. Overall this was ok.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2012 01:28:39 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap their Tap Room. Not really an ESB as Cascade and Centennial. Served too cold and overcarbonated. BitterTaste did not come through, it was malt forward, bready, the kind of things altogether that do not make for the style. It was lacey with an off-white head.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2012 01:45:17 | More by Sammy
Photo of silentdonkey
silentdonkey

California

3.08/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap over trivia and Sunday football at Congregation Ale House.

A: Light copper with a small off white head. Nice clarity and minimal lacing left behind.

S: Not much going on with the nose. Faint amounts of biscuit malt and caramel. A slight hint of citrus hoppiness.

T: Just as the nose suggests. A slight malty/caramel backbone and finish with a mild acidic citrus note up front.

M: Smooth, medium/low body with a fair amount of carbonation.

O: A very drinkable pale ale. It is a borderline bitter in my opinion. More malty and bready notes than your typical APA. Not what I was expecting with the name. It suggests a hoppier west coast PA.

Serving type: on-tap

10-22-2012 20:27:45 | More by silentdonkey
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Meridian Pint the other night.

The beer pours a golden amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is likewise attractive, as I pick up some cereal grains and light dry citrus. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but the beer actually had a bit more hoppy bitterness on the finish than I was expecting. This beer is very well balanced, in a dry, west coast style manner, and the finish was clean and refreshingly bitter. Mouthfeel was otherwise medium bodied, and I appreciated the relatively low alcohol in this beer.

Very nice beer, and given the abv., quite sessionable as well. Impressive.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2012 13:11:24 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On the board at the brewery they refer to this as Nor Cal Bitter. Tastes more similar to a classic bitter moreso than an american pale ale. Looks nice, dark gold, thin white head that had decent lacing. Aroma was off, I don't think they went for the aroma to be so traditional that it had a mild infection to it, but it gave off that kind of soggy mildly soured unintentionally vibe.

Biscuity and bready, the beer has probably noble hops, a little sticky viscosity for a beer this light in terms of alcohol, kind of filling. Far maltier than you would think looking at the color and abv. Wish it had more hoppiness going for it. There's a few examples of hoppy sessions coming out more and more, it would seem to be right up BR's alley, but oh well, this is more likely to impress your 75 year old grandfather from England moreso than anyone else.

Serving type: on-tap

10-14-2012 19:26:49 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero

Texas

3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a toasted sesame-tan color. It lacks a discernible aroma—it’s muted, like the volume is too low to make anything out. The flavor is crisp, with a honeyed sweetness and a bitterness midpoint. Overall decent but nothing really stands out.

Serving type: on-tap

08-31-2012 02:53:35 | More by elNopalero
Photo of socon67
socon67

New York

4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Copper pour with great foam retention. Decent lacing of the glass. Clarity is excellent.

S - Floral scent jumped out originally. Smell of orange & tangerine, and fresh dinner rolls.

T - Slight malty flavor with a mild acidic bite of citrus. Easy drinking APA.

M - Smooth, enjoyable, and went great with my food. Light feel but still plenty of flavor.

O - Good beer that has subdued flavor, but is far from bland.

Serving type: on-tap

06-15-2012 01:46:20 | More by socon67
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Golden brown in color with a tight, light khaki colored head that eventually leaves spots of lace down the glass.

Very mild aroma, and mainly of biscuit, bready malts, a slight hint of sweet malt, and a faraway citrus character.

The flavor follows the aroma, in that it's extraordinarily simple and mild. Moderate bitterness, and drinkable sure, but there's not much character here. Biscuity, bready, slight sweetness, and a hint of citrus hop component.

Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Crisp and drinkable.

I suppose this would pair well with some powerful, intense food, because there isn't enough flavor in this beer to get excited about.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2012 23:17:37 | More by ehammond1
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11/9/2011

On tap at Churchill's.

A: Dark copper and hazy with an inch of beige foam.

S: Light orange notes meet pronounced bread and biscuit. Caramel is light. The malt is stronger than the hops.

T: Dominated by biscuit and bread. Light orange notes are evident and there's a low bitterness accompanying the lower moderate sweetness.

M: Medium body with upper moderate carbonation.

Overall: A really malty pale ale, but still okay for the nonce. I wouldn't order it again, though.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2011 00:01:49 | More by HopHead84
Photo of avaldivia
avaldivia

California

3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Bear Republic.

A: Copper colored. On the clear side. Nice inch thick head with great lacing.

S: Pine. Very floral. A nice amount of malt to balance.

T: Nice amount of citrus and pine. Well balanced by the malt.

M: Medium bodied. Good carbonation.

O: I like this a lot. At the brewery this is categorized as a bitter, but here it is labeled as a Pale Ale. Perhaps I am wrong, but I could have sworn those were different. Either way, I am a fan.

Serving type: on-tap

09-08-2011 06:01:20 | More by avaldivia
Photo of Sky2625
Sky2625

Washington

3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Dray in Ballard. Poured to a standard pint glass (notes from 8/26/11):

A - Poured a dark bronze brown, with 1/2-finger cream-colored small bubble head. Some retention, spotty lacing.

S - Low intensity to the scent. Mild semi-sweet maltiness darkened by caramel, with mild pine & citrus hops riding over the top. Caramel note continues into a bready malt and fresh grain hint.

T - A brief flash of citrus and pine hop, but then mildly honey sweet and toasted malt takes over that carries hints of caramel, providing most of the flavor profile. Finishes bready, with an ever-so-slight tangy bitterness that lingers.

M - Light-to-medium body, smooth texture. Mild tingly carbonation. Refreshing, despite a slightly dry finish.

D - This beer grew on me from "meh" to "hey, this is alright". I found the flavor pleasant, not too overly bitter or too much burnt caramel. Nor is it too sweet overall. Light and refreshing for a Bitter.

Serving type: on-tap

08-27-2011 16:31:47 | More by Sky2625
Photo of thain709
thain709

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Served with a copper colored body that had one fingers worth of white head...it fell to a spotty cap but showed nice retention which lead to decent lacing

S - The aromas were minimal...light hops mixed with a more pronounced graininess

T - The flavors are well balanced here...there is a blast of sweet citrus from the hops but that's the only hop flavor in the beer...the middle shines with some toasted grain which gives way to a bready finish

M - Medium bodied...crisp...okay carbonation...bready finish

O - I was surprised there were not more hops in this one seeing as Bear Republic has many hopped up beers...I found this to be pleasantly balanced and easily drinkable...it's just I feel I could drink more of something else...something with a little more hop presence

Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2011 20:16:56 | More by thain709
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer served on cask in a little snifter. Beer is yellow and clear with a thin white head of tiny bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is mildly piny and a little sweet.

Beer is thin with a moderate bitterness, some grain up front, moderately dry finish, creamy mouthfeel. Overall it is a decent APA but I doubt I would have it again.

Serving type: cask

07-04-2011 17:05:51 | More by drabmuh
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pint at the Brass Rail.

A: The pale ale is a toasty amber color, lighter towards the yellow end of the spectrum. Although bubbly, the ale comes without any head. A few patches of lace follow, thanks to the carbonation.

S: The nose is malty, a toasted aroma that can't shy away from its grainy roots. The hops that are present are seemingly for balance only, their citrus is no match for the malts.

T: More balance and malty domination here. The toasted biscuit flavors carry the ale, punctuated periodically by crisp citrus hops. Caramel rises up to join the biscuit. As the ale is consumed, more hops emerge byt never get beyond the balancing stage. A surprise, I wasn't expecting so much balance from a California (albeit northern CA) brewery.

M: The mouthfeel is lightly toasted, smooth thanks to the reduced hop influence. Plus the ale is a drinkable <5% beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-14-2011 19:40:21 | More by akorsak
Photo of philbe311
philbe311

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Probably the single most beautiful American Pale Ale that I have ever encountered... Two plus fingers worth of ultra creamy rich foam ecru colored head... Good retention gives way to a splotchy lacing... A rich warm caramel amber color... Sparce sporadic carbonation...

S - Rather subdued... Caramel... Biscuit... Faint earthy hop resins... Nice, but a tad too muted...

T - Crystal malts... Earthy hops... Loads of caramel... Biscuit... Some nuttiness... Minor apricot notes... A slightly bitter finish that lingers...

M - Light to medium bodied... Smooth to start... Light... Refreshing... Clean... Crisp... Subtle carbonation... Finishes dry... Simple and straight forward...

D - A very nice American Pale Ale... I wasn't a huge fan after the first sip, but this one continually grew on me... By the end, this one was quite quaffable... Lots of flavor for sub 5% ABV... A job well done by Bear Republic...

Serving type: on-tap

05-16-2011 23:05:08 | More by philbe311
Photo of afksports
afksports

New York

4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed Bear Republic's Nor'Cal American Pale Ale a while back, and I'm getting to typing up this review from my notes thanks to some famous Presidents. Cheers, George & Abe!

For sure a sessionable beer, Nor'Cal features a lovely floral hops aroma on top of a west coast bitter body. It looks like a pale ale, hazy copper in appearance with a good bit of bubbles for a cask conditioned brew. The taste has that American Pale Ale hops bite that you come back for, and then carries through with some toasty malts. In the back it finishes clean but stays bitter, even on the top of the mouth.

Perhaps a bit too drying ultimately, Nor'Cal falls short of being a new favorite despite it's interesting malt character. But it's solid and well-built.

And it's probably pretty good that I don't absolutely love it, because it seems pretty tough to get!

Serving type: cask

02-21-2011 20:50:53 | More by afksports
Photo of jsanford
jsanford

Georgia

3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Lodge in Hilton Head, SC on 2/11/11

A - Poured a clear copper with a 1-inch creamy white head. Moderate retention, but leaves some great lacing on the glass.
S - Quite sweet nose of caramel malt, pineapple, pine resin, and peaches. Nice and tropical, like a can of fruit cocktail in syrup.
T - Again, quite fruit and sweet. Pineapple, peaches and caramel dominate with a bit of bitter pine in the finish.
M - Slightly sticky with a medium body and medium-low carbonation.
D - Pretty drinkable, but the sweetness gets a bit cloying about 3/4 of the way through.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2011 15:38:48 | More by jsanford
Photo of sleazo
sleazo

New York

4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

on Cask Blind Tiger

A_Copper/Tan hued beer with a small large bubbled foam. Slightly cloudy but typical of a cask ale.

S_Nice floral/citrus hop bouquet, not too strong due to the cask but very fresh. Light toasted malt background.

T_First taste is a flash of bright hops which fades quickly into a nicely toasted and ever so slightly caramel malt.

M_A nice cask conditioned ale with the creamy low carbonated mouthfeel of many fine English bitters.

D_Goes down very smooth with a refined character that doesn't blast you in the face with flavour. This could easily make for a nice session.

Serving type: cask

01-13-2011 19:17:17 | More by sleazo
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Made Mex I think it was 2.50 a pint during happy hour, probably one of the best deals in the beer world. Poured nice amber bodied slightly clouded with a caramel off white head nice ven lacing with each sip. Aroma has a fresh minty herbal citrus with hints of bready honey coated malts. Flavor wise upfront caramel malts blended with citric notes and more herbal slightly minty hop additions, maybe even a touch of pine cone. Mouthfeel is slightly oily textured with a light to medium body, soft natural easy going carbonation. Drinkability is excellent, without a doubt killer west coast session ale send more kegs please.

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2010 16:16:56 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Natural510
Natural510

Ohio

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery. Described as an "American Bitter" at 4.5%ABV.

Pours a dark copper-bronze with creamy white lacing.
Scent of burnt caramel malt and herbal hops.
Flavor is a pungent blend of semi-sweet caramel malt and a peppery hop. Everything well-proportioned and balanced, as one would expect in an English-style bitter.
Full in body, very drinkable. Further proof alcohol content and full-bodied flavor are not mutually exclusive.

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2010 03:38:53 | More by Natural510
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a growler to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a clear consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: Different than I would have expected. Smelled of pine, citrus, hops, and some malt.

T: An interesting flavor of pine, citrus, caramel malt and nice dose of West Coast hops. Very easy to drink.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: An easy to like, drinkable beer.

Serving type: growler

10-16-2010 12:51:12 | More by avalon07
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at Deep Ellum on 5/22

A: This beer pours a nice deep, cealr copper color with a one finger of creamy white head. Head recedes at a moderate pace leaving spots of webbed lacing.

S: Nose has a good deal of fruitiness, citrus hops, piney hops, and some caramel malts.

T: Taste starts with a decent amount of piney hop bitterness before fading in to a rich caramel malt flavoring. Finish is of citrus hops - orange peel and hints of lemon.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, oily body with a bit of a sticky finish.

D: Goes down easily, nicely balanced, very tasty, and with the ABV makes this a beer to sit with for a long time.

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2010 16:10:05 | More by Jayli
Photo of deanhead
deanhead

Vermont

3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hard to tell the color of this beer in the low light of the the Dirty Truth. Seemed to be a golden beer with some amber hues, nice clingy lace. No head to speak, just some bubbles lingering around the top of the glass

Moderately spicy aroma and taste with some biscuity grainy notes. Hints of Triscuits and Juile Andrews singing the sound of music in my ears. The spicy notes remind me of Rye/

Crisp and dry, a little to thin in body to my liking for this style.

Highly drinkable, yet very uneventful beer. Nothing really stands out about this beer that truly makes me want to seek out another. At 6.75 a pint, I'll pass for now.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2010 14:13:41 | More by deanhead
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barleys, one of the new offerings I was simply dying to try. Served in a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/17/2010.

The deep copper colored pour yield a head that was about two inches in height before settling down to a thin, almost bare top with a light lacing to it. Nice carbonation could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass. Aroma is well balanced, Nice touches of caramel are split alongside a decent amount of citrus hops. Warming tends to bring this one a step further and now there is a nice and well rounded orange coming through. Nice and clean, light body with ample carbonation let the flavor really pop here. Bright caramel tones, nice touches of citrus and just a really well balanced profile all lend me to really find this on quite nice. Easy drinking and light on the ABV make it go down like water.

Overall while not the best thing in the world, this one certainly does work. I would have no issue with having this again and was a nice change up.

Serving type: on-tap

04-19-2010 00:47:00 | More by mikesgroove
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Nor Cal Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.