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Nor Cal Ale - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nor Cal Ale
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BA SCORE
84
good

77 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 77
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 11.59%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
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: 77 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by deanhead:
Photo of deanhead
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

deanhead, Apr 26, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap/growler @ DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY. Pours cloudy dark almond amber, lazy, tiny bubble head/film and leaving fine sheets of lace and also tiny spots. Nose of orange peel and pine hops.Tasty and easy drinking moderatly hoppy ale. Nice soft and smooth mouthfeel adds to the easy drinkability of this one. Notes of citrus and pine, smooth malt under pinings. An understated and sublimely sessionable brew. More high quality product from BR

Billolick, Jul 01, 2009
Photo of ehammond1
3.15/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

ehammond1, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Oct 14, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

WVbeergeek, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of Sammy
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Sammy, Nov 13, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Delivered to the bar with a short head of creamy off-white foam that slowly settled to an average collar and whispy surface covering. Some decent lacing was left behind, and continued to be left behind throughout the glass. The body was a crimson-accented amber with a slight haze.

The nose was fruity/citrusy over a basic maltiness.

Citrusy hops (grapefruit, a spritz of pineapple, perhaps some lemon) dominate over a basic golden maltiness in the flavor. It reminded me of Lagunitas' Hop Stoopid, but not as full. It's kind of like hop juice. As such, it's got hop flavor and a raspy bitterness that pretty much carries from start to finish.

Overall, it's a little one-sided, and a little bit light bodied. For a hop-head it's easily approachable, but kind of lacking (we can all handle BIGGER HOPPY BEERS). For someone who's just getting into hoppy beers it might work, but then again, it might be a little to raspy and bitter.

NeroFiddled, Jul 04, 2009
Photo of socon67
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

socon67, Jun 15, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

GRG1313, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of akorsak
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

akorsak, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of bonbini26
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Blind Tiger 05-22-09

Pours an amber color, with a medium white head, some lacing. Smells of toasted grain, citrus, pine and lemon. Starts off as a bitter grapefruit taste, i wish it would linger around a little more. Biscuit, toasted malt also come through. Sweet finish. Mouthfeel is average nothing to write home about. Overall a pretty easy drinking beer, I'd say its a cross between an APA and an ESB

bonbini26, May 26, 2009
Photo of philbe311
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
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...

philbe311, May 17, 2011
Photo of hplevy
3/5  rDev -19.1%

hplevy, Jul 05, 2012
Photo of jsanford
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

jsanford, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of DrunkenMonk
3/5  rDev -19.1%

DrunkenMonk, Jun 18, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

mikesgroove, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of Bierguy5
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at South Park Tavern. Pours a nice clear copper color. Thin off-white head stays at a thin layer for quite some time. Great patches of lace left clinging.

Soft aroma of citrusy, slightly floral hops. Soft fruity aroma as well. Just a whiff of lighter caramel.

Talk about balance here. A lighter caramel, toasty base. Soft citrus notes. A light bitterness.

Medium body, lighter carbonation. Alcohol is not noticeable at all. Great session beer.

Bierguy5, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Haus Staudt. Copper-colored body with the slightest haze, topped by a finger of foam. The head leaves rings of lace behind with each sip.

The aroma has a light herbal hoppiness, toasted malt, faint caramel, mineral and a slight fruitiness reminiscent of peaches. Subtle, clean and pleasant.

Toasty with light fruity sweetness up front, quickly followed by an herbal hop kick, nuttiness and a touch of caramel. The crisp and medium-light texture makes for easy quaffing. Finishes with flavors of burnt toast, bitter herbs and slight earthiness. A solid session ale.

largadeer, Mar 10, 2010
Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Tyrawlings, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of plaid75
4.38/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at The Blind Tiger, NYC.

Poured a medium to dark copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light grainy malt and a grassy hop.

The taste was well balanced and mild with soft malts and vibrant grassy English hops.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style with a good residual hop spice and dry finish.

Overall a tasty and very quaffable APA.

plaid75, May 21, 2009
Photo of Sky2625
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Sky2625, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Rhettroactive, Nov 04, 2012
Photo of TheFightfan1
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Filled up my growler at the Hulmeville Inn. Pours a crystal clear amber color with an egshell colored heading. Lacing is good leaving some ringage throughout the session.

Smell of hops blasts you in the nose but then a heavy fruity aroma kicks in for the finishes nice balance.

Taste is hoppy a very green taste at first,followed by a slight burnt caramel tasting. Finishes with a sugary hoppy smack on the palate.

Mouth is a bit thin but bubbley excellent retention but finishes with a lingering hoppy feel in the mouth

Drink is good. A light ABV and I would say very sessionable. A great beer for someone who is looking to get into the craft seen a decent all around tasting beer.

TheFightfan1, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of silentdonkey
3.08/5  rDev -17%
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.

silentdonkey, Oct 22, 2012
Photo of rfgetz
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kite and Key...

A: Light to medium brown with nice, whispy white head.

S: Citrus and piney hops. A scent of dark fruit in the background.

T: Piney, west coast hops. Lighter citrus notes from the hops balance with a nice roasted malt charachter. Bitter bite to finish.

M: Light bodied, ample carbonation and crisp.

D: Very tasty, low in ABVs but maybe a touch bitter and hoppy.

rfgetz, Aug 03, 2009
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Nor Cal Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.