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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:
Photo of Offa
2.3/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer, called a "bitter" on the menu and 4.8% ABV, really seems to be an American Pale Ale. Regardless, it is rather thin, one-dimensional, and out of balance. I had it at Bear Republic on 3 May 09.

Amber, it has a medium off-white head, crweamy and slowly shrinking to a ring and wisps, leaving some nice lace.

The aroma is toasted grain, grapefruit, and a little lemon.

The taste is bitter grapefruit up front and all the way through the finish and lingering bitter aftertaste. It has a little toasted grain and hint of raisin, with the faintest hint of pine needle in the finish, but otherwise is just grapefruit. It is far too bitter for the thin, characterless, watery malt, with almost no sweetness or flavour to balance the bitterness, which lingers. Although not bitter in an absolute sense, this is one beer that is far too bitter relative to the rest of its elements and is totally unbalanced. It is a bit reminiscent of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but the latter is a little better when on tap, fuller in feel and flavour.

Offa, May 06, 2009
Photo of MikeRa
2.42/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Here is what I can say about the Nor'Cal Beer;

A: It has a Golden Amber to Orange looking color.

S: It has a real tame smell.

T: It has a very bitter taste, which surprised me. Can't tell if it's caramel or if it's the hops.

M: The mouthfeel is also very bitter.

D: This is one IPA that I won't drink again.

MikeRa, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of hplevy
3/5  rDev -19.1%

hplevy, Jul 05, 2012
Photo of DrunkenMonk
3/5  rDev -19.1%

DrunkenMonk, Jun 18, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
3/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

HopHead84, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of markgugs
3/5  rDev -19.1%

markgugs, Apr 20, 2014
Photo of DIPAFAN
3/5  rDev -19.1%

DIPAFAN, Feb 18, 2013
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 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 argock
3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

argock, Jan 25, 2013
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 Rhettroactive
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Rhettroactive, Nov 04, 2012
Photo of sixerofelixir
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

sixerofelixir, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of Greenster
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Greenster, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of corby112
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Samples on draft at the brewpub.

Pours a clear dark golden amber/copper color with golden orange hues when held to a light source and a creamy one finger head that slowly settles into a lasting ring that coats the glass with sheets of lacing.

Slightly roasted malt aroma with some earthy hops. There's also some biscuit, toffee, nut and smoke in the nose.

Lighter end of medium body and slightly watered don some subtle toastiness in the malt profile. Hints of caramel, biscuit and toffee along with some nice dry piney and citrus hop notes. Hints of lemon peel and grape fruit. None of the flavors in this beer are "big" rather it is a well balanced drinkable session beer. Pretty fever but nothing spectacular.

corby112, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of atrocity
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

atrocity, Apr 25, 2014
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 GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

GRG1313, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of flexabull
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

flexabull, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

GClarkage, Jul 03, 2014
Photo of fluidmotion
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

fluidmotion, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

t0rin0, Aug 21, 2012
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
Photo of RyanCMcGovern
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

RyanCMcGovern, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of DrFunkenstein
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

DrFunkenstein, Mar 05, 2012
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Nor Cal Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.