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Nor Cal Ale - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nor Cal Ale
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BA SCORE
82
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 Pecorasc
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at South Park Tavern in Dayton, Ohio on 2/25/10. One of five Bear Republic beers on tap at the moment. Served quite cold in a Shaker Pint.

A- Light copper in color and clear, but not polished. Presented with a 1/2 inch of creamy, white head that fell quickly down to a thin film, leaving sticky, white lacing on its way. A normal amount of carbonation and beading. Above average considering the conditions (extra cold in a shaker).

S- Dominated by earthy hop aroma with minimal malt background and a small amount of diacetyl. Malt is mostly bread with very little carmel. Pleasant, but not very inviting.

T- Starts out with a sweet carmel malt and an enjoyable slightly metallic taste. Quickly overtaken by an earthy and piney hop flavor. Good amount of bitterness in the finish that sticks around for the aftertaste. Very little alcohol, as expected. Much improved at room temperature. Nice spin on the style.

M- More carbonation than desired. Medium bodied with a finish on the dry side. Took the last 1/3 of the beer and swirled vigorously for 10 seconds. The result was a much less carbonated beer and a much improved mouthfeel.

D- High drinkability: low enough in alcohol to have several in a sitting and tasty enough to not complain. If this were ever offered on cask, I would really try to get at a few pints. Offered as real ale, this would improve in all the right areas. An enjoyable beer that should be enjoyed in the right atmosphere or under the right circumstances.

Pecorasc, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly-hazed orange with a nice white head and pretty good lacing as it went down. Smell was very nice with a lot of sweet malt alongside some citrus hops. Taste was a little more subdued than the aroma, with the malt coming through more than the hops, which was somewhat of a disappointment knowing BR's penchant for lovely hoppy beers. Medium bodied with good carbonation, and pretty nice drinkability.

Thorpe429, Feb 16, 2010
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 donniecuffs
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From notes)
Overall, I found this beer to be remarkably similar to the ESB...

A: Orange/copper, thin head, decent lacing.

S: Biscuit/malty/toffee mixed with earthiness/woodiness.

T: Same as the aroma, with a nice balance and an earthy finish/aftertaste.

M: Creamy yet light, with little visible or felt carbonation.

D: Certainly sessionable, but the creamy texture might get to be a little much after a while.

donniecuffs, Sep 11, 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 Nickls
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(From notes)

A - Clear darker orange color; poured with an eggshell head that held OK; spiderweb lacing

S - Earthy hoppiness that's pretty tame; sweetish malts; is that Ringwood yeast?; biscuity

T - Hops are actually a bit fruity than I caught in the aroma; lightly sweet malts; balanced comes to mind; bit of biscuit dough in the finish

M - Smooth and a touch creamy; medium MF; soft carbonation

D - Nice enough; balanced and smooth; still compelling enough to enjoy

Overall, not a bad take on the style, but it definitely leaned into the British 'pale' style as well (at least to my palate). Nice stuff.

Nickls, Sep 05, 2009
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 ffejherb
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Bear Republic on 7/17/09.

A - Hazy amber/orange body with one finger of dense, creamy white head that just streaked the glass with thick, intricate lacing, finally settling to a quarter inch of creamy retention.

S - Malt-forward aroma with toasted grains and some sweet caramel. Hop character is light and citrusy... simple but not overstated. Classic pale ale nose that is on-par for the style.

T - Malty flavor overall with bready and sweet caramel notes as well as hints of toffee. Hop character is subtle with citrus taking center stage, but also some mild perfumy notes in a secondary role. Finishes with a distinct toasted grainy malt character.

M - Medium body with a light syrupy texture and a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel overall. Not too thin at all. Mouthfeel is pretty spot-on for a cask ale. Moderate hop bite on the palate with a slightly dry, bitter finish.

D - Really tasty pale ale with a distinct malt character. Nor'Cal is light and flavorful, and certainly very good on cask.

ffejherb, Aug 14, 2009
Photo of bobsy
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Ginger Man NYC. I'd never heard of Nor'Cal before, and when I saw it on the menu I thought it was just a place descriptor of the brewery at first, so I got this expecting a Racer 5.

Anyway, nice hazy amber with a creamy white head that soon dissipated to a film and left a few touches of lace. A good dose of citrus and pine in the nose, along with some field berries and pale malt. Yeah... essentially you have the flavour there too. The hops lead off and underpin throughout, while giving a light to moderate bitterness. The pale malt is present, but feels like it should be bulked up a bit. Not bad flavour for the ABV, though. Light body and soft carbonation make for an easy drinker.

Nothing too great going on here, but a solid lawnmower beer nonetheless.

bobsy, Aug 04, 2009
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
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 06/21/2009. I had this on draft. This beer pours a light brown with a small head. The aroma is of basic light sweet malt. The flavor is sweet and fruity initially with jam and sweet malt in the finish. Overall, I thought that this was a pretty good bitter.

LilBeerDoctor, Jul 11, 2009
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 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 EarlNobdy
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

So the saga of our lives continues, and this week's soundtrack is provided by the little brewery that could in Sonoma County, Cali, USA. The past month of rain gave way yesterday to one humid honey of an afternoon, a real sticky situation. Marilyn took the kids out to the playground around 4 so they could run through sprinklers and get some relief. They are so much like dogs at this age. Meanwhile, Daddy went in search of his own refreshment. Thankfully, the corner Bierkraft specializes in a wide variety of lagers and ales for what ails you, and in nothing flat I had the hookup.

The girl at the growler station said this was an ESB, but upon closer internet inspection I discovered two things: A.) That Beer Advocate considers this beer a Pale Ale, whilst B.) The fine folks at Bear Republic are calling it a California Bitter to distinguish it from the more traditional English ESB. By the way, have you noticed that a number of brewers are steering away from the Bitter appellation? For instance, Sierra has their Early Summer Beer, Boont brews an Extra Special Beer, and Foster's has taken to calling their ESB "Premium Ale" instead. What is the stigma here? Is the average American beer palate so unsophisticated that the mere suggestion of a certain bitterness turns the consumer cold? I'm sure the sea change is the product of extensive market research, and who am I to question a man's making a buck, but still. Your typical ESB ain't all that much more bitter than the average ale. But then again, I suppose all is perception, and let's leave it at that.

Especially since I like what I like and whether ESB or Cali Bitter or Pale Ale, what I'm digging this week is this beer. A perfect 64oz aperitif accompaniment to the muggiest day of the Summer thus far. Okay, so we've been Clear to Close on our new apartment for a week, and Marilyn is selling off everything we aren't taking with us, and we've given our current landlord a drop-dead move-out date of August 1st, and now the lawyers for the owners of the new apartment are refusing to return our phone calls and set a Closing Date--so what? Who cares if today is the Stoop Sale that seals our fate, and Marilyn and I have done nothing but squabble and bicker over the tiniest detail ever since this moving process began? What does any of the pain and anguish of rearing two mewling bratwursts matter a farthing when I have this bottle in front of me?

Oh, wait I just poured my last glass. Now is when the problems really begin.

EarlNobdy, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of indiapaleale
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Dirty Truth in Northampton, MA...

Pours a light amber color with a nice inch of head. Good looking beer, very nice color.

Smell is faintly sweet with some nice fresh citrusy hops, a little orangey/grapefruity.

Taste is like an IPA light (or I guess you could call it an APA), I believe that Bear Republic is calling this a California Bitter. Whatever you call it, its got a nice fresh citrus taste with not a huge wallop of hop bitterness and a nice amount of malt to back it up. Very easy drinking at <5% and close to a perfect summer session ale.

Great stuff from Bear Republic, keep 'em coming!

indiapaleale, Jun 11, 2009
Photo of Cakanator
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap @ Sierra. Pours a lighter amber hue with minimal head. Lighter citrus aromas makes this one already seem like a great summer brew. Palate is more medium bodied, entry to mid palate has mild hops, then moves to more of a granny apple in the finish. Very enjoyable. I was told it was an IPA when I ordered it, but thought it was not one only because of the hop profile not being as strong. Great summer brew!

Cakanator, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of callmemickey
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber brown body. Off white head with decent retention and above average lacing.

S: Floral/citrus blast. A tad more orange than grapefruit. Some lemon like hints.

T: Nicely balanced up front. Malt and hops play off each other until the citric/floral hops edge out the sweet malts with a nice bitter finish.

M: Light-medium body. A tad thin in the middle, perhaps a tad over carbonated before warming up.

D: A very nice pale that tips toward the IPA side of things. Which ain't a bad thing in my book.

callmemickey, May 31, 2009
Photo of aglose45
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's on Thursday 5/28/09.

A: Great golden brown color, off-white head and decent lacing left on the glass.

S: Citrus smell; sweet grapefruit, orange and peach on the nose.

T: Great grapefruit and peach hints, among other tropical fruitiness. This beer finishes with a nice, slight bitterness. The taste is not over-powering, which leaves it very drinkable. This is one of the better tasting Pale Ales that I have had, falling short to only Alpha King.

M: Light body, good oiliness/ stickiness left on the palate from the hops, and good carbonation for the style.

D: Overall this is a great Pale Ale. However this may be a bit too bitter towards the end to be considered a Pale Ale in my mind. It seems like it would be able to compete with most IPAs! I would love to have this beer again, and will actively seek it out in the future!

aglose45, May 30, 2009
Photo of mhatters
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a tulip glass at TDR - Exton

Pours out a light brownorange color, with a fluffy pure white head.

Definitely English notes here, some light citrus hops, but mostly the light malt I associate with English bitters

Very fruity - surprising, sweet, a feel of hops at the end (citrus and pine?)

Very nice, well carbonated, an interesting take on an English traditional bitter.

mhatters, May 29, 2009
Photo of hopdog
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capones.

Poured a medium amber color with an averaged sized, frothy off white head. Aromas of citrus, fresh floral hops, a little toasty, and a little earthy. Tastes of citrus, some toasted caramel, floral hops, and lighter pine.

Notes from and tasted on: 5/28/09

hopdog, May 28, 2009
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 bwd110
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's in Norristown, PA. Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a medium brown with a nice fluffy white head. Looks a little darker than many APAs, but enticing.

S: A little bit of dark fruit, maybe from the yeast? Some citrus hops and definite pine in the nose. Nothing overpowering, a nice light nose.

T: Nice bittering in this brew... Yeast, English in nature, and, malt dominate, leaving the hops to play nicely in the undercurrent of the flavor. Again some citrus, but a nice grassy pine finish.

M: A little thin for the style, but smooth nonetheless with a solid, crisp and bitter finish.

D: Very tasty, would session this beer without question.

bwd110, May 26, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap

Nor cal held a semi firm off-white cap on top of a copper/amber liquid. Some thin sheets of lace left on the glass. Scents of grapefruit, toasted malts and grain plus hops which is what BR is all about. A bitter taste throughout with a grapefruit burst plus pine on top. The malts don't make a dent at all. Pine in the finish. The feel is on the light side and could be boosted up some, not much depth, rather crisp though. I liked this for what it was but I was left thinking this could use something else.

BARFLYB, May 24, 2009
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 zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a clear, orange/gold color with a thick, foamy, off-white, two-finger head. It left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of citrus and pine.

T - It tasted bubblegum sweet with citrus and a sharp burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was a little thin considering how much flavor it had. A light bodied APA.

D - This is a nice APA. I was pleased to see in on-tap at a local watering hole.

zeff80, May 10, 2009
Nor Cal Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.