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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 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 avaldivia
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

avaldivia, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of litheum94
4/5  rDev +7.8%

litheum94, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of DrFunkenstein
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

DrFunkenstein, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of sleazo
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

sleazo, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of afksports
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
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!

afksports, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of sixerofelixir
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

sixerofelixir, Feb 27, 2013
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 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 Natural510
4/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Natural510, Dec 06, 2010
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 jstewart1130
4/5  rDev +7.8%

jstewart1130, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of DrunkenMonk
3/5  rDev -19.1%

DrunkenMonk, Jun 18, 2012
Photo of fluidmotion
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

fluidmotion, Apr 19, 2012
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 Greenster
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Greenster, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of drjman
4/5  rDev +7.8%

drjman, Sep 03, 2012
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 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 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 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 RyanCMcGovern
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

RyanCMcGovern, Dec 28, 2012
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 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 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
Nor Cal Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.