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Nor Cal Ale - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nor Cal Ale
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BA SCORE
84
good

78 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 78
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: 78 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mcallister
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

mcallister, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Tyrawlings, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of flexabull
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

flexabull, Jan 29, 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 GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

GRG1313, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of ShemRahBoo
4/5  rDev +7.8%

ShemRahBoo, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev +7.8%

PEIhop, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of litheum94
4/5  rDev +7.8%

litheum94, Nov 16, 2011
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 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 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 thain709
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
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

thain709, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

drabmuh, Jul 04, 2011
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 avalon07
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

avalon07, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of Jayli
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Jayli, May 26, 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 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 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
Nor Cal Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.