Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.


Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

1075 E. 20th Street
Chico, California, 95928
United States

(530) 893-3520 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

Grab a complimentary copy of BeerAdvocate magazine here while supplies last.
Master Beer Listing
Place Score:
View: Beers | Place Ratings | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 326
Photo of 111213forlife
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I LOVE THIS! i want every birthday and special occasion to happen here. funeral too. i absolutely hate disneyland, but i called this place disneyland for beer loving adults. i went on the tour. it blew my mind. so much detail and so much information. i got to play in the hop bins! the story, the people, the beer, everything about this place just makes me happy and proud. i want to support this company, these people, this beer, and this place so that it can keep getting better and better. the things you will find on tap here can NOT be found anywhere else. the food is nicely paired, and the restaurant and patio are a great place to spend an afternoon. the gift shop will break your wallet. i try to come here at least every two months, but i am looking for ANY reason to go more often than that. i do appreciate their sustainable approach, and have said to myself, "well if sierra nevada can do it, i'm sure i can be more sustainable too." i am really looking forward to the east coast expansion, what sort of excitement do you think they'll come up with? i would encourage everybody to come here and see for themselves, but seriously, i like that it's not that crowded in chico... if you go at the right time.

 1,217 characters

Photo of Morgoth
4.86/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I spent 15 years growing up in the Chico area.
Before turning 21 I heard legends of the awesomeness of Sierra Nevada, as a brewery and as a restaurant. My first beer (and yes, I actually waited until I was 21 to try) was a Pale Ale!
As a advocate and entrepreneur in the Sustainability industry I have been constantly been inspired and impressed with SN's M.O.
I can not speak highly enough of this company, or what they have done for my community. I promote SN wherever I go, and have increased sales in multiple states ;).
The way the treat their employees has been a model for my own management for years.
I admire this company greatly and cannot speak highly enough of them.

 687 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

For some reason I am shocked as I write this to see that there have only been two BeerFly reviews of the classic Sierra Nevada brewing Company. I am having to restrain myself from going hog-wild with praise for the place.

The brewery sneaks up on you with the strange wort smell you catch a half a mile down the road. All of the sudden you are forced to deal with SNBC in its mighty stature: mammoth, impressive, even imposing. Even being as large as it is, it is still rather hard to believe that a single place like this could produce such a wide slosh of brew throughout the country and abroad.

The "experimental" hop garden near the parking lot is interesting but was in unhealthy shape when I visited. A sign informed visitors that the area used to be large hop producer, and these hops will one day be used in a small experimental batch at the brewery.

We took the self-guided tour, visiting the awe-inspiringly beautiful process unfold even into the more mechanized distribution area. I'm in beer utopia. You walk through a huge, 4-star looking reception area on the tour, and down the beautiful marble SNBC engraved stairs lie another beer guy's dream. Gift shop. Lots of SN swag, which is mostly all available on the website. I only took part in the free SNPA, Celebration, and Bigfoot posters littered around in the lobby area. Cheap SN is available for carry-out, and boy did we, eventually both putting down our respective six-packs with no effort later that night.

The actual dining area has the feeling of a nice hotel banquet area with a long curving gold bar, but we decided to sit outside in the secluded and beautiful beergarten area. The waiters are all super-professional and are treating everything in a very high-class way. I felt their beer knowledge might be a little lacking, but no way i'm testing that. This is the closest to 5-star food i'm getting on this (driving and camping) vacation.

I had a free-range, SN grain-fed hamburger, and the wifey had a huge spinach salad with all-organic veggies. The fries were even wicked good.

But the beers, of course, the beers. Fresh, slobberingly hoppy Bigfoot available in half-pints for a little more than $2. Nothing was more than $3/pint. Breaks for pitchers. I don't know about growler fills - most probably not as this is shooting to be a 'nice' restaurant. Extra Pale, Best Bitter, IPA, Rauchbier, and Pale Bock were the "different" selections I tried, though the Dopplebock I felt ruled the SN world that night.

A journey that I kept questioning myself about on the way (Chico was way out of the way, and way, well, not that great) but once I was here I found it to be the best beer nirvana i've had, and will probably have, in quite some time.

 2,744 characters

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.8/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I think not much more can be said about this place and the contributions they've made to the craft beer movement. A very nice facility that was packed at the time I visited, an August day after some long hiking through Lassen Volcanic Park miles to the north. While the service and atmosphere were hurt a little by this, the beer was still great in quality and selection. A must stop for any craft beer lover and I wish I could go back again... if it weren't so far from everything else I wanted to see...

 505 characters

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I lived in Chico this past summer and stopped into the Sierra Nevada Brewery at least a dozen times. I feel like I can write a pretty thorough review at this point, but I'll try to keep things concise. Here goes:

This is the best brewery I've ever been to. Definitely. Everything about the Sierra Nevada Brewery is high quality. The tap beers are always fresh, tasty and beautiful (the bartenders are masters of the pour). The beer selection is solid, boasting sixteen taps plus the occasional cask line. Polished brass and wood cover most of the interior, giving it a rustic yet classy feel. The bartenders, waiters, waitresses, and gift shop attendants are all kind, quick, and informative. Everything is reasonably priced, and the beer is downright cheap! All of the fellow customers I talked to were friendly and interesting. It's really hard to think of anything negative to say about this place.

Every experience I had at Sierra Nevada was a positive one. I highly recommend it to everyone. For those that haven't been before, here are a couple of tips to make your upcoming experience even more enjoyable:
- Every Thursday Sierra Nevada puts a different (and often brand new) beer on-cask. It's the only night of the week when cask beer is available at the brewery.
- All of the long-time patrons, home-brewers, and beer savants sit at the bar. If you're looking to strike up good beer conversation, you should sit here too.
- The patio is a great place to sit if you're looking for something a little quieter/mellower. It can get pretty hot up in Chico, which is why the patio is equipped with abundant shade and misters.
- The food at Sierra Nevada is hit and miss. Your safest bet is probably a burger, sandwich, or salad. The pizzas are okay, but I've heard that the fish & chips and Mexican food are downright bad. Everything is very fresh and grown/raised by Sierra Nevada.
- Self-guided tours are available daily from 10:00am-6:00pm. Guided tours are also available upon request.
- Check out "The Big Room" if you get a chance. I never got to see it, but I hear that the concerts in there are awesome!

This is a must stop! If you're anywhere near Chico, make the trip to the Sierra Nevada Brewery. You will not regret it.

 2,238 characters

Photo of 1759Girl
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

There are many things to love about Sierra Nevada, starting with the company's part in the resurgence of microbrewing in CA,not to mention nationwide.
It's pretty awesome to drive in and park in the shade of the solar panel-covered parking lot, beside the beautiful hop farm!
The tap room is always busting at the seams with convivial locals who are proud to tell you all the fabulous things that SN does for the community, and to promote green policy.
Oh, I should probably get to the beer. ...
You'll need to walk down the whole bar before choosing, because there are so many styles on tap, that you can't see all the handles in one place. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgable. You get a good pour in a proper glass everytime.
Okay on to the food. Don't think that Sierra Nevada has just kept strict quality control on their beer... Even the meat is local and organic. And, from what I hear it's awesome. The pizza is excellent. I'd rather that the caesar salad had more anchovy, garlic and lemon... and that they would make a tasty stout ranch for their fries.. but these are just suggestions from a connessieur.
Did I mention the beer garden? If it's not a million-degree Chico day, then be sure to hit it up.

 1,230 characters

Photo of GeorgeH
4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Awesome place to visit. I took the tour and it was outstanding. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and personable. Tour was just the right amount of time. Seeing their facility is extremely impressive, and recently, has become very energy efficient. Tour ends with a large sampling of everything they are currently serving in the area, which is a much larger selection than you can get anywhere outside of Chico. I can't recommend this place enough. Sierra Nevada has been my go to beer when I'm unsure of what I want to drink. I know it will be outstanding every time. Go enjoy this place!

 593 characters

Photo of KTCamm
4.75/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

A destination unto itself.

They built it, and they built it big. Like visiting a theme park for beer. Where to begin? The taproom is huge, roughly 15 beers on tap, with a well organized method for sampling 4 at a time. The pours a relatively small for samples sake, but quality over quantity. Tapas style bar menu with lots of interesting options. The hot pretzels are an obvious order. The pub chips looked great - but my server said due to the demand, they don't sell them as stand alone. Something I'd recommend they change.

The gift shop area is spacious to pick up any wearables, brews to go, or other merch. Try the mustards.

You can then take an elaborate self guided tour to see the production brewery. Very visitor friendly, open, and clean. Quite an experience.

Never been to the location in Chico, but for East coasters, this is a must-do pilgrimage.

 866 characters

Photo of Rand_ale_Thor
4.75/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

One of the best in the country. After seeing a few more breweries, it is amazing to me the size of this place. I love that they have top-notch food, and they always have a good selection. I will have to go back now that my palate has changed. Worth the visit.

 259 characters

Photo of indysamra
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

A great place to take a date. It looks great when you drive up, and they have a great selection of there brews.

Definetly suggest this for a good night out, however, the food does get a little pricey, but the beer is definetly worth it.

If your looking for a place to get drunk, this is not it. If this is the case, check out Madison Bear Garden, downtown Chico.

This is however, a great place to entertain business guests, or to take someone on a first date. Good food, and great beer. Overall a good selection.

Cheers, and bottoms up
Indy :o)

 568 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

What a beautiful restaurant and brewery.
Stopped at the restaurant and had their beer sampler....16 current on tap beers in 4 oz glasses...that's a half gallon of beer. ($8.00) Service and knowledge of the staff was great.Menu was extensive and reasonable. Food was excellent.
Did a self tour of the brewery which again was beautiful as well as the gift shop.
My only complaint was that they don't have growlers, however I am told they should be selling growlers of beer in about a month. (that would be around July, 2006).
If I lived in Chico, this would DEFINATELY be a regular stop for me.

 596 characters

Photo of BarrelAgedForrest
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Great food, great beer, not really a ton more to say there. The brewery is great and offers awesome tours with drinks. They have a great tap room and gift shop as well. Dinner is more upscale restaurant style, good prices and good service.

 245 characters

Photo of Ljoreilly
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The Asheville brewery is a sight to behold. The taproom is beautiful, the beers are really good with several you can't get anywhere else, and the food far exceeded expectations. It's a cathedral of beer, the best I've ever visited.

 231 characters

Photo of raiderandbeerfan
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

An amazing place. From the hop yards, to the patio, to the brewery, to the brewpub, to the gift shop, this is a must visit for anyone considering themselves a beer aficionado.

The quality is top notch, they make so many classic recipes across so many different styles. The service is always stellar, they always look and act professional.

The selection is devoid of anything wild, but as far as the quintessential American styles, they deliver hard in the paint. Their merchandise is priced nicely. They get it. Don't make people pay an arm and a leg to advertise your product! Some local bottleshop only releases in there are nice too.

Like I said, MUST VISIT!!!

 676 characters

Photo of Bouder32
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Really enjoyed the brewery tour and ate lunch in the Brew Pub afterward. Was a bit disappointed that they changed out the Hoptimum to Oktoberfest from when I started the tour to when it came to the end and the sampling. I was really looking forward to Hoptimum as I have not tried it as yet, but the sampling was great at the end of the tour. Enjoyed the food at the Pub and sampled quite a few other beers during lunch. Was very impressed with the presentation and food quality. Can not wait to come back again next year!

 522 characters

Photo of SanFranJake
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I love this place more and more every time we go to Chico.
Always been a SNBC fan and was lucky enough to marry a woman who was raised in Chico, so "going home for a few days" is NEVER a bad thing.
Great beer served in the proper glass, great prices, even for growlers and just as many distributed beers available on tap as there are brewery exclusives, so a win-win! Bigfoot is on-tap always too.
So while you can get the Pale, Celebration Ale and Torpedo on-tap, they also have a bunch of not released beers like Barrel Aged Ovila Dubbel (Quad also available but in bottle only), Bigfoot and other specials.
Good gift shop as well.

 633 characters

Photo of beerceller99
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I've visited this brewery several times in my travels up and down Interstate - 5 between the Puget Sound and Bay areas . It's located in the small valley town ( small for California , anyway ) of Chico , about an hour plus drive north of Sacramento on rural highway 99, and maybe 2.5 hours from Frisco, basically it's in the sticks. Being that it's only a half mile off of Hwy 99 and huge makes it easy to find.

The brewery lobby is a large two story area with super fine brass and wood trim. The gift shop is neat , clean , and well stocked with Beeraphernalia , including genuine SN tap handles. Cold bottled SN beer to go is also available at discount prices. The brewery is also one of the few places you can get bottles of their Pale Bock every spring ; one of my favorites.

Brewery tours are available. Walking the tour reminded me of a baby Miller plant only much cleaner and with much better products of course.

The Bar - Restaurant is the largest I've seen that's attached to a brewery. The Bar is " L " shaped and has about 25-30 stools to slide on to. The Bar is open to the large all ages dining area which seats 90-100 folks. The furnishings and atmosphere here is top notch and is very popular with the locals. Get here much after 5 and you'll be on a waiting list for a table. The food menu is much more than the standard pub grub and is very good at that. The 3 sausage platter is a standout item on the menu.

On tap are 10-12 SN brews most of which are not bottled. A draught style Pale Ale , Harvest Ale, and Rauchbier are among my favorite tap only brews. Seasonally they'll have Celebration and Bigfoot on tap. My favorite on tap brew is the stout which goes well with the menu items.

Over all this is an excellent establishment and I' d highly recommend it to all BA's passing through the Northern California area.

 1,853 characters

Photo of kpattonunc
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Overall, an exceptional destination. A place I often bring visitors; everyone knows the beers. To take them to the brewery is always a plus. I also frequently take them to the gift shop to buy swag. The regularly have an interesting selection of various beers not distributed. Recently, the added the growler option which lets you take home a selection that you try in the pub. The food is excellent! Well worth the visit. Even though I live in town and frequently visit, I am always interesting in checking out the new draft selections as well as the new menu items.

 567 characters

Photo of SpecsBEERMAN
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

A must see. The best brewery I have ever seen. Most smaller breweries would die just to have access to Sierra Nevada's pilot brewery. An amazing operation. You would never believe this place is so big until you have seen it first hand. The entire brewery is cleaner than my kitchen. The pub attached to the brewery is amazing. Great, laid back atmosphere where after work hours you will find the brewers and Ken Grossman enjoying a pint and conversing. The food is even better. The cows where the beef comes from are feed all of Sierra's spent grain, the result is something everyone needs to experience.

 604 characters

Photo of drewone
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Chico is not convenient to anywhere - but I had wanted to visit for a long time and am glad I finally did as it did not disappoint. As you turn off freeway and drive down 20th you can not miss it.

Arrived on wed before thanksgiving around 11:45 - was able to snag the last spots on the 1pm tour (you can sign up ahead of time - but they always reserve half the spots for walk - in. Around holidays tours seemed to fill up fast.

Went and ate in the restaurant while waiting - super attentive staff, friendly to kids, quick service. Ordered pretzels, ham and bean soup, goat cheese salad, fish and chips, chicken curry (a special). All were very good, medium price. Also did 2 tater flights - $3 for 4 2oz tasters. As me and my wife were splitting 2 of them wish the size was a little bigger. Ideally in retrospect would have done tour than ate, but ended up not doubling up on many of the beers. Most all beers are all available as taster, half pints, pints or growler fills.

If you've trekked up here you better do the tour - and as it's free and they start you off first thing with a glass of SNPA you can't go wrong. Last about 1.5 hrs - highlights for me were the hop room and the packaging line. Ends in a tasting room where you get to try another 8 or so beers. Very awesome - guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

No k ids under 12 allowed on tour - although there is a short self guided tour open to any one.

 1,425 characters

Photo of marshrat63
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I don't know why it took me so many years to get here but I can safely say it won't be long before I return. Didn't get a chance to do the tour but will be back for it next time. Food was very good although we were there during the late afternoon when they have a shortened menu during the 3-5 pm period. The beer quality was excellent as expected.

The atmosphere is very warm with lots of wood. Though it was crowded the noise level was acceptable for conversation.

This is a first class operation.

 502 characters

Photo of Overlap
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Friendly staff. Wife and I take the tour every New Year's Eve afternoon then enjoy an early dinner. Facility is always clean, tour guides are knowledgeable and enjoy working there. Food is almost as good as the beer. The soft pretzels with mustard are always a favorite. And then there is the beer... Always a great selection of unique brews on tap. Every fan of quality beer should visit Sierra Nevada.

 403 characters

Photo of brewmaster411
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

While traveling for my company, I made a point of stopping here for lunch. Upon entering, I was greeted by several friendly hostesses. While I got there at the beginning of the lunch rush, I did have a nice table.

Decisions, decisions, decisions... My first problem was to decide which beer to try. I decided on the Summerfest. My next problem was for the food. With help from my server, I was informed the Shrimp Coconut-Curry Noodle was excellent, and the chef on duty made this his speciality. I started with the Pale Ale steamed clams, and continued to the noodles. The bread came with a plate of balsamic/olive oil to dip.

The clams were steamed in the signature beer with garlic and scallions. Very nice. The noodles were very flavorful, comparable to some of the best Thai restaurants I have been to.

My server was very friendly and helpful. The service was fast and efficient. My food came with minimal delay, very hot and fresh.

The restaurant is decorated in dark wood, and copper with an open kitchen. The air duct was clad in polished copper. The rest rooms were very clean, green marble counters and copper sinks. Each rest room had hand lotion dispensers.

Don't forget to visit the gift shop.

 1,224 characters

Photo of colonelforbin
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Top notch company, facility, etc., all the way around. It doesn't get much better than Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. They do what they've done for years and they do it exceptionally well.

The bar/restaurant is very well laid out, a lot of thought was put into the design and it shows. The same can be said for almost all the facilities at Sierra Nevada. Lots of wood and a cozy bar area with room for people to stand behind the folks at the bar if it's crowded.

Selection is always excellent. I was just there again on Friday and there were at least 15 beers on tap, including 3 wet hop, single hop, estate grown hop beers (20th St. Pale Ale, Cascade, Citra and Chinook varietals). I had these three side by side by side and they were excellent. Also had a Cele-Foot (Celebration-Bigfoot blend) that was phenomenal. Just great beers all around, what can I say?

The steps this company goes through to lessen its impact on the environment is also most impressive. I won't go into the details, but suffice to say that they are head and shoulders above most businesses of their size in taking the steps they take. Great to see and they also set an example for other companies, and breweries in particular, to strive toward.

Other amenities include their own hop and barley fields, a nice company store, and brewery tours every day of the week. Really a world class facility, and a place worth visiting, if you are anywhere in northern CA (or Oregon or Nevada, I suppose as well).

 1,484 characters

Photo of SteveO1231
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Huge place, really nice, took a little tour of the brewery pretty fun, but I wanted to drink.
Headed down to the resteraunt, nice place, big bar, full menu, pretty busy.
I sat at the bar and ordered up the sampler platter that featured like 15-20 beers, some only released in the Chico area. it was pretty cool at first but after the first 12 they all start to taste the same. Not to mention I warmed up with a 9 oz. Bigfoot. I think I ordered some food but to be honest with you I was rather schnokerd. Oh well good times. I would love to go back up but that drive from San D is a killer!

 592 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA
98 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.