Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Very Good
118,637 Ratings
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

1075 E 20th St
Chico, California, 95928
United States

(530) 893-3520 | map

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Ratings: 339 |  Reviews: 73
Photo of BrewerSooner
1.25/5  rDev -72.8%

Photo of Locky
2.04/5  rDev -55.6%

Photo of reedwoytek
2.52/5  rDev -45.1%

Photo of Hollenbeck2
2.95/5  rDev -35.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

cool place, chico isn a drinking town and this place is a little too far outside of town to make it a good place to drive to unless you have someone who can drive and not drink. anyway some of the best micro brew beer around, this place is legendary in california and the beers shows it, the food leaves something to be desired but that is seconary to the great beer.

they have the classic pale ale which all other pales are compared I think to a lot of west coasters. good stop on the trail beer of life.

 508 characters

Photo of deepchi
3.08/5  rDev -32.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

This place gets alot of hype, however I beg to differ. They do indeed make some great beer but their food really is bad. First they try to be a upscale restaurant with an upscale menu, but the quality is inferior. Second, if you want some decent brewery type food they fall way short. The choices are limited and the quality sucks. On one road trip in Ca. and Oregon, we went to 6 different Brew Pubs in 7days including Sierra Nevada. The food at Sierra Nevada was second to worst. If you go there alot, it gets really boring. Also the bartenders also frequently seem disinterested. Bottom line, great beer, lousy food. Another problem is, it is way too crowded with ridiculous wait times for seating.

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Photo of rmargeson
3.25/5  rDev -29.2%

Photo of warmstorage
3.4/5  rDev -25.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Sigh. We centered our brewpub tour of central-north California around Sierra Nevada yesterday, and were ecstatic to finally reach "The Mothership" as we call it. Best thing: $2.75 half pints of the renowned Bigfoot Barleywine. Worst things: a bunch of swill light styles, and loads of loud families drinking pop.

Background: I drink about two six packs a week of Bigfoot Barleywine each year for the ~3-5 months I can get it. I drink an average of two six packs a month of SN Pale Ale. I drink an average of a six pack of either SN Porter or Stout a month. This is total, and doesn't include all the other beer I drink.

I LOVE Sierra Nevada. I believe in it, and will always have a soft spot in my heart for it. Now... that said, the brewery visit itself turned up a lot of crappy beer, and a super crowded family-style dining experience that was highly inconducive to realbeer drinking.

I've visited three times in the last year, and each time, been mildly disappointed in the quality of the beer. As I noted elsewhere in a review of the Best Bitter, I agree with another reviewer that many of SN's brews, available only on tap at the brewery (and maybe kegs?), basically taste identical to one another, and suck. That is, the Best Bitter varied MINIMALLY from the Blonde, the Pilsner, the Wheat, the Crystal Wheat, and the Extra Special Pale Ale.

We waited a little under an hour for a table, which was fine, as it was passed at the bar, with the mediocre bartender rushing by every once in a while. Apparently, a fencing convention was in town, and packing the place in a partial buy-out.

ATMOSPHERE: I used to like the atmosphere; as other reviewers have noted, it's beautiful, but only when empty, and not when packed to the gills with people. Even more unfortunate, a definite majority, and perhaps a supermajority, weren't drinking good beer. Sitting at the bar for almost an hour, we saw MUCH more white wine, Pilsner, and Blonde being poured than anything else. Entire tables, with half kids and half yuppie adults, drank only soft drinks and iced tea and water. WHAT? You come to The Mothership and drink POP? What the HELL is wrong with you? Clearly, many of these tables were full of people who might have been just as happy at TGI Friday's, Chili's, Olive Garden, etc. (we personally witnessed at least eight tables that fit this profile.) It was loud, crowded, bright, and heavy on young children. I (sort of) hate to be ageist and snobby, but this was *NOT* conducive to enjoying and drinking good beer.

The SERVICE was fine, and pleasant, if harried, and busy. No knowledge of the beer was noted, except when the bartender remarked on my drinking pints of the Best Bitter and Extra Special Pale Ale, then tasting Wheat and Crystal Wheat, and finally ordering a Stout. (Explanation: I like to taste lots of stuff, but since almost all the light beers taste thin, boring, and similar, I wanted a pint of something that actually would taste good.)

The FOOD was quite tasty, but let's be serious: I don't come to The Mothership to eat. We had a tasty pizza, and in the past two visits, I"ve enjoyed the organic greens salads, and sandwiches.

The SELECTION is amazing: approximately 17 beers currently on tap, but with limited information provided regarding distinctions between styles: for example, at least three were variants of "pale ale", and they basically all taste the same. I've had the great deal taster ($8 for 2-3 ounces of everything on tap) twice in the last year, and probably fiev times total, and each time, been struck by how little difference exists between the various lighter beers.

The beer QUALITY... well, as I said above, many of the light beers taste very, very, very similar to one another, and basically suck. We drank and tasted the Best Bitter, Blonde, Pilsner, Wheat, Crystal Wheat, and Extra Special Pale Ale, noting only minor distinctions between them. The Pale Bock was also very similar with only a cloying sweetness and hint of higher alcohol to distinguish it, and the Stout and Barleywine were obviously very different.

Of these, the Bigfoot Barleywine was fantastic, the Stout predictably great, and everything else went downhill, fast, from there. My "Quality" score of 2.5 reflects the reality that about five of the 17 beers are outstanding, and about eight are pretty poor for such a competent brewery, with five hovering in the middle, but barely average.

I have taken the self tour in the past, which is indeed entertaining. And yes, the place is pretty. But really: I'm going to a brewpub to drink great beer, and when I can get all the the great styles in bottles, and otherwise only taste boring, bland, thin styles, I'll skip it. While I'll continue to buy loads of SN six packs, I won't bother to drive all the way to Chico again.

 4,836 characters

Photo of CraftoMatic
3.4/5  rDev -25.9%

Photo of jonatanlauritzen
3.41/5  rDev -25.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

They dont do food, its a brewery

32 characters

Photo of WuBByG999
3.48/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of rderedin
3.5/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of sonic4482
3.75/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of brungl
3.75/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of Rubalaca
3.75/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of sparx1100
3.75/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of Adeezy4495
3.75/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of david18
3.75/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of tdmccarthy
3.78/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of Jew4brains
3.83/5  rDev -16.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Photo of Drift
3.88/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of Malted
3.88/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Sierra Nevada Brewery is a gym in the Chico area. The food and service has gotten better every time I have gone there. The first time I went, probably around 1998 or 1999, the restaurant was much smaller and the service left much to be desired. My date sat on some gum on the bench and the staff responded with "oh" when I told them about it. Since that less than stellar occasion, things have gotten better and better. The last time I went I ordered a tasting sampler of their beer and had a wonderful steak. I have yet to go on a tour of the facilities, but they display copper kettles through a window to the restaurant. The one drawback latley has been that the place has always been very crowded when I have gone. Over all though, Sierra Nevada Brewery is very worth checking out and stopping for dinner. I would also highly recommend the tasting sampler as they have a great selection of beers in the sampler, many of which are difficult to get elsewhere.

 961 characters

Photo of chicagoish
3.9/5  rDev -15%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of VegasBill
3.93/5  rDev -14.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

So I finally made it to Chico and SN Brewing. I love the atmosphere in the Taproom, dark wood everywhere and this place is so so clean. I was let down with the tap selection, I thought there would be a lot that I had never seen actually there were only two. I tried the Torpedo to see how much different it tasted on tap and there was a big difference, much better. The menu looked boring to me so no food. This was a Monday and they were quite busy, I was sitting next to a local and we started chatting and he said they are busy all the time. I should back up, this is a really first class operation, covered parking with like a mesh cover and security in the lot, everywhere very clean and kept up, first class.
I did go to the gift shop and bought two bottles of the Brux, a collaboration of SN Brewing and Vinnie at Russian River. When I got home I read the reviews here on BA and they are not good. Maybe I will give one bottle as a gift to my worst friend.

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Photo of chossboss
3.95/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Photo of gefinley
3.95/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA
Brewery rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 118,637 ratings