Nor Cal Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
84
good
80 Ratings
THE BROS
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States
bearrepublic.com

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

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.

Added by DefenCorps on 04-28-2009

BEER STATS
Ratings:
80
Reviews:
56
Avg:
3.71
pDev:
11.86%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
0
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 80 |  Reviews: 56
Photo of Offa
2.34/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer, called a "bitter" on the menu and 4.8% ABV, really seems to be an American Pale Ale. Regardless, it is rather thin, one-dimensional, and out of balance. I had it at Bear Republic on 3 May 09.

Amber, it has a medium off-white head, crweamy and slowly shrinking to a ring and wisps, leaving some nice lace.

The aroma is toasted grain, grapefruit, and a little lemon.

The taste is bitter grapefruit up front and all the way through the finish and lingering bitter aftertaste. It has a little toasted grain and hint of raisin, with the faintest hint of pine needle in the finish, but otherwise is just grapefruit. It is far too bitter for the thin, characterless, watery malt, with almost no sweetness or flavour to balance the bitterness, which lingers. Although not bitter in an absolute sense, this is one beer that is far too bitter relative to the rest of its elements and is totally unbalanced. It is a bit reminiscent of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but the latter is a little better when on tap, fuller in feel and flavour.

 1,036 characters

Photo of MikeRa
2.51/5  rDev -32.3%
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.

 312 characters

Photo of seedyone
2.75/5  rDev -25.9%

03/29/13 At Rattle N Hum over 1 year ago. On tap. Just OK. Hoppier than I like & not quite the right shade of bitter. I prefer my ESB's to more in the English ale style.

 170 characters

Photo of hplevy
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of DrunkenMonk
3/5  rDev -19.1%

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.

 486 characters

Photo of markgugs
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of DIPAFAN
3/5  rDev -19.1%

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.

 661 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.14/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Called a bitter. Dark yellow, thin white head, above average lacing. Aroma was soggy biscuits left near the heater coil.

Taste kept up the breadiness, the bitterness was off though, wasn't really a hoppy derived thing. Something else. Had that old world vibe to a blended infected old beer with a uninfected fresh one.

 323 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

 701 characters

Photo of argock
3.21/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap in a Shaker pint at Mellow Mushroom (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Very dusky amber with short cap of off-white head that left some lace.

S: Very bland average-homebrewish herbal and pine hoppiness with some citrus character. The malt backing is not too prominent in the aroma.

T: The flavor is also very bland with a steely, almost metallic pine and tannic hops flavor followed by a crackery but otherwise washed out crystal malt backbone. It has a very homebrew character, with too much astringency for the maltiness. If I had to guess this has a big wallop of Northern Brewer hops.

M: Decent slick smooth mouthfeel but the carbonation is too low.

O: I am surprised Bear Republic let this out of their brewery. This is easily the worst beer I have had from them - flabby with too much crystal malt and a semi-astringent hops tannin feel and flavor. Skip it.

 874 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.24/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On the board at the brewery they refer to this as Nor Cal Bitter. Tastes more similar to a classic bitter moreso than an american pale ale. Looks nice, dark gold, thin white head that had decent lacing. Aroma was off, I don't think they went for the aroma to be so traditional that it had a mild infection to it, but it gave off that kind of soggy mildly soured unintentionally vibe.

Biscuity and bready, the beer has probably noble hops, a little sticky viscosity for a beer this light in terms of alcohol, kind of filling. Far maltier than you would think looking at the color and abv. Wish it had more hoppiness going for it. There's a few examples of hoppy sessions coming out more and more, it would seem to be right up BR's alley, but oh well, this is more likely to impress your 75 year old grandfather from England moreso than anyone else.

 849 characters

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of sixerofelixir
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Greenster
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of atrocity
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of corby112
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

 716 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap their Tap Room. Not really an ESB as Cascade and Centennial. Served too cold and overcarbonated. BitterTaste did not come through, it was malt forward, bready, the kind of things altogether that do not make for the style. It was lacey with an off-white head.

 265 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of flexabull
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of fluidmotion
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

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Nor Cal Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
3.71 out of 5 based on 80 ratings.
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