Nor Cal Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
84
good
56 Reviews
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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
Reviews:
56
Ratings:
80
Avg:
3.71
pDev:
14.29%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
0
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 80
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.

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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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly-hazed orange with a nice white head and pretty good lacing as it went down. Smell was very nice with a lot of sweet malt alongside some citrus hops. Taste was a little more subdued than the aroma, with the malt coming through more than the hops, which was somewhat of a disappointment knowing BR's penchant for lovely hoppy beers. Medium bodied with good carbonation, and pretty nice drinkability.

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Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a clear, orange/gold color with a thick, foamy, off-white, two-finger head. It left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of citrus and pine.

T - It tasted bubblegum sweet with citrus and a sharp burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was a little thin considering how much flavor it had. A light bodied APA.

D - This is a nice APA. I was pleased to see in on-tap at a local watering hole.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Delivered to the bar with a short head of creamy off-white foam that slowly settled to an average collar and whispy surface covering. Some decent lacing was left behind, and continued to be left behind throughout the glass. The body was a crimson-accented amber with a slight haze.

The nose was fruity/citrusy over a basic maltiness.

Citrusy hops (grapefruit, a spritz of pineapple, perhaps some lemon) dominate over a basic golden maltiness in the flavor. It reminded me of Lagunitas' Hop Stoopid, but not as full. It's kind of like hop juice. As such, it's got hop flavor and a raspy bitterness that pretty much carries from start to finish.

Overall, it's a little one-sided, and a little bit light bodied. For a hop-head it's easily approachable, but kind of lacking (we can all handle BIGGER HOPPY BEERS). For someone who's just getting into hoppy beers it might work, but then again, it might be a little to raspy and bitter.

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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.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Lost Dog Cafe.

The beer is golden hued with a small white head. The aroma offers some hops and citrus. Tangy flavor with citrus and a bit of an earthy tone. Grapefruit, biscuits, crackers, grain. Light bodied and thin with moderate carbonation. Overall this was ok.

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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.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap/growler @ DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY. Pours cloudy dark almond amber, lazy, tiny bubble head/film and leaving fine sheets of lace and also tiny spots. Nose of orange peel and pine hops.Tasty and easy drinking moderatly hoppy ale. Nice soft and smooth mouthfeel adds to the easy drinkability of this one. Notes of citrus and pine, smooth malt under pinings. An understated and sublimely sessionable brew. More high quality product from BR

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap

Nor cal held a semi firm off-white cap on top of a copper/amber liquid. Some thin sheets of lace left on the glass. Scents of grapefruit, toasted malts and grain plus hops which is what BR is all about. A bitter taste throughout with a grapefruit burst plus pine on top. The malts don't make a dent at all. Pine in the finish. The feel is on the light side and could be boosted up some, not much depth, rather crisp though. I liked this for what it was but I was left thinking this could use something else.

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Photo of plaid75
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at The Blind Tiger, NYC.

Poured a medium to dark copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light grainy malt and a grassy hop.

The taste was well balanced and mild with soft malts and vibrant grassy English hops.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style with a good residual hop spice and dry finish.

Overall a tasty and very quaffable APA.

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Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Meridian Pint the other night.

The beer pours a golden amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is likewise attractive, as I pick up some cereal grains and light dry citrus. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but the beer actually had a bit more hoppy bitterness on the finish than I was expecting. This beer is very well balanced, in a dry, west coast style manner, and the finish was clean and refreshingly bitter. Mouthfeel was otherwise medium bodied, and I appreciated the relatively low alcohol in this beer.

Very nice beer, and given the abv., quite sessionable as well. Impressive.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kite and Key...

A: Light to medium brown with nice, whispy white head.

S: Citrus and piney hops. A scent of dark fruit in the background.

T: Piney, west coast hops. Lighter citrus notes from the hops balance with a nice roasted malt charachter. Bitter bite to finish.

M: Light bodied, ample carbonation and crisp.

D: Very tasty, low in ABVs but maybe a touch bitter and hoppy.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Never heard of this beer, and was thrilled to see it on tap at the Blind Tiger. Awesome!

This beer pours a burnished copper with a white head with good retention and good lacing. On the nose, this beer really is a hop lovers wet dream. Pine bitterness clears out your nasal passages quite gorgeously, with an incredible depth and flavor. Unfortunately, this is not replicated in the palate, with the flavor profile being almost one-dimensionally hoppy with massive waves of pine bitterness. There really isn't much hop flavor, so to speak, and there isn't any sweetness to counter the hop character. While the beer has great carbonation and body (crisp and light), the massive bitterness is a bit of a chore and reduces the drinkability.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 06/21/2009. I had this on draft. This beer pours a light brown with a small head. The aroma is of basic light sweet malt. The flavor is sweet and fruity initially with jam and sweet malt in the finish. Overall, I thought that this was a pretty good bitter.

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Photo of hopdog
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capones.

Poured a medium amber color with an averaged sized, frothy off white head. Aromas of citrus, fresh floral hops, a little toasty, and a little earthy. Tastes of citrus, some toasted caramel, floral hops, and lighter pine.

Notes from and tasted on: 5/28/09

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Photo of ffejherb
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Bear Republic on 7/17/09.

A - Hazy amber/orange body with one finger of dense, creamy white head that just streaked the glass with thick, intricate lacing, finally settling to a quarter inch of creamy retention.

S - Malt-forward aroma with toasted grains and some sweet caramel. Hop character is light and citrusy... simple but not overstated. Classic pale ale nose that is on-par for the style.

T - Malty flavor overall with bready and sweet caramel notes as well as hints of toffee. Hop character is subtle with citrus taking center stage, but also some mild perfumy notes in a secondary role. Finishes with a distinct toasted grainy malt character.

M - Medium body with a light syrupy texture and a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel overall. Not too thin at all. Mouthfeel is pretty spot-on for a cask ale. Moderate hop bite on the palate with a slightly dry, bitter finish.

D - Really tasty pale ale with a distinct malt character. Nor'Cal is light and flavorful, and certainly very good on cask.

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Nor Cal Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.
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