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 Pecorasc
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at South Park Tavern in Dayton, Ohio on 2/25/10. One of five Bear Republic beers on tap at the moment. Served quite cold in a Shaker Pint.

A- Light copper in color and clear, but not polished. Presented with a 1/2 inch of creamy, white head that fell quickly down to a thin film, leaving sticky, white lacing on its way. A normal amount of carbonation and beading. Above average considering the conditions (extra cold in a shaker).

S- Dominated by earthy hop aroma with minimal malt background and a small amount of diacetyl. Malt is mostly bread with very little carmel. Pleasant, but not very inviting.

T- Starts out with a sweet carmel malt and an enjoyable slightly metallic taste. Quickly overtaken by an earthy and piney hop flavor. Good amount of bitterness in the finish that sticks around for the aftertaste. Very little alcohol, as expected. Much improved at room temperature. Nice spin on the style.

M- More carbonation than desired. Medium bodied with a finish on the dry side. Took the last 1/3 of the beer and swirled vigorously for 10 seconds. The result was a much less carbonated beer and a much improved mouthfeel.

D- High drinkability: low enough in alcohol to have several in a sitting and tasty enough to not complain. If this were ever offered on cask, I would really try to get at a few pints. Offered as real ale, this would improve in all the right areas. An enjoyable beer that should be enjoyed in the right atmosphere or under the right circumstances.

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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 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 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 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.

 575 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of litheum94
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of drjman
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev +7.8%

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.

 441 characters

Photo of ShemRahBoo
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of jstewart1130
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of socon67
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Copper pour with great foam retention. Decent lacing of the glass. Clarity is excellent.

S - Floral scent jumped out originally. Smell of orange & tangerine, and fresh dinner rolls.

T - Slight malty flavor with a mild acidic bite of citrus. Easy drinking APA.

M - Smooth, enjoyable, and went great with my food. Light feel but still plenty of flavor.

O - Good beer that has subdued flavor, but is far from bland.

 420 characters

Photo of afksports
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
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!

 849 characters

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

 443 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at South Park Tavern. Pours a nice clear copper color. Thin off-white head stays at a thin layer for quite some time. Great patches of lace left clinging.

Soft aroma of citrusy, slightly floral hops. Soft fruity aroma as well. Just a whiff of lighter caramel.

Talk about balance here. A lighter caramel, toasty base. Soft citrus notes. A light bitterness.

Medium body, lighter carbonation. Alcohol is not noticeable at all. Great session beer.

 456 characters

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.

 996 characters

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.

 461 characters

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.

 637 characters

Photo of indiapaleale
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Dirty Truth in Northampton, MA...

Pours a light amber color with a nice inch of head. Good looking beer, very nice color.

Smell is faintly sweet with some nice fresh citrusy hops, a little orangey/grapefruity.

Taste is like an IPA light (or I guess you could call it an APA), I believe that Bear Republic is calling this a California Bitter. Whatever you call it, its got a nice fresh citrus taste with not a huge wallop of hop bitterness and a nice amount of malt to back it up. Very easy drinking at <5% and close to a perfect summer session ale.

Great stuff from Bear Republic, keep 'em coming!

 619 characters

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.

 415 characters

Photo of bwd110
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's in Norristown, PA. Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a medium brown with a nice fluffy white head. Looks a little darker than many APAs, but enticing.

S: A little bit of dark fruit, maybe from the yeast? Some citrus hops and definite pine in the nose. Nothing overpowering, a nice light nose.

T: Nice bittering in this brew... Yeast, English in nature, and, malt dominate, leaving the hops to play nicely in the undercurrent of the flavor. Again some citrus, but a nice grassy pine finish.

M: A little thin for the style, but smooth nonetheless with a solid, crisp and bitter finish.

D: Very tasty, would session this beer without question.

 665 characters

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.

 1,014 characters

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.

 642 characters

Photo of callmemickey
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber brown body. Off white head with decent retention and above average lacing.

S: Floral/citrus blast. A tad more orange than grapefruit. Some lemon like hints.

T: Nicely balanced up front. Malt and hops play off each other until the citric/floral hops edge out the sweet malts with a nice bitter finish.

M: Light-medium body. A tad thin in the middle, perhaps a tad over carbonated before warming up.

D: A very nice pale that tips toward the IPA side of things. Which ain't a bad thing in my book.

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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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