Release New Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Torpedo Variations?!

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by HoptimusMax1mus, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. HoptimusMax1mus

    HoptimusMax1mus Disciple (305) Jul 10, 2012 Arizona

    Just saw this today.

    Sierra Nevada is going to release an Orange Pale Ale called Sidecar Pale Ale and a Tropical Torpedo variant.

    Releasing in January 2017

    Paging @sierranevadabill
    IDABEERGUY, Damian74, CJNAPS and 3 others like this.
  2. fuzzbalz

    fuzzbalz Disciple (318) Apr 13, 2002 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    I've always been a fan of SN, but this just seems like desperation. Not sure where the brand is heading, and I've not been very impressed with most of the seasonal variety packs lately. Hell, I love Torpedo I just wish I could find it fresh more often. I believe SN might need to rethink not using pellet hops and start using them, this may be a better direction to go instead another mediocre orange pale ale or something :slight_frown:
    beertunes, ceeg, swolepeer and 2 others like this.
  3. Andy1010

    Andy1010 Initiate (188) Jan 26, 2016 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    They both sound good to me(I enjoy fruit forward IPA's). The seasonal tropical ipa this year might be one of my top 5 beers I enjoyed it that much, so hopefully the tropical torpedo is a way to bring that taste back. If not, I'm going to be praying for a tropical IPA next spring. The orange pale ale has my interest but definitely way more intrigued by the tropical torpedo. SN doesn't make bad beer so either way it's a must purchase IMO. Cheers!
    John1985, aoampm, LuskusDelph and 4 others like this.
  4. lester619

    lester619 Zealot (530) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Is this intended to be a part of their regular lineup or an experimental one of release like the beer camp stuff? They can try anything they like, but I'd hate to see it take away shelf space from something like their Porter or Kellerweis.
    Pantalones, THANAT0PSIS and ecpho like this.
  5. Alexmc2

    Alexmc2 Aspirant (274) Jul 29, 2006 Massachusetts

    My understanding (according to Beer Business Daily) is that these are big bet, year round items.
  6. lester619

    lester619 Zealot (530) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, not sure this is a great idea then. Cheers!
    beertunes and RBassSFHOPit2ME like this.
  7. BasterdInABasket

    BasterdInABasket Aspirant (259) Nov 8, 2010 Wisconsin

    Also Bigfoot, Hoptimum and Narwhal is moving to sixers. BF sixers used to be a bargain hopefully they don't go from $10 4 packs to $15 6 packs
    beertunes and Gemini6 like this.
  8. YamBag

    YamBag Aspirant (201) Feb 2, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I love Victory and feel the same frustrations with them that you're feeling with SN. I also love SN and hate to see them goes this route and agree 100% with going with pellets before going the fruit malternative route.
    Ozzylizard, beertunes and ESHBG like this.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,545) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    “Sierra Nevada is going to release an Orange Pale Ale called Sidecar Pale Ale and a Tropical Torpedo variant.”

    It appears to me that Sierra Nevada is responding to the very competitive hoppy beer market.

    I will reserve judgement on these two beers until I drink them.

    I can understand why Sierra Nevada is coming out with these beers. The IPA segment of the craft beer market is the beer style that the beer geek market wants to drink and anything that a brewery can do to add more product in this segment will likely be financially beneficial to the brewery.

    Remember when Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) stated they would not produce more IPAs/DIPAs but changed their mind?:wink:

    Ozzylizard, beertunes and LuskusDelph like this.
  10. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (688) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Thats the same price either way. I used to get a 6 pack for $10.

    RobNewton likes this.
  11. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (553) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Pish I say.
    aoampm, Sponan and MontpelierArtie like this.
  12. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (747) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    There is virtually no use in using whole hops over pellets except to brag about it. Used to LOVE sierra but haven't purchased their beer in a long time.
    beertunes likes this.
  13. akolb

    akolb Crusader (709) Aug 8, 2015 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    No thanks. I'll take the classic SNPA and Torpedo, but not gimmicky, fruited-up versions.
    Badfish, beertunes, apendecto and 9 others like this.
  14. Alexmc2

    Alexmc2 Aspirant (274) Jul 29, 2006 Massachusetts

    I'll reserve judgement until I try the beers. SN rarely makes a bad beer imo.
  15. King_Timberdodger

    King_Timberdodger Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2014 California

    I had Sidecar at the Chico taproom a couple months ago and liked it so much I got a crowler to bring home. I found it to be very well balanced, with the orange acting as part of the supporting cast rather than the star. It didn't have the "fake" orange candy flavor or heavy orange juice character I've regrettably encountered in some other beers. Can't wait to get a six pack!
  16. Lingenbrau

    Lingenbrau Poo-Bah (2,643) Apr 9, 2011 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Bigfoot moving BACK to sixers!:grinning: YAY!!!
    A2HB, Tdizzle, Thecalmdrinker and 3 others like this.
  17. Shmuffalo

    Shmuffalo Aspirant (241) Feb 26, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    That's awesome, where did you hear this?
    Gemini6 likes this.

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (756) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    The Fall Pack is great. Tumbler and Vienna are amazing beers in styles that too often get neglected. I would rather see Oktoberfest in there than Hoppy Wheat or Pale Ale, but that's a small gripe.

    I want an all lager pack, personally (stealing this idea from another BA), since the SN lager brews are awesome. Please, please, more Koelsch and Vienna!

    I don't like to see them going the fruited (I)PA route. I, too, think it seems desperate. Since I can't see the numbers, I can't speak to it, but with admittedly no facts to back this up, it feels to me that fruited IPAs are very much a fad. The only ones that are likely to stick around are Grapefruit Sculpin and the Tired Hands Milkshake series since both are innovative in their own ways. The rest will fall by the wayside in time. Even the rest of Ballast Point's needlessly additive-laden lineup doesn't seem to be doing all that well.

    I can't see any reason for SN to make this move, but maybe their core lineup is struggling to maintain sales in the ever-advancing market. Stone changed two of their core beers, and while they seemed to go over poorly here, we are but a small portion of the craft beer community. Perhaps the 2.0s are doing great overall, better than their predecessors were doing. Perhaps these fruited beers are doing great overall and these SN takes will do equally well. To me it seems like a step in the wrong direction, though. I would have to have access to the numbers to make any determinations beyond my own views and opinions, which are essentially based on a view akin to a microscope on a continent-wide landscape.

    I, too, would like to see them move to pellets instead of toward fruit additions. I feel that would be a better advancement, and certainly less kitschy feeling.
    #18 THANAT0PSIS, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  19. TriggerFingers

    TriggerFingers Disciple (386) Apr 29, 2012 California
    Beer Trader


    The best pale ale of the past 30 years doesn't need messing with. If the variant is legit, I'll give it a go though.

    Torpedo is good. I'm not married to that one. If they want to twist that up fine. I'll still buy Hop Hunter if I don't like it.

    Not happy with them resorting to gimmicks.
    #19 TriggerFingers, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
    Badfish and LuskusDelph like this.
  20. TriggerFingers

    TriggerFingers Disciple (386) Apr 29, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    The original "Bigfoot Challenge" returns!

    Well worth the any price!
    rails, aoampm, TEKNISHE and 1 other person like this.
  21. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Meyvn (1,339) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Sierra Nevada rarely disappoints, but I'm not crazy about all the citrus-added IPAs. If I see them as singles in Wegman's or someplace I might give it a try.
    LuskusDelph and apendecto like this.
  22. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Meyvn (1,339) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    ...Dare I ask what the "Bigfoot Challenge" is? Is that when you try to drink the entire six-pack in one sitting?
  23. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,294) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    (illustrations from Brewbound)

    Besides the Beer Business Daily note mentioned above (page down half way to "SIERRA ON INNOVATION"), Brewbound has a longer story on these two permanent additions to SN's portfolio, as well as a Spring Seasonal, a wheat IPA called Golden IPA, at

    Note that the Tropical Torpedo has no fruit additions according to BBD "...the fruitiness comes from the hop bill...", with a recipe "similar" to the Beer Camp Tropical IPA.

    Interesting side note - SN expects sales to be down 4.4% for 2016, and IRI year-to-date has SNPA down 5.8%.

    I don't get the relationship between pellets vs. a fruit-flavored beer. How would switching to pelletized hops help with flagging sales, or adding new products? Are you suggesting the switch only for economic reasons?
    #23 jesskidden, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  24. djuhnk

    djuhnk Initiate (161) Aug 28, 2013 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    and how is using pellets going to benefit them???

    No need to spread misinformation... using flowers/whole cone hops is actually a big difference from pellets. We've noticed at our brewery whole flowers actually add a whole different mouthfeel to the beer and also a more vibrant bitterness

    Unless you guys know something I don't... but myself having professional experience using pellet vs whole cone hops, I give props to breweries like fat heads and SIerra Nevada for using whole cone because, for one: it requires a lot of extra money in special equipment, and two: I think it makes hoppy beer more full and vibrant with true hop character.
    #24 djuhnk, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (724) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I assume your quotes around the word "similar" indicate you think it's the same exact recipe?

    Are they allowed to do that considering the Beer Camp beers are collaborations? I don't know the background of the Beer Camp IPA though, so maybe it was just Sierra Nevada who brewed it.


    I'm not surprised though. The next 5 - 10 years are going to be interesting, and I think we'll see the larger national/regional breweries start floundering a bit.

    All the beer geeks (and even some non-beer geeks from my observations) who want IPAs (and everyone wants IPAs) are flocking to local breweries, and buying local in general. Not only is a taproom a great experience, but buying local beer (whether at the brewery or at the store) means you can often purchase an IPA that is incredibly fresh. I have multiple options that are < 2 weeks old, why would I buy a regional/national brand that is > 3 months old? And the 3 month old regional/national brand is likely not in the popular "New England-style", which is often the case here in Boston with some of the local brands. Because the larger breweries can't brew those styles due to how quickly they fall off in flavor.

    I'm simply speaking to what I observe locally in Boston, and to a larger extent, the Northeast in general. More and more breweries are popping up who have "cracked the code" of the "New England-style" IPA, therefore they're fairly easy to obtain.

    After that, you're left with Joe Bud Light Drinker, who drinks Bud Light. And then the guy in the middle, who at this point may be bored with the craft beer market, and/or simply overwhelmed by a myriad of options. It's this middle man, sitting between Bud Light drinker and beer geek, who likely fueled the national/regional sales.
    surfcaster and THANAT0PSIS like this.
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,294) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    No, the quotation marks were used to reflect the fact that similar was the term Brewbound used when quoting a SN exec:
    StoutElk_92 likes this.

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (756) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    This story certainly sheds new light on these offerings, as well as the declining sales of SN and SNPA in particular that I could not speculate on. Thanks!

    I'm okay with Tropical Torpedo since it doesn't contain fruit (though I am not excited). Sidecar sounds a bit ham-fisted to me, and indeed, both of these beers seem late to the party to me as far as fruity IPAs go. The market for fruity IPAs is already way too crowded, and I don't see how diluting their portfolio is the right move, especially when both are going to be year-round. For a company as big as SN, that's got to be a massive investment. I just don't think throwing their hat into the ring can possibly go well when they will be competing with excellent local options across the country for fruity IPA dollars, and that's a competition they are bound to lose due to freshness being impossible to beat when you're dealing with a local brewery and locovorism. Plus, I just don't see SN going down the cloudy NE IPA route (even if this is a step in that direction flavor-wise), which will keep them from gaining much traction if that style continues to grow.

    It just seems like a poorly thought out move, like they were literally out of ideas, and I can't imagine what audience this is trying to reach: people in states with poor distribution and no great local IPA options, craft newbies who want a cheap and available option for a fruity beverage, people who don't like IPAs already but might if they were less aggressive, or someone else entirely?

    The bottom line for me is that it is not innovation. It's following the crowd and trends, which is fine and somewhat necessary, but for a brewery like SN who really has no comparison in a multitude of ways, it's disappointing and worrying to see them follow so sluggishly, clumsily, and seemingly reluctantly. Hop Hunter was innovative. Adding a decidedly American take on a Pilsner and pushing it as hard as they did Nooner was ahead of the game (if not innovative in the traditional sense) since I believe we are seeing a lager resurgence in a big way. The Oktoberfest collaboration project is innovative. Beer Camp Across America is innovative. Obviously, older SN history is filled with innovation (SNPA and Bigfoot can in some senses be seen as archetypes for their given styles).

    I'm not saying these beers will be bad; SN doesn't seem capable of making bad beers. I just think they will be more above average options in a very crowded marketplace of above average options when many people are looking for great or better. I don't see them selling well because there is too much competition, and they won't stand out for any reason other than price and availability. I can't help but wonder if there wasn't something better they could've come up with.

    I will still try them when they release, of course, in order to fairly assess them.
    Roguer and TEKNISHE like this.
  28. Tmwright7

    Tmwright7 Initiate (191) Feb 3, 2015 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I don't get all of the negativity surrounding these new beers (that haven't been released and you haven't tried). I read these quotes about "they're desperate" and "they're out of ideas" and "gimmicky." The list can go on and on just on the first page alone.

    But i'm sure i'll hop on the next forum topic and people will mention how it's the best time ever to be a craft beer drinker, there are so many options. And until @jesskidden pointed out that the tropical flavors may be hop driven, no one even considered that an option. Now everyone approves of Tropical Torpedo!

    Let's give it a chance before we throw another brewery in the ground and bury them.
  29. sefus12

    sefus12 Aspirant (224) Sep 7, 2006 Kentucky

    Agree 100%. I also question how people can be negative about a brewery that RARELY releases anything that isn't at least good. SN is the most consistently quality craft brewer out there and I doubt they would be half-assing something to put in their regular lineup just to take advantage of a fad.

    It's funny.... the more I drink the tons of new breweries I have access to here in KY (whether they be local or new distribution to our area), the more I find myself going back to SN as I KNOW that anything I get from them, whether it be Torpedo, Nooner, Porter, or good ol' SNPA, will be really good and taste like it has every other time I had it.

    With that in mind, I'll gladly enjoy my SN Oktoberfest until Celebration, my personal favorite IPA, returns in a month or so .
  30. scottakelly

    scottakelly Zealot (510) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    I would bet that the "buy local" trend will eventually recede. At least I'm hoping. I went to a local craft beer bar last night that I hadn't been to in awhile to find out that all the drafts were local options that I had not had before. After sampling all 8 I ended up ordering a scotch. I would have been all over a SNPA if they had it. Many of the "buy local" people are fairly inexperienced beer drinkers. My hope is that as they mature they trend towards what is great, no matter where it comes from. (Disclaimer, my local craft scene is not very good, no comment on areas like Boston where it is).
  31. scottakelly

    scottakelly Zealot (510) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    SN is at the end of the day a business, and will make what the market wants, but I'm worried that these will take shelf space away from other SN beers that I love, like Kellerweis. I enjoy well made APAs and IPAs, but I fear that the craft scene is really just becoming the IPA scene, as style options are getting more and more limited to IPAs, etc. as time goes on.
    User_Name, AlcahueteJ and THANAT0PSIS like this.
  32. SteveSexton203

    SteveSexton203 Aspirant (206) Feb 19, 2014 Connecticut

    come on SN you really had to join in on the Gimmick IPA craze
  33. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,454) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Hmmm, it's not like Sierra Nevada is the first brewery to refresh their core line up with variations on a theme or as a result of changes in popular tastes. More than one brewery with extensive and/or regional distribution has introduced a new pale ale and a variant on their core IPA.

    In some ways, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems quite predictable to me that after so many years without a refresh of their core line up SN should turn their attention to doing that. (Especially since so many of their newer projects such as the Oktoberfest collaborations, the beer camp collaborations, etc., etc. have worked well and seem to be up and running smoothly for a while.) So it seems to me the time is ripe. It also seems to me that the definition of having a flagship beer in the first place is that the brewer likes it and their customers also like it, as demonstrated by their use of purchasing power.

    Even if the original Pale Ale and Torpedo were to disappear entirely, it would not be the first or the last time that a brewery's flagship beer that was once their most popular has been replaced by something else that they expect will become just as popular.
    #33 drtth, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  34. Wolfhead

    Wolfhead Initiate (167) Sep 1, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I bought the crap out of that Tropical IPA earlier this year and will resume if Tropical Torpedo is anything like it
  35. McMatt7

    McMatt7 Disciple (393) Jul 30, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Heard a very similar review from a friend, look forward to trying it, cheers
    HoptimusMax1mus likes this.
  36. BasterdInABasket

    BasterdInABasket Aspirant (259) Nov 8, 2010 Wisconsin

    Saw it on Twitter a few days ago along with the Sidecar and TT releases.. Also saw sidecar is supposed to be released in 18 pack 16oz cans too, but can't find that post right now. Hopefully SC is good, don't think I've ever bought an 18 pack of beer
  37. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,454) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Interesting point. It just occurs to me that the Tropical IPA may have been a test run on customer appeal before committing to the introduction of Tropical Torpedo
    JackHorzempa and BillManley like this.
  38. BillManley

    BillManley Aspirant (259) Jul 2, 2008 Minnesota

    To be clear, Tropical Torpedo doesn;t have any fruit in it. Just hops. It's a re-brew of the Beer Camp Tropical IPA we released earlier in 2016...but with a higher percentage of Mosiac in the hop bill. No fruit in that one.

    As for the Sidecar...reserve judgement until you've tried it. I've been drinking it all week here in Mills River and it is a hoppy pale ale first and foremost (Cascade, Equinox, and Hallertau Mandarina) with orange peel in the kettle and the fermenter. Hops first, fruit second.
    TrojanRB, Reef, doktorhops and 38 others like this.
  39. BillManley

    BillManley Aspirant (259) Jul 2, 2008 Minnesota

    See above..same beer but with less El Dorado and more Mosaic hops... even more fruit-forward, but with exactly 0% fruit in it.
  40. BillManley

    BillManley Aspirant (259) Jul 2, 2008 Minnesota

    You won't buy and 18 pack of this either...probably. The 18 pack is designed as a "Loose Pack" product, meaning, that the vast majority will be split-up and sold as singles in places like convenience stores are bodegas. We do a surprising amount of business in 16oz cans in the C-Store channel, and right now the expensive and tricky 4-pack wraps mostly end-up in the trash. Sidecar, Pale Ale and Torpedo will all be in the 18x16oz loose pack this coming year.

    No change to 12oz cans.