If you just so happen find yourself passing by the quaint college town of Chico, California, you should definitely go out of your way to experience the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Hoptimum Beer tour. Not only will you be blown away by the caliber of the tour itself, but the amazing beer samples at the end are a treat not be missed. As a bonus, you’ll come out much more knowledgeable about the craft beer brewing process, such as how the quality of the ingredients affects the final product, what hops are and even learn about the illustrious history of the founders.
I was lucky enough to go on the tour with several college co-eds whose exposure to craft beer was somewhat limited. It isn’t at all strange for the typical budget-constrained college student to resort to drinking popular, easily accessible beers like Budweiser, Pabst Blue Ribbon or Corona. Well, it was truly amazing to watch these neophyte beer drinkers broaden their horizons as they eagerly learned about the numerous, painstaking steps of making beer, touching and smelling the unprocessed hops, malts and yeasts and observing the intricate assembly and bottling lines. The Hoptimum Beer Tour definitely gave them an appreciation for the love and labor that goes into making craft beer and how it is far superior then the mass-produced suds they’re used to beer bonging.
When it came time for the best part of the tour, sampling the beer, we tasted through 8 uniquely different styles, each brewed on site at the Sierra Nevada Brewery. We started with a light and fresh Pale Ale followed by the Summerfest, Kellerweis, Sidecar, Otra Vez, Tropicus, Tropical Torpedo and finally the River Rye. Every beer we tried was more fascinating and unique than the one before. You could hear the excitement of the girls as they bantered about which beer they liked the best and which ones they would drink again. The overall consensus among the beer tasters was that Sidecar was the favorite beer on the tasting.
The Sierra Nevada Brewing Hoptimum tour is an incredible educational and sensory experience that is well worth the excursion the next time you are passing through Northern California.
Annette Solomon, CS