Hoppy beer is awful—or at least, its bitterness is ruining craft beer’s reputation.
In 1980, when most of the nation’s beers were produced by Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Schlitz, Pabst, and Coors, Sierra Nevada’s pale ale was a revelation. Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman added way more hops than most brewers at the time would ever consider using. But he used a recently discovered American variety called the Cascade, a hop whose big, bitter bite was counterbalanced by a sweet grapefruit scent and a spicy aftertaste. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a beautiful beer with an aggressive edge, and it’s the beer that put me, and so many others, on the path to craft beer enthusiasm.