Being from Chicago, as I began to acquire my taste for beer snobbery one of the first beers to help me on my way with that was local GOOSE ISLAND’s HONKER’S ALE. My god, just writing those words makes me salivate. I cannot acquire Goose Island now that I reside on the West Coast, so when I go home that’s pretty much all I drink (although now that BELL’S is being distributed to Chicago again I have to split it between the two). But out here on the West Coast, in my day-to-day existence, I’ve come to drink Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, it being the closest thing to Goose Island I can get.

So I’ve always loved Sierra’s Pale Ale. It used to be a mainstay of my ‘travel beers’, as I travel a lot and SN seems to have a wide enough distributorship and a loyal enough fan base among all age groups that you can get it pretty much anywhere. Milwaukee and Ohio road trips were always prime Sierra time, and I have many fond memories of stumbling out of the Cactus Club or the C-bar after several too many Sierra’s. But hold on you say, let’s not forget this wonderful brewery’s other products. Their Wheat is also good, though not one of my favorite Wheats, and the celebration is also, in my opinion, a quality brew although again, not something I deviate to all that much.

But now that I’ve had the Sierra Nevada Anniversary Brew I have to say, if I could find it in cases I would probably be switching.

This brew is so smooth it’s incredible. Same basic body as the Pale, but a less hoppy taste, and a really clean finish. No aftertaste, which is kinda bad in that it leaves you wanting another sip right away. I couldn’t stop with this one until the sixer was gone, and it held my attention to the point that I continually stopped what I was doing to engage the beverage consciously while drinking it, none of this absent minded, passive imbibing. No, I literally acknowledged ever sip as being ‘Goddamn Amazing’.

I’m not sure if it’s a limited edition. The Anniversary is 1980-present, and let’s hope these guys and gals keep putting out quality intoxicants for decades to come (as long as the GOP doesn’t reinstate prohibition in the name of the flying spaghetti monster that is).