Oh heavens! Yet another style of Pale Ale, this one an ‘Anglo American Pale Ale’, a collaboration between Thornbridge and Sierra Nevada Brewing.
Hold on a second. Thornbridge and Sierra Nevada? Bring it on!
I’ve made no secret, here at The Brewclub, of my admiration for Thornbridge; and Sierra Nevada were one of the first American craft breweries to come to my attention – at the Great British Beer Festival back in 1991. Back in those days American beer had a woeful reputation here in Blighty, and at that GBBF I spent an enjoyable afternoon discovering brews from Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams and the now defunct Catamount brewery.
Sierra Nevada were, according to Simon Webster – Thornbridge’s COO – an inspiration for Thornbridge’s founders. “When we started out at Thornbridge in 2005 we had beers in mind that inspired and unashamedly influenced us in the ones we wanted to brew. Sierra Nevada beers were at the top of that list. Within a few years of brewing we were also fortunate enough to meet the guys leading the brewery and get an insight into their approach – their beers blew us away but their approach to quality and their way of doing business literally left us speechless”.
The relationship further developed when Steve Grossman, Sierra’s brewing ambassador, arranged for the two breweries to produce a collaborative brew. Steve had drunk Thornbridge beers during a visit to Blighty in 2009, and had been “extremely impressed with the tremendous flavours and impeccable balance of the beers, especially in ones with relatively low strength.”
A trip to Sierra Nevada in 2012 by Thornbridge’s Head Brewer, Rob Lovatt, and the plan was hatched. Rob says “We agreed to use hops from Sierra’s own supplies and malts from the UK to make a Pale Ale at 5%. After the brew we used a “Hop Torpedo” to maximise the great flavours and aromas of the hops!”
Steve Grossman added that Twin Peaks is “A real collaboration of the Old Country and the New Wave of brewing”.
It pours a very pale golden colour, with an enthusiastic head that leaves a fine lacing down the glass as the beer goes down. The nose is delicate, with hints of pine needles.
The flavour? Well the bottle notes suggest “pineapple and mango aromas balanced with the refreshing taste of lemon sherbet“. I didn’t get the mango, and what hints of pineapple were elusive, to say the least. Yes there were hints of lemon sherbet, and it IS very drinkable, and refreshing, but overall I was disappointed. As such it’s only the second or third Thornbridge brew to date to let me down.
Maybe I was expecting too much from these two well respected brewers. I confess that if I saw this on a shelf I would probably pass on this and opt for a different brew by either brewer.
Oh, and for completeness, a few days after trying this in bottles, I spotted this at a bar. My opinion didn’t change.
What are your favourite beer collaborations?