Barons Choice

Sierra Nevada Torpedo – a Must Have Beer

“Why are craft beers so bitter?”

Asked the guy in thongs and a t-shirt.

“Yeah, I mean I want to enjoy them but they all seem to taste like arse.” This from the one in a sharp suit, slick hair and a watch that could be used as a diver’s weight belt.

My mates are awesome and diverse people but pretty much every time I go out for a drink this happens. There’s a question about alcohol, they all ask each other before eventually turning to look at me and someone saying “Ask Nick, he’ll know.” It’s like it’s my job to write about and sell alcohol. Seriously though I’m surprised how few bartenders and general people know this one.

“Hops, it’s all about the hops. Hops are in beer. Hops add lots of interesting flavour to beer. Hops also add bitterness to beer. Craft brewers are trying to make interesting beers with lots of flavour but that means it’s a balancing act between too much bitterness and not enough flavour.”

“So I’m not just imagining that craft beers aren’t actually good?” Suit McGee (don’t judge him, he was drinking a heritage lager as he said this)

“No mate, they are just all about flavour. You should try some of the cold-hopped styles or maybe the stuff from Sierra Nevada? You know they invented this awesome bit of equipment that works like a chill circulator to regulate temperature and hop exposure to their Torpedo Extra IPA giving it some serious…”

As their eyes glaze over I completely forget that we’re supposed to be chatting about some new business idea and instead turn into booze professor. I think I might have been wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches at the time but no amount of irony will stop me talking about how much I love this beer.

The Torpedo XIPA is one of my favourite beers. It’s strong, has some science going on but most importantly has an absolute shipload of flavour with virtually no bitterness.

It’s like all the texture, mouthfeel and flavour of the strongest and most interesting ales with less lingering bitterness than a Japanese lager. Better yet it comes in a can! (Yes I’m pro can/tinnie, you’re either on our side or you’re wrong) Better than that, the cans are pint sized!

Do you want to take 10 bottles to a party or BBQ an inevitably leave half of them or have other people drink them or take 4 green cans and have everyone avoid your flavourful beer because they’re assuming it’s not any good? Anyway enough about the practicalities and ease of getting drunk on a smaller volume (I’m a whisky guy come on) Let’s get into the beer:

In the bottle: Well it’s a dark green can so… awesome?

In the glass: After avoiding the sneers from onlookers whilst you pour a can into a glass the dark reddish liquid is also crystal clear and leaning towards a darker ESB or red ale.

Nose: Grapefruit peel, loads of fresh citrus and fruit and that lovely savoury herbaceousness that would normally have me preparing for some seriously bitter aftermath.

Taste: In your face flavour and texture. This is thick with both sweet malt character and powerful hops. Then the unexpected bit happens; no lingering bitterness only lingering flavour. It’s not a clean or crisp finish but more the long, rewarding finish of a seriously good single malt scotch.

ABV: 7.2%

Verdict: Possibly the most sessionable beer above the 6% mark and easily makes into my “Must have in your fridge” list. This is a serious pleaser for hipster craft snobs and total noobs.

[CBC show=”y” country=”uk”]

Buying in the UK?


Review Date
Reviewed Item
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale
Author Rating



Bar owner, coffee roaster, mixologist of the molecular and enthusiast of all things grape, grain, sugar, honey and yeast related.