Everyone has a craft beer Epiphany and in my case it was in 2004 in the Sierra Nevada ranges of the good ole USA! Cross Country Ale – BeerCo – Recipe – American Pale Ale pays homage to that time spent in the magical Sierra Nevada mountains drinking a lot of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale! Truth be known it was 9 years since I had put down my first home brew with some school chums ‘back home’ in Aotearoa but don’t tell the authorities about that or our age at the time. We brewed together as 4 buddies DNSS then just 2 brew buddies DN right through our high school years using good ole’ Muntons English beer kits, Brewtek kits and Cooper’s kits and Malt Extract and whatever we could lay our hands on in small town TimaHawaii in Aotearoa aka NZ. DN (Dowling & Nicholls) even got so far as experimental home brewing as we knew it back then by throwing some hops in a pot with a kit and dry hopping to get more flavour out of our home brew. Why the long yarn before I get to the Sierra Nevada ranges and the Cross Country Ale? Cause it was important back then in the 1990s. Whenever and wherever we took our home brews and unleashed them on unsuspecting chums or Dads of chums in NZ they turned their noses up at the cloudy colour or the yeast and hop forward flavours. We got polite ‘that’s great Dermott & Simon’ keep it up. One day you might brew something that tastes like real beer – DB Draught as the locals drunk back then which was near enough to ‘lolly water’ and that’s a polite expression for it then and now.
Well in 1994 I was lucky enough to go on S.W.A.P – Student Work Abroad Programme where they let 300 Kiwis loose on the USA with a work permit for 120 days over our summer – the Nth American winter. Most of us landed up in the California or Colorado mountains and worked as ski bums and drank the first of the craft revolutions beers out of US. I still recall with super fond memory heading to Safeway in Truckee to stock up on Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sam Adams and other craft beers emerging at the time. When we finished a day in the snow we hit the pubs and were lucky enough to find Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in bottles and sometimes on tap “Wow”! This is what beer should taste like – I like it! And geez our home brew wasn’t that bad Simon, Nick & Shane. Wish I could text or facebook you but luckily back then that stuff didn’t exist either so I just drank the good stuff, thought about mates back home and how I might send a giant group email on hotmail to brag about working in the snow and drinking the best beer on earth – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – at least it was back then to me in Dec/Jan 1994! This one’s to you Ken G and all the good folk at Sierra Nevada for putting smiles on a student ski bum face in some great resort bar somewhere in the Sierras 🙂
PS I was working at Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort where Telemarking was the ‘off days’ sport of choice at neighbouring fields like Sugar Bowl and Boreal. Had to post this pic as it looks like now they added something else cool to the mix just like Sierra Nevada have added plenty of cool new brews to their mix since 1994.
Gladfield Malt Bill
- 71% 3.55 Ale
- 14% 0.70 Wheat
- 9% 0.45 Light Crystal
- 3% 0.15 Red Back
- 3% 0.15 Biscuit
100% 5.00 Kg total grain bill
- ??? AAU Cascade Hops (Mash) (20g of 6.8% alpha acids) – thx Matt @Firestone Walker for the tip on the Brewing Network
- 27 AAU Magnum hops (60 mins) (18 g of 13.5% alpha acids)
- 11 AAU Cascade hops (15 mins) (30 g of 6.8% alpha acids)
- (20 g) Cascade hops (0 mins)
- (20 g) whole Cascade hops (dry hop) – aiming for 72 hours in the secondary pre bottling – thx Vinnie @Russian River for the tip @ANHC4
Wyeast 1272 (American Ale II) 3 Dec 2014 manufacture date – thx Grain & Grape you could use:
- GY001 Nor Cal Ale #1 GigaYeast (Liquid) or
- Danstar BRY-97 US West Coast Ale Yeast (Dry) 2 x sachets or
- Fermentis Safale US-05 Yeast (Dry) 2 x sachets
Brewing aids/water treatment
- 1/2 tab Irish moss @5 mins
- 5g of Calcium Chloride + 5g of Calcium Sulphate
Step by Step
- Heat (16 L) of water to (72-5 °C), stir in crushed grains and 20g of Cascade hop pellets and mash at (64 °C) for 60 mins.
- Mash for 60 minutes then stir in boiled water to raise grain bed temperature to 168 °F (76 °C). Hold for 5 minutes.
- Recirculate until wort is clear (about 20 minutes), then begin running wort off to kettle. Sparge with 170 °F (77 °C) water.
- Boil wort for 90 minutes, adding hops at times indicated in recipe. Add Irish moss with 5 minutes left in boil. Cool wort and transfer to fermenter.
- Aerate wort and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C). Rack to secondary when fermentation is complete and add dry hops. Bottle when beer falls clear.
Thanks go out to the following references and sources: BYO.com for their clone recipe for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – I’m calling this is Cross Country Ale as its not that pale with Red Back and Biscuit malt and I added another country with Kiwi malt so not a true blue clone brew. Ken Grossman @Sierra Nevada for starting something great and keeping it in the family so to speak 🙂