Sweetwater Brewing Company - SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale
Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 40
Serving Temperature: 40-45° F
Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Stange
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Crystal
Hops: Cascade, Centennial
420 Extra Pale Ale was first brewed on April 20, 1997, hence the name… We'd bet a nickel and dime that's not the complete reason behind the name, but we can't confirm. We can, however, provide you with a nugget of trivia to impress your friends: the brewery was named after a local creek. This particular beer is a lighter-bodied West Coast style pale ale with aggressive hop character in the aroma, flavor and finish. Look for piney, resinous, grapefruit notes, flourishes of mangoes, passion fruit and Clementine oranges and a hint of hop spiciness. Some sweet caramel grains keep the hoppy aromatics in check in this very well balanced beer. Note how the bitter hops and sweet malt play off each other during the first few moments ultimately fading to let a semi-bitter finish take over. The hoppiness is a bit less citrusy than implied by the nose and actually offers up a slightly peppery spicy bitter bite, but this never runs amuck due to the malty backbone. A 2002 Silver Medal winner at the GABF, and great with lobster, mussels or clams. Superbly drinkable at any time of the day.
*Side Note: When mixed in equal proportions, the Georgia Brown and the 420 EPA combine to create a third very tasty beer with some of the hoppy aromatics of the EPA tempered by the Sweet Georgia Brown ale notes and the sweeter notes from the brown ale being sharpened a bit by the hoppy pale ale. Give it a try!
When Frederick Bensch and Kevin McNerney started dreaming up their brewery plans, they quickly realized that their home base in Colorado already had plenty of microbrewed beer on tap. Their workaround? Sell nearly everything they owned, pack up their few remaining worldly possessions and drive to a place with a little less competition; a state that placed 48th in the nation in terms of beer production; a market as soft as a fresh Georgia peach: Georgia, of course.
It was in Atlanta, Georgia, that Frederick and Kevin founded the SweetWater Brewing Company. Their ambition wasn't simply driven by pie-in-the-sky dreaming. These fellas worked at no fewer than 7 microbreweries in Northern California and Colorado—heartlands of microbrewed nectars—before making the journey. They may also have been major potheads, but we’re not sure… Hmmm… Working in Northern California? References to the brewery as their “pipe dream”? Naming their flagship beer ‘420 Extra Pale Ale’? The fact that the brewery opens for tours each day at exactly 4:20pm? Or the fact that it took six requests for their slacker asses to send us the specs on their beers? Well, they deny any connection and chalk it all up to the fact that the references to this stoner code for pot are actually due to the fact that the beer was first brewed on April 20th, 1997. Did they choose that date accidentally? If there’s any connection, they’re not owning up to it.
The SweetWater Brewing Company opened its doors on February 17, 1997. In 2002 they were recognized as Small Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival. Need more convincing? (You haven't tried the beer yet, have you?) They were the second most decorated brewery in the world at the 1998 World Beer Cup.
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (404) 691-ALES or check out their web site at www.sweetwaterbrew.com.
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