A definite classic, this is one of the most iconic and recognizable craft beers out there. The hops take center stage in the form of ripe grapefruit peel, fading into a lingering resiny flavor accented with pine that stays through the mildly bitter finish. The assertive citrus characteristics are kept in check by a clean malty core and cleansing carbonation.
92 points, Wine Enthusiast (Sep 2011)
Slightly rustic, raw and mildly pungent hop aroma of leaves, flowers and heavy on the citric fruit. An undertone of grain is in the background also. Creamy smooth with a soft malt crispness that cradles a bready malt flavour. Hop bitterness is more than ample and shows off a bit yet there is an underlying sweetness that seems to put everything back together. Esters through a shadow of alcohol down which make a potential heady night. In the finish is a citric hop flavour with a touch more sweetness from the residual sugars, though this brew seems to dry up a little in the end. The typical American Pale Ale ... The classic American Pale Ale basically as far as what people know. A good and solid ale for what I think.
91 points, BeerAdvocate (Mar 2003)
Calling Sierra Nevada Pale Ale just another American pale ale is an understatement -- like calling the Mona Lisa just another painting. Perhaps a better way to say it is that SNPA is the American pale ale. What's so incredible about it? To start, the hops have more grapefruit notes than other pale ales, and an appealing thick maltiness wafts into your presence on the first pour. The crisp hop flavor, frothy head, and smooth body will satiate your tongue.
91 points, Draft Magazine