The Sierra Nevada Sidecar Orange IPA pours into the glass with a commendable clarity, presenting a light amber color. The generous off-white foam, with its oily appearance and impressive lacing, adds to the visual appeal. As expected from Sierra Nevada, this beer stands out in terms of aesthetics.


The initial aroma of Sidecar raises a few eyebrows with an odd, off-putting scent reminiscent of super ripe mango and stinky tropical melons. Fortunately, this initial unappetizing impression gives way to a more palatable fragrance dominated by straightforward orange peel. Unlike some other orange IPAs, Sidecar avoids being one-dimensional or overly perfumed. With nuances that evolve as the beer warms, the aroma transitions through stages, revealing notes of fresh bread and lemon poppyseed muffin.


Upon tasting, Sidecar surprises with its juicy character and a remarkably quenching, silky mouthfeel. Sierra Nevada’s distinctive house malt character shines through, featuring rich caramel, brown sugar, and bran muffin flavors that contribute to a chewy, dense mouthfeel. The beer glides smoothly across the palate, showcasing a full-bodied profile. While the bitterness is restrained for a Sierra Nevada IPA, the addition of bitter orange peel adds a well-integrated brightness, introducing subtle hints of added bitterness and spiciness. The lingering acidity in the finish, possibly from the acidulated malt, adds an intriguing dimension to the taste.


In typical Sierra Nevada fashion, Sidecar boasts a velvety mouthfeel that sets it apart from other readily available IPAs. The chewy density created by rich caramel, brown sugar, and bran muffin notes is a standout feature. Despite its full-bodied nature, the beer avoids stickiness and instead glides smoothly across the palate. The bitterness is balanced, with the orange peel addition complementing the base malt flavors without overpowering them. Notably, the beer leaves a pleasing acidity in the back of the palate, adding a distinctive touch.


While I personally appreciate the complexities of Sidecar, acknowledging its oddities is essential. Positioned in Sierra Nevada’s core lineup, this beer may not appeal to mainstream consumers due to its initial overripe aroma and the almost lactic acidity in the finish. IPA enthusiasts seeking an intense hopbomb might be underwhelmed, and fruit IPA lovers may find the orange nuances more subdued than expected. However, for those devoted to Sierra Nevada, Sidecar shines in its meticulous details. The exceptional base malt character and the seamless integration of orange make it a standout, even if it deviates from the typical expectations of an IPA. Compared to other Sierra Nevada offerings, Sidecar leans towards a juicier and more refreshing profile with a diminished emphasis on kettle hop bitterness. This unique positioning could make Sidecar an accessible choice for a broader audience, potentially serving as a gateway beer for those new to IPAs. In this regard, Sidecar deserves recognition for its approachability within the Sierra Nevada lineup