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The Sierra Nevada experience

Jovanna Garcia

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Illustrations by Kayce Tynan Photo credit: Kayce Tynan

Whenever someone asks me what my favorite restaurant in Chico is, my automatic response is always Sierra Nevada.

Sierra Nevada will be celebrating its 35th anniversary this November. It’s known for being one of the most important regional breweries and was named No. 2 in the Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies in 2013 by the Brewers Association.

Sierra Nevada distributes its beer to all 50 states and has limited distribution in countries all around the world, some of which include: Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom, according to its website.

Because I am not 21 yet, I have not been fortunate enough to enjoy the complete “Sierra Nevada experience,” complete with a tour of the brewery itself and an endless beer-tasting extravaganza. However, that has not stopped me from going to enjoy the food instead.

There is no denying that the food is great— who can resist a bacon burger or an entire plate of malted sweet and spicy wings? And don’t even get me started on the bread. I can devour a whole basket of bread before my meal in mere seconds.

But if I’m being completely honest, the real reason Sierra Nevada is my favorite is not just because of its delectable food, but also because it’s usually free.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go there, eat and walk out without paying for my food, but I usually go there with either my parents or my friends’ parents whenever they’re in town. This is probably one of the main reasons why Sierra Nevada was recently awarded “Best Restaurant to Take Your Parents” in the Best of Chico contest.

I’ve figured if it’s that time of year when parents and family are here to visit and explore Chico, one must:

A. Have a good relationship with your friends’ parents (maybe even get on first name basis).

B. Act like a poor college student who eats ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

With these simple steps, you are almost always guaranteed a pity invitation to the local brewery.

I have some wonderful memories from this place, memories of time spent with family and friends, good food and great conversations. The atmosphere is excellent and every time I visit is better than the last.

While Sierra Nevada’s food is to die for, the brewery is what really makes it one-of-a-kind.

Every time I go to one of my local specialty stores, like Sprouts in Southern California, and see a pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, I get a sense of pride knowing exactly where that beer came from.

Jovanna Garcia can be reached at [email protected] or @Jo_Garcia19 on Twitter.

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The Sierra Nevada experience