How Homebrewing Led to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

April 25, 2023

In a world awash in pale ales, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale still delights. In this Zymurgy Live webinar, Ken Grossman, homebrewer, founder, and owner of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and long standing American Homebrewers Association (AHA) advocate, delves into the creation of this iconic beverage and why it still resonates so strongly 40+ years later. Hear about how it came to be, gain tips on how to brew your own, and learn why this beer inspired the 2023 AHA Big Brew Recipe.

What You Will Learn

  • How Sierra Nevada Pale Ale came to be
  • What still makes it the gold standard for American Pale Ales
  • Tips on how to brew your own

Event Details

  • Date: April 25, 2023
  • Time: 3:00 PM MT - 4:00 PM MT

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About the Speakers

Ken Grossman

Ken Grossman, Founder & Owner

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Ken Grossman is the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., established in 1980. Ken's passion for good beer began when a friend showed him the basics of homebrewing. He began brewing five-gallon batches of beer on his own and soon became a proficient homebrewer. In 1976, Ken opened his own store, The Home Brew Shop, and, soon after, began building a small brewery in the town of Chico, California. His goal: to brew exceptional ales and lagers.

An avid backpacker, Ken named the new company for his favorite hiking grounds—the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Finally, on November 15, 1980, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. brewed the first batch of what would soon become a landmark in American craft brewing: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Today, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is considered one of the premier craft breweries in the United States.

Christopher Frey

Christopher Frey, Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters (MALT)


Chris "Crispy" Frey retired from Ford Motor Company to move to Hendersonville, North Carolina with his beautiful wife Kris. Crispy is an elected member of the American Homebrewers Association's (AHA) Governing Committee (GC), has served on the Brewers Association Board of Directors, co-chaired the 2014 national Homebrew Con volunteer efforts, and currently serves on the AHA GC Events & Education Subcommittee. In 2019, he was awarded the AHA Recognition Award.

Crispy served as the Chief Anarchist and Benevolent overlord for the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild for many years, and currently serves as Treasurer and Secretary for the Mountain Ale & Lager Tasters (MALT) in Asheville, North Carolina. Crispy has brewed his Nearly Nirvana Pale Ale recipe over 90 times, frequently tweaking one variable to understand it's impact. His current version is the Big Brew recipe for 2023.