Ales are a natural fit for app courses. They’re full-bodied but not too filling … much like an appetizer. Ales tend to have a touch of bitterness and undertones of citrus.

A West Coast classic

Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale is the flagship brew from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, California. The craft brewery, founded in 1979, has been causing a bit of buzz (pun intended) in brewing circles lately. Their forthcoming brew, Life and Limb, is a collaboration with Delaware-based Dogfish Head Brewery.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is an American-style ale, deep in color. Its taste has distinct hints of orange, but it’s most notable for a sharp, bitter finish.

Bitter is better

The ale’s bitterness makes it the perfect counterpoint to today’s app recipe. These lemon and honey chicken skewers are slightly sweet and slightly acidic. They’re heavy on flavor, but not a complete meal unto themselves. The lemon and orange of the beer matches the citrus in the skewers. And, as the honey and ginger leave a layer of sweet on the tongue, the bitter hops in the Sierra Nevada combines with it for a powerful blossom of flavor.

A fine lead-in to the next course

The overall experience is rather intense. It’s a lot of flavor at first, but the bitter finish is very palate-cleansing. It leads in well to a heavier entree course.

At 5.6%ABV, we recommend you just be careful with those skewers.


Lemon & Honey Chicken Skewers


  • 1 pound chicken breast fillets
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in cold water


  1. Preheat your indoor grill to medium high heat. Or you can use a grill pan on your gas or electric range on medium high. Of course, charcoal or gas grills are fine, too.
  2. Slice chicken into thin strips and thread onto 8 soaked skewers.
  3. Place skewers on grill or pan and cook for 3 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. While chicken is cooking, combine lemon juice, honey, sesame, and ginger.
  5. Dip the skewers into the lemon-honey mixture, or pour it directly over them.



If Sierra Nevada Pale Ale isn’t available at your local packy, here are some alternative brews, similar in style.

Sam Adams Boston Ale

Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

Budweiser American Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Photo Credit: Henderson Images