Review – Yonder Bock from Cigar City & Sierra Nevada

Does Sierra Nevada teamed with Cigar City create something different?  I ask this with the last Beer Camp beer because SoCal gets a few CC collaborations and I have yet to look at the contents of the glass with wonder.  Will Yonder Bock make me wonder?


I do like the idea of a Tropical Maibock. And the mixture of the guava notes from Calypso hops and the blueberry of what was known as Hop 366 aka Equinox should liven up a stalwart German style. Yonder pours a reddish tinted orange.  Lots of initial foam that fades into the ether completely.  The bock style comes through loud and strong.  The Mai part of the bock doesn’t enter the picture for me.  The aroma carries notes of a tropical cocktail.  One you might find in a tiki bar.  Pineapple and guava come through to my tongue.


This is certainly more bitter than your average Maibock which usually has more caramel in my reviewing history.  This beer substitutes that for fruit punch and a little residual bitterness in the back.  This is unique and I do like it but it is not the type of beer that blows your palate away at the start.  You do have to search your memory banks to identify the aromas and when they come they do reward you.

I am a bit sad that the Beer Camp has left my ‘fridge.  I wish a new box of 12 was coming down the pike.  I could review these type of beers each month.

Review – Yvan the Great from Russian River & Sierra Nevada

The penultimate beer from the Variety Box – Beer Camp Across America.  There is but one lonely can remaining.  For this beer Sierra Nevada brewed with the infamous Russian River to produce Yvan the Great.  Named in honor of Yvan de Baets the famed Belgian brewer this is a hoppified version of a Belgian Blonde.  Something that Russian River does very, very well.


This is a blonde for sure!  This pours an extremely light and extremely clear yellow.  I can see very clearly through it.  I was expecting more hops in the aroma but I am not picking them up.  This drinks Belgian all the way.  Lots of spice.  Clove in the forefront.  I’m getting a ton of vanilla as well.  Ice cream vanilla to be more exact.  No head or lace at all here and not much in the way of bubbles either though it is crisp on the palate.  Towards the back there is a subtle note of orange but you have to reach for it.

I like it but I don’t know if this is what was envisioned if the label copy is to be truly believed.


Review – Alt Route from Victory & Sierra Nevada

Last review was ESB and now another iconic and oft ignored style, the Alt.  Widmer made their bones on this and an American Wheat.  So how does Sierra Nevada teamed with Victory of Pennsylvania see this style in 2014?  Let’s take the Alt Route and find out…..


The Alt Route pours a reddish to dark brown.  Lots of bubbles on this one.  This beer really pops.  I had imbibed two other dramatically different beers earlier this day but this one stands out.  That can be hard to do when palate fatigue sets in.  I am getting notes of cola and a little bit of spice here.  Maybe licorice as well. Light and refreshing are descriptors that pop into my mind and stay there.

I don’t know what I was expecting from this.  Maybe something heavier and Germanic but this is almost liquer-ish in flavor profile while not in alcohol. If you had told me that the Bell’s and Victory beers would be my top two, I would not have been shocked but certainly surprised.  This is most certainly my second most favorite beer in the pack.  With only two left!


Review – There & Back from New Glarus & Sierra Nevada

Oh how I have been looking forward to this collaboration.  One because it is New Glarus and two and ESB. I love this style and I don’t see many out there, and back. How does Sierra Nevada do Extra Special bitter?


T&B pours a dark orange color.  Not much head or lacing here.  Rapidly faded on both counts.  There is a spice note in this beer very similar to Orange pekoe tea.  I like it.  Good balance of malt here, I’m getting some toast notes.  It is light but well away from watery.  Good carbonated bubbles really add to it.  Simple but not boring.  I think I might be due a trip to England because my taste buds seem to be leaning English of late.  I would have to rank this up there with Torpedo Pilsner and Electric Ray and close to Maillard’s Odyssey.  Top tier stuff.



Review – Tater Ridge from Asheville & Sierra Nevada

The headline has been shortened Sierra Nevada did not collaborate with the entire city of Asheville.  The co-conspirator in this case is the Asheville Brewers Alliance and the sweet potato.


Tater Ridge pours a reddish hued brown with a nice amount of lacing on the glass.  I am not getting a heckuva lot of starchy aroma.  Just a hint of toast like malt on the nose.  The taste is a bit on the thin side for my liking.  And it is pretty one dimensional.  Slightly malty but there is no sweetness just a bit of something that I can’t quite put my finger on.  A certain earthiness with minerals that is not helping the cause.

This is probably the weakest of the bunch in my opinion.  I was expecting something stronger with a bigger flavor and it isn’t here.


Review – Torpedo Pilsner from Firestone Walker & Sierra Nevada

In any variety pack there are beers you mark as special and this was one that I dog-eared when I first saw it. How would two California Beer Titans mesh into one beer.
Well Torpedo Pilsner from Firestone Walker and Sierra Nevada pours a yellow to orange color. The first taste and aroma is Sweet Tart candy. Bitterness is there but that unique candy taste is the boss. Some citrus but it us sweet orange not Farmers Market orange. Their is a lightness and metallic bit that is the pilsner part if the equation. Very light and almost a pils version of Easy Jack except for a lingering perfume aroma and taste. I’m getting flower shop mixed with parfumerie type of feel here.  The Southern Cross and Motueka hops used haven’t given me this flavor and aroma profile before so I don’t know what alchemy the two breweries have been up to but this is quite unique.

Review – Electric Ray from Ballast Point & Sierra Nevada

I will be reviewing ALL 13 of the special Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaborations this month. I had my non-drinking wife randomly select the order and up next  is Electric Ray brewed with Ballast Point of San Diego.

The Ray/Torpedo pours a golden tinted orange. And at 8.5% this is not your grandpa’s lager or even yesterday’s IPL. Orange is the dominant aroma as well. A just peeled navel to my senses. That follows through in the initial taste as well. Then some grapefruit slips in towards the back.
It does taste different from a pale or IPA but not by a wide margin. It’s cleaner and drier thanks to the L in the IPL but because of the strength, I think most drinkers would rate this as an IPA.
In the battle of hoppy beers from this series, I would rate Chico King higher by a few lengths. But the next beer is a hopped up pilsner from Firestone Walker.

Review – Canfusion from Oskar Blues & Sierra Nevada

I will be reviewing ALL 13 of the special Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaborations this month. And due to the random order, this is the first of the two cans that I will be reviewing.

CANFusion pours a reddish orange. That first sip is quite sparkly, and hoppy too. Which comes as a bit of a surprise.  In a blind taste test I wouldn’t initially have pegged it as a bock at first. As it warms up though,  the German-ness comes out more and more. There are some caramel notes too and a metallic taste with an alcoholic bent. A little of the rye spice is a finishing note.


I wish there had been more cans in this pack. Maybe a 50/50 split would have been cool.

Review – Double Latte fron Ninkasi Brewing & Sierra Nevada

I will be reviewing ALL 13 of the special Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaborations this month.  I had my non-drinking wife randomly select the order and the third beer is from Ninkasi Brewing, Double Latte.

Double Latte combines two of the greatest things in life: good coffee and great beer. Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing knows their way around a good cup of joe. Featuring cold-press coffee from the legendary Stumptown Coffee Roasters and a dose of milk sugar, this coffee milk stout is a rich and roasty treat.

When scanning the list of beers, this was the one that made me nervous.  See L.A. has a premier example of a coffee milk stout.  It is Naughty Sauce from Noble Ale Works.  Even with Stumptown Coffee, how could this beer compare.

Time to find out.


This Double Latte of a beer pours with a big, foamy espresso colored head to it.  That foam recedes fairly quickly leaving a ring around the glass and plenty of lacing.  The aroma is straight up coffee though milder than I expected.  The taste is a blend of coffee and a chocolate chip sweetness.  There is a sense of cream taste from the lactose but it isn’t pervasive.  It is almost a milk chocolate covered coffee bean flavor.  The coffee is certainly bitter.  There is also a bit of carbonated zing in the middle of each sip as well.  All of the flavors that I taste are fantastic but I don’t know if they blend into one beer that rivals the Naughty Sauce.  That is a tough goal and one that the Double Latte valiantly fights but doesn’t quite win.