Earlier this month, I picked up the latest Sierra Nevada Beer Camp variety box and set about trying all 12 and ranking them.
Here is my hot take on the first six beers tasted and my ranked results: 1.The Bruery Raspberry Sundae – Points for really following through on the name. Strong raspberry notes and sweetness that the lactose really softens the edges from.
2.Surly Ginger Lager – Way too much ginger on this but I like that taste so even though the lager ½ of the name is overwhelmed, I enjoyed this.
3.Kiuchi White IPA with Yuzu – Nice IPA. Not earth shattering but the best of the first six easily.
4.Treehouse East Meets West IPA – Not super hazy. A bit juicy. Can’t avoid talk of Treehouse beers but this is only so-so to me.
5.Boneyard West Coast Style DIPA – Another hop bomb that I was looking forward to that just sorta sat there. Like Treehouse, I expected something more.
6.Mikkeller Thai-Style Ice Tea – Whereas the ingredients in The Bruery beer contrasted. This was a muddle. And unlike the Ginger Lager, I am not a fan of Thai Ice Tea so this gets the bottom score.
Overall, I expect the back six beers to be better. There will be (4) foreign to (2) US collaborations. None of these, that includes the raspberry, were great. The IPA’s didn’t have that extra something to elevate them even from each other. My expectations vs what was in the bottle had a large gulf in between them.
Sierra Nevada’s popular Beer Camp is poised to go worldwide this year with a variety 12-pack: Beer Camp Across the World.
Sierra Nevada keeps upping the ante on this program and this looks like the logical next step. They have European collaborations in their history with their Oktoberfest beer so why not go international.
The “supergroup” beers heavily leaned on the geographic places that the breweries hailed from and they plan to do that again as Bill Manley from Sierra Nevada, explains “With the international folks, we asked them to think about something unique to them, what’s unique to their sense of place, so we’ll be able to, theoretically, taste two senses of place.”
The initial R&D test batches were brewed in November of last year and the whole packs will be on shelves in June of this year. Here are the beers that you will see (italicized are my picks for most excited to try) starting with the international side.…
Dunkel Weisse with Ayinger Brewery Hoppy Belgian-Style Golden Ale Brewed w/ Lemon Peels with Duvel
Atlantic Vintage Ale with Fuller’s Brewery
Campout Porter with Garage Project
White IPA w/ Yuzu with Kiuchi Brewery Thai-Style Iced Tea with Mikkeller
Now onto the American beers you will find in the box…. Dry-Hopped Barleywine Style Ale with Avery Brewing Co.
West Coast Style DIPA with Boneyard Beer
Dry-Hopped Berliner Weisse with Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Ginger Lager with Surly Brewing Co.
Raspberry Sundae with The Bruery
East Meets West IPA with Tree House Brewing Co.
I will be reviewing ALL 13 of the special Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaborations this month. And this is the 13th or 1st of the 2014 Beer Camp Across America beers. It is also Not in the Box / Not a Collaboration. Simply a 24oz bottle of West Coast Hop-itude.
The aroma is dank with a touch of cat pee (which I seem to be able to pick up where others don’t) and a bit of citrus peel. The bitterness is there for sure and it sticks around so it certainly is in range of the amorphous DIPA style guideline. The flavor is a mixture of woodsy, which is the dominant component and tropical fruit which is the back-up singer in this equation. This is a straightforward beer. No bells or whistles. Almost like a single-hop beer to a certain extent. Juicy tasting but with plenty of hops to satiate the hop thirsty crowds.
Of the now 5 beers that I have tasted, this would be closer to the bottom. Not because it is bad, just because the others one’s were more unique and complex.
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 next beer on the docket is from Bell’s Brewery, Maillard’s Odyssey.
I think I have a contender for favorite. The MO pours similar to the previous Double Latte. A very dark brown with an espresso head. But then it veers off as I get a crazy mix of flavors. Coffee. Chocolate. Fig. And even a bracing dose of hops.
And it is very zippy. Not viscous or syrupy at all. At the end I start getting a slight burnt char flavor that just stacks on top of the rest to form a really interesting brew. This beer and the New Glarus were the most anticipated in my mind because we don’t get them here in LA and this works great.
As threatened at the start of the month, I will be reviewing ALL 13 of the special Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaborations in August. I had my non-drinking wife randomly select the order and the second beer is from Allagash, Myron’s Walk.
“Myron’s Walk is a Belgian-style pale ale combining the best of our two breweries. It features intense citrusy flavor and a complex aroma from the use of fruity and resinous whole-cone Citra and Mosaic hops offset by the complex spicy character of Allagash’s house Belgian yeast strain. ”
I took one sniff and one sip and said, yup, that is Allagash all right. Put this beer into a line-up of their beers and it certainly would not stick out as a collaboration. That coriander and a faintly Indian spice profile is right up front. There is a lemonade quality lurking in the background that makes this a bit more complex and is probably the Sierra Nevada 1/2 of the equation but I wish it was a bit more prominent because the battle goes to the Belgian yeast here. And that is not necessarily a bad thing but when I think of collaborative beers, I hope for a beer that is redolent of neither brewery in total. While still having components of each. As the beer warms up, I start to detect a hint of tea tannin as well.
As we progress through the box o’ beers, I will start to rank them but as of now, the first two are pretty even. Both were very flavorful.
As threatened at the start of the month, I will be reviewing ALL 13 of the special Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaborations in August. I had my non-drinking wife randomly select the order and we start here with 3 Floyds and the Chico King.
“Chico King is a mash-up of our mutual passion for hoppy pale ales and combines a uniquely robust malt body with intense citrusy and fruity new school hop varietals.”
The King pours a dark but still luminous orange color with quite a bit of foam and lacing to it. The aroma is split between a toasty malt note and grapefruit pith with the toast coming out more and more as you smell it.
The taste is bright and carbonated. Lot of bubbles rising in the glass as you watch it. Bitterness sticks everywhere and, for me, primarily on the front of the tongue. I keep coming back to toast but this is almost like having good bread with a tart marmalade on it. The peel note isn’t there but this has that type of flavor mix going on. The beer tastes heavier than the 6.5% noted on the label.
I have not had a pale quite like this though I would guess you could call this an IPA without anyone batting an eye. Good start to my randomized journey through Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp.
What do Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste Cafe, Library Alehouse and Select Beer Store all have in common?
All three will be having Sierra Nevada Beer Camp tap take-overs! If you can’t find one of the variety boxes in stores, or you prefer tap to bottle (and cans) then check out the following three events….
Wednesday, July 16 at 6PM. Sierra Nevada Brew Camp Across America lands at Library Alehouse
Sierra Nevada got together with 12 of its brewery brothers from around America and made 12 unique collaborative beers.
In order to ensure maximum distribution and enjoyment of each of these beers, they will be available EXCLUSIVELY in the following FLIGHTS at $13 per flight, WITHOUT EXCEPTION on the night of the event.
Full pours of any beers left from the event will be available when the Alehouse opens on 7/17.
Thursday, 7/17 – Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s “Beer Camp Across America” is stopping in at Lucky Baldwins Trappiste, 6PM
Here’s one of your only chances at trying these Extremely RARE Sierra Nevada collaboration ales on draft before the big festival down in San Diego. They have joined forces with some of the elite brewers of the United States to make 12 different beers, collaborated with 12 different brewers such as: Ballast Point, Bell’s, Firestone Walker, Ninkasi, Cigar City and Russian River. And we’ve got all 12! Come find out which is your favorite. It’s one night only, and only while supplies lasts. Don’t miss out!
Friday, 7/18 – Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Total Tap Takeover at Select Beer
Oh and here are the beers in pack….
– Russian River Yvan the Great Belgian Blonde
– Oskar Blues CANfusion Rye Bock
– Bell’s Maillard’s Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale
– 3 Floyds Chico King Pale Ale
– Cigar City Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock
– Asheville Brewers Tater Ridge Scottish Ale
– Ballast Point Electric Ray IPL
– Victory Alt Route Altbier
– New Glarus There and Back English Bitter
– Ninkasi Double Latte Coffee Stout
– Firestone Torpedo Pilsner
– Allagash Myron’s Walk Belgian Pale