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First Impressions of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America

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I have been amazed at how much conversation has been created by the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America 12-pack of collaboration beers.  The crazy thing is how the comments are all over the board.  There are a lot of people that truly enjoyed this group of beers.  There were really a lot of people that were disappointed in this collection of beers.  I’m not sure what their expectations were for this special collection of beers.  I’m assuming that their expectations weren’t met, considering the big name breweries that were involved in this project.  I think to most, it was like opening that big gift at Christmas, hoping for that one gift you asked for over and over, and instead, getting a big old ugly winter coat.

Then there were the folks that complained about the price.  Here in Ohio, we were finding it in the vicinity of $24.99.  I felt that was pretty reasonable for a 12-pack of beer that had the promotion and hype that this beer did over the last year.

Folks also complained about availability.  Again, I had no problem finding it in grocery stores near my home.  There were plenty of people that had a hard time finding it, and if they did, it was in short supply.  I’m not sure how it was distributed throughout the U.S., but it obviously easier to find in some areas than in others.

A few of our bloggers weighed in with their opinions of these collaboration brews.  Here are their opinions.  We would love to hear from you about your opinion of these beers and the overall success or failure of this project.  Scroll down to check out these articles and then respond back to us!!  We would love to hear what you have to say!!

Cheers, Bill Rhoades
Editor, Arlo’s Craft Beer Guide

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By George Horning

I’d been reading about these beers for a while before they were available, and I was pretty excited to try them out. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company worked with 12 other breweries across the country, to collaborate on 12 different beers. A pretty fun idea, I thought. They worked with some of my favorite breweries: Russian River (of course, I’m from Santa Rosa), Ballast Point, and Firestone. They also worked with some breweries whose beer I hadn’t experienced yet: 3 Floyds, New Glarus, and Cigar City. They made some great beers a few other
breweries that pleasantly surprised me. Here’s my take on the first couple that I tried.

Beer Camp, Sierra Nevada

Of course, the first one I had to try was Yvan the Great, brewed in collaboration with Russian River. This is a Belgian Style Blonde, and was an instant hit with me. It was hoppy, but not too hoppy, and very dry, which I appreciated on the sunny afternoon when I was drinking this on the deck in the back yard. It wasn’t the kind of day for something sweet and filling. I would have to say drinking this type of beer isn’t for everyone. It is unique in taste and mouthfeel, and the dryness of it could be surprising (as my girlfriend made plainly obvious with the face she made when I gave her a taste). I really enjoyed it, and enjoyed that it was different than my everyday stuff. This was a great first impression and a great indication of the unique surprises that awaited my Beer Camp adventure. Since I was in a “light and refreshing” kind of mood, I next opted for the Torpedo Pilsner, brewed with Firestone Walker. Firestone has recently become one of my favorite breweries to visit. I drive past their place in Buellton a couple of times a month, and I make an effort to stop by when I have the time (who am I kidding, I can always make time for beer!). I really enjoyed what Firestone did here, substituting the classic German noble hops, typically found in Pilsners, with some southern hemisphere hops, which are much more vibrant and fruity. This beer was noticeably lighter in alcohol, at 5.2% (Yvan the Great was 6.2%), and carried a more noticeable fresh fruit smell up front, which I really enjoyed. This one went down quick and easy, and at that point I decided it was time to call it a day, since it was a weekday afternoon, and I did have to get up for work the next day at 5:45AM.

Beer Camp, Sierra Nevada

I’ll fill you guys in on a few of my other favorites next time around. Until then, if you can find a 12 pack of these guys, definitely pick it up. It wasn’t cheap ($25.99 at Whole Foods), or easy to find (I had to ask if there was anything “interesting” in the back that wasn’t on the shelves), but it was definitely worth both the money and the effort.

Cheers and enjoy!!
George Horning

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By Kevin Bastian

This article first appeared on Pour Man

I hadn’t been to a camp of any kind since I was a kid, so when the opportunity to spend a night at a beer-themed camp arose, naturally I jumped at the chance. Instead of bunk beds, lame counselors, relay races and craft-making classes, this camp had a lone kitchen table, a couple good friends, a bag of pretzels and 12 chilled beers awaiting our bellies.

For those unfamiliar with Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp, the Chico, California-based brewery, a pioneer in the craft industry, collaborated on separate beers with a dozen of the country’s best breweries. The result was a highly sought-after, one-time-only 12-pack containing one of each of these beers.

Beer Camp, Sierra Nevada

Beer Camp’s styles ranged from traditional lagers and pales ales to bocks and a milk stout. With IPAs being such a popular style these days, it was surprising but refreshing to not see it included. Beer Camp forced me to try styles I never even think about ordering at the bar or picking up at the bottle shop; now I might think twice before passing up the pilsners and ESBs next time I’m thumbing through a beer menu.

Beer Camp Across America

With two fellow campers alongside me, we “braved” through the challenge of drinking the entire 12-pack in one sitting, taking notes and marking down our tasting grades along the way. There were definitely some surprises as far as some beers/breweries not meeting or exceeding our expectations, but for the most part, the Beer Camp box was an enjoyable experience. Keep in mind that none of us are BJCP-certified, but we drink enough beer to know what we like and don’t like. And what’s a camp without a followup report for all of the campers’ parents to read?

Beer Camp Across America

It was neck and neck between Ninkasi and New Glarus, but the coffee milk stout had us all giddy, jumping around our cabin, pillow fighting and pulling pranks on the unsuspecting house pets.

I wish there was a Beer Camp every summer.

Beer Camp, Sierra Nevada

Beer Camp Report Card

Beer Camp Across America – Sierra Nevada

The Official Trailer

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