As anyone who's been following beer news surely knows about the long waited for Sierra Nevada Beer Camp variety pack. Well for me I finally got a hold of a case and have tried them and going to do a simple breakdown of each one and what I thought.
Beer #1 : Chico King Pale Ale - Brewed in Collaboration with 3 Floyds Brewing Co. - 6.5% abv - 45 IBU
When pouring this beer fresh from the fridge, it pours a smooth golden color with a medium to full head that holds about half way through the beer. Smell comes off with notes of citrus and floral notes. When trying the beer cold fresh from the fridge, very hoppy and bitter, a little too much for my palate but as it warms, a lot of the sweetness and flavors of the hops really start to shine through. Its a good beer not great, just make sure you let it warm up a little bit.
Beer #2: Alt Route Altbier - Brewed in Collaboration with Victory Brewing Company - 6.6% abv - 50 IBU
Nice malt and hop aroma when poured, pours dark amber/brown color. Thin head that goes away relatively quick. Taste reminds me of the Chico at first pour, but as the trend continues, when it warms up a lot of the sweetness really shines through. The malt characteristics and the smoothness really comes through. It's enjoyable and easy drinking.
Beer #3: There and Back English Style Bitter - Brewed in Collaboration with New Glarus Brewing Co. - 5.6% abv - 40 IBU
Malt, nuttiness aroma on first pour, with a golden/amber color and a medium head. At first tasting comes the bitterness expected with an ESB. A strong bitter bite that comes quick but dies off soon. While a good beer, unfortunately nothing to remember on this one. If you're able to, get your hands on a Green Man Brewing ESB.
Beer #4: Tater Ridge Scottish Ale Brewed with Sweet Potatoes - Brewed in Collaboration with Asheville Brewers Alliance - 7.0% abv - 35 IBU
Extremely nice aroma, very sweet and malty smelling with a sweetness I am assuming is the potatoes. Has a pretty full head when poured that stays until the beer starts to warm. Taste is a very smooth creamy-ness with very little bitterness which I enjoyed quite a bit. Flavor holds through the entire beer and makes it pretty enjoyable. One of my favorites in this pack.
Beer #5: Maillard's Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale - Brewed in Collaboration with Bell's Brewery - 8.5% abv - 40 IBU
With appearance beer pours dark black/brown with hints of red in the light, medium head. Has a smell similar to an Imperial Russian Stout with notes of roasted coffee and chocolate, very enjoyable. When finally tasting it, all the flavors of the aroma come through with the coffee, hints of chocolate and dark roasts taste. Has a slight bitterness at the end, not sure if because of the high abv or not, but overall extremely satisfied.
Beer #6: Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout Ale with Coffee & Lactose Added - Brewed in Collaboration with Ninkasi Brewing Company - .6% abv - 60 IBU
Great smell on this, amazing coffee notes with a smooth creamy finish. Pours a solid black/dark brown with a medium to thin head that dissipates quickly. Onto the taste, WOW oh WOW this is great. I know I am partial to coffee/milk stouts but this is great. First quick notes of coffee with a dark roasted flavor. Slight bitterness at first but dies off extremely quick, especially as the drink warms up it gets extremely smooth. Love this one.
Beer #7: Yvan the Great Belgian Style Blonde - Brewed in Collaboration with Russian River Brewing Co. - 6.3% abv - 50 IBU
Pours a golden yellow color, very clear and clean looking with a pretty thin head that lingers for a short time. Aroma comes across with a slight citrus/spice smell that I found quite good. With the taste, this one surprised me. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but it was very easy to drink and enjoyed it from start to finish. You definitely get the Belgian yeasts with a slight tartness and sweet notes. Would definitely recommend this one.
Beer #8: Torpedo Pilsner - Brewed in Collaboration with Firestone Walker - 5.2% abv - 45 IBU
Poured with a golden yellow color, very bright with a medium sized head. The aromas I got seemed to be more floral and sweet with a very hop-forward smell. When first tasting, I definitely got a lot of the floral hop characteristics with some fruit sweetness that came through as the beer warmed. While it wasn't bad, I didn't enjoy it too much, but that is most likely due to me not being a huge "hop-head" and this seems to be focused more on fans of that.
Beer #9: Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock - Brewed in Collaboration with Cigar City Brewing Co. - 7.7% abv - 45 IBU
Poured a nice light brown almost amber like with a medium head that seemed to dissipate pretty quickly on this one. Aromas come across with some light hop notes with some citrus/fruit characteristics, almost like a lemon or pineapple zest that blends the hop notes and malts nicely. The taste surprised be on this one as well. It seemed very balanced with a nice touch of the hops, the fruit/citrus notes and the malty characteristics. Overall its a pretty well done, well rounded beer that I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did as i'm usually not a huge fan of the style
Beer #10: CANfusion Rye Bock Brewed in Collaboration with Oskar Blues - 7.2% abv - 45 IBU
Was really looking forward to this one as i'm a huge fan of Oskar Blues and i'm glad this one came out nicely. It pours a clean amber/copper color with an aroma of malty, sweet characteristics. Almost a little bready-ness comes through on this one which is something I tend to enjoy. When tasting you definitely continue to get what comes through with the smell, with the malty, hop notes. The hop characteristics are more downplayed on this one which lets the bready, roasted malts come through more with a touch of hop and bitterness that blends nicely.
Beer #11: Myron’s Walk Belgian Pale Ale Brewed in Collaboration with Allagash Brewing Co. - 5.3% abv - 38 IBU
Poured with a medium golden color and a slight haze to it, medium head that doesn't seem to linger to long. Aroma on this one seems to really show off the Belgian yeast characteristics with a strong spice and hop smell. On first taste you seem to get more of the hop, grassy notes with a finish of the spices and Belgian yeasts. As it warms this definitely got more enjoyable as the hop bitterness dies off and a lot of the spice and sweetness seemed to shine through. This seems like a pretty session able beer and as I have seen some explain it as a, "higher grade Blue Moon without the orange", I actually tend to agree with that statement.
Beer #12: Electric Ray India Pale Lager Brewed in Collaboration with Ballast Point Brewing Co. - 8.5% abv - 70 IBU
The twelfth and final beer on my camping trip. On first pour you'll get a clear golden yellow color almost orange with a thin to medium head. The nose on this one came across as very citrusy, fruity, earthy combination that seems to all come at once, its unique but comes together nicely. With the taste is when it falls off a little for me. The hops are very forward on this one as that seems to be the main attraction. Very earthy when freshly poured from the fridge, but as it mellows you really start to get those fruity notes similar to the maibock mention earlier. For the 8.5% abv you don't get too much of an alcohol burn or palate fatigue as i'd expect. While this beer isn't in my style wheel house, it is quite enjoyable
This Beer Camp 2014 pack surprised me in numerous ways. Not in just the differences in styles but the overall consistency. While i'm not a huge hop fan, even the hoppier beers I tended to enjoy. Some people may thing that 20-25$ is too much for a 12 pack but really it comes down to 2$ a beer or so, and for the quality you're getting with these 12, it's a no brainer in my opinion. Of course not all the beers are perfect, some just seemed to miss the mark while some were leaps and bounds ahead of others, especially the, Double Latte, Tater Ridge, Maillard's Odyssey, CANfusion and Myron's Walk stood out for me. Of course almost all were great and really worth the cost. Also this is of course my own personal opinion which I know will differ from person to person greatly, but if you haven't yet, and if you can still find it, GRAB THIS PACK. Alone it is worth it to just experience a wide range of styles and flavors that will be hard to beat for the price and convenience in one pack.
I hope you enjoyed this article and maybe gave you a little information you didn't have from the already hundreds and hundreds of other Beer Camp reviews.