Saturday, July 26, 2014

Beer Geek at Beer Camp

After getting the lowdown from my Instagram friend that my local Total Wine should be getting Sierra Nevada Beer Camp cases, I called and they said "Yes, should be on the floor by 5pm today". Heeeeyyyyyy... So once I wrapped up my day job, of juggling multiple projects across the state - I made a beeline to Total Wine, and snatched up one of five cases left. It was a happy moment! When else can you get a case of beer from your "gateway to craft beer" brewery, collaborating with 12 different nationwide breweries, with 12 different styles of beer? Pure genius!

Picture this: they're chilling in my beer fridge, and right around the time I'm ready to crack one open - I get a sudden sore throat (courtesy of my daughter), and was forced to wait a few days to start my Beer Camp journey. Sometimes, life just isn't fair. My old Polish Auntie used to always say: "If you have your health, you have everything". So true..

Once I had my health back, I started my Sierra Nevada Beer Camp journey. I will rank them in order of my favorite, to least favorite:

1 - Yvan the Great Belgian Style Blonde - Collaboration with Russian River Brewing (CA)

Yeah, I know - I'm a stout girl. What's this Belgian doing at the top of my list? Well, it was amazing - that's why. The dry, yeasty foundation, along with subtle citrus traces and mild hops was just beautiful. It was bready and robust. It was also my first ever Russian River brew (with the exception of  a few sips of Pliny the Elder at a Miami Sud Swap). I could drink this Belgian masterpiece every day.

2- Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout Ale - Collaboration with Ninkasi Brewing (OR)

Bitter, creamy, and savory sips of coffee throughout the bottle. The aroma had traces of hops, chocolate, and coffee - which worked extremely well together. Very, very impressed.

3 - 
Tater Ridge Scottish Ale, Collaboration with Asheville's Brewers Alliance (NC)

This is brewed with sweet potatoes. I couldn't really taste the sweet potatoes, but did enjoy the earthy, robust and perfectly hopped character. I bet this would be really good on tap. I've been watching Brew Dogs, and saw a recent episode when they went to Asheville. Well, Asheville has officially made it to my "Beer Travel List". The quality of this one was impeccable. The color was an outrageous auburn hue.

Chipoltle Steak Bowl paired great...

4 - Yonder Bock - Tropical Maibock - Collaboration with Cigar City Brewing (FL)

Yay! A local collaboration. I was slightly hesitant reading about the flavors of mango, guava and passion fruit since although I've lived in Florida 20 years, I'm not a big fruity beer gal. Well, this one was a pleasant wild card of the pack! I didn't pick up much fruit, however I did pick up big malts and caramel, and a fulfilling heaviness. The ABV is pretty heavy too: 7.7%. Don't sleep on this one - it's a gem!

5 - Alt Route Altbier - Collaboration with Victory Brewing (PA)

Altbier is a unique old German brewing style, with top fermentation instead of common bottom fermentation. It's fruity like an ale, but drinks like a lager. I had a heavy taste, but light mouth feel. I loved this random style. The label makes mention of refusing to take the easy path. I can't appreciate that, and I appreciated this delicious brew!

6 - Maillard's Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale - Collaboration with Bell's Brewery (MI)

Imagine roasted everything, I mean everything. This one reminded me a lot of Founder's Porter, but more carbonated, and much more crispier.

Fish tacos + Chico King Pale Ale = Deliciousness

7 - Chico King Pale Ale - Collaboration with 3 Floyds Brewing (IN)

I paired this Pale Ale with fish tacos, and it was so good! It had a beautiful bronze color, notes of pine, big malt, and gentle hop flavor. Most pale ales are super hopped - which I do enjoy, but the change of pace in having a more malty based pale ale, was very welcome!

8 - Electric Ray India Pale Lager - Collaboration with Ballast Point (CA)

Hoppy and fresh, with nutty and caramel notes. Great beer, and I would enjoy more of this one.

9 - CANfusion Rye Bock - Collaboration with Oskar Blues Brewery (CO)

I'm always a little scared of rye beers, but I barely picked up any with this. It was very smooth for the high ABV (7.2%), hints of caramel, and a little citrus. Solid brew, and cans make it more fun!

10 - There and Back English Style Bitter - Collaboration with New Glarus Brewing (WI)

This classic style English Bitter is complex, yet easy to drink. I picked up balanced notes of melon, hops and malt. It has inspired me to seek out other English Style Bitter beers.

11 - Torpedo Pilsner - Collaboration with Firestone Walker (CA)

Pilsner's are not my thing. They just aren't. I appreciate the crisp refreshment of this brew, and high quality, along with floral undertones and hop overtones, but I passed it on to someone else to finish. I guess I just can't do Pilsners.

12 - Allagash Myron's Walk Belgian Pale Ale - Collaboration with Allagash Brewing (ME)

Too lemony, too much citrus, too much dough flavor for me. Like all of the Beer Camp brews, the quality is present, but I did not enjoy the flavor profile of this one. I am a big Belgian fan, but not of this collaboration.

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