Remember the excitement and uncertainty of being shipped off to summer camp as a child? If you’re a craft beer lover you’ve got a chance to recapture those butterflies with Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America, and you might not even have to leave your couch.
For the last few years Sierra Nevada Brewery has been hosting Beer Camp every summer and inviting brewers, beer industry workers and even the occasional home brewer to the Chico, Calif., brewery for a weekend of tours and classes that culminates in a collaboration brew.
Afterward, you’ll usually find the Beer Camp brews on tap at scattered events, and each year the brewery has released a mixed 12-pack of Beer Camp brews.
This year, the monumental craft brewery invited 12 of the country's best brewers to collaborate on brews for the Beer Camp Across America, and there are a few ways that you can enjoy the spoils of what the brewery is calling “the largest craft beer celebration in history.”
The big party is a seven-city tour from Sierra Nevada’s home base in Chico to the brewery’s new home outside Asheville, N.C. The closest stop will be in San Diego this Sunday. The beer festival features 94 breweries serving nearly 200 beers and the usual assortment of music and food trucks. Featuring many breweries not usually available to beer drinkers in Southern California, the event is sure to be a highlight of the year’s beer festivals. Tickets to the festival are $65 and include unlimited samples.
If you can’t make it to San Diego, there are several events around Los Angeles this month at which the 12 collaboration beers, made by some of the best breweries in the country, will be on draft.
Library Ale House and Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste hosts the Beer Camp brews on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively; Redondo Beach’s Select Beer Store will tap the kegs on Friday; the Surly Goat in West Hollywood will pour them on July 23; and Timmy Nolan’s follows on the 24th. Beachwood's Long Beach outpost will feature the 12 brews on July 30, and the Glendale Tap rounds-out the month’s events on July 31.
There may be other bars around town hosting Beer Camp events, so check with your favorite local spot.
And if you can't make any of those events, you can pick up a collection of Sierra Nevada's 12 collaboration brews. All are offered in Beer Camp 12-packs that are already flying off the shelf in Los Angeles. The boxes are retailing for around $25 and include many styles from pilsners to imperial stouts. Early reviews are very positive, and it’s a great way to try beer from breweries rarely seen in SoCal.
Here are the beers that made the cut for the final 12: Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, Maine, Myron’s Walk Belgian-Style Pale Ale; Asheville Brewers Alliance, Asheville, N.C., Tater Ridge Scottish Ale; Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, Electric Ray India Pale Lager; Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, Mich., Maillard’s Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale; Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, Fla., Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock; Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, Calif., Torpedo Pilsner; New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, Wisc., There and Back English-Style Bitter; Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene, Ore., Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout; Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, Colo./Brevard, N.C., CANfusion Rye Bock; Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde; 3 Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, Ind., Chico King Pale Ale; Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, Pa., Alt Route Altbier.