Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Is on the Window Sill!

If you’ve been following Beers on Window Sills on Instagram, you know we’ve been powering over the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across the World 12-pack over the last six weeks. Well, We’re all done! I have to say, I was overall very impressed by these collaborations. I learned a lot about a lot of new breweries, and every beer ranged from good to great, in my book.

Check out all of my reviews below. I can’t wait for next year’s Beer Camp release!

Sierra Nevada and Kiuchi Brewery: Beer Camp White IPA with Yuzu

Brewed in Collaboration with: Kiuchi Brewery – Naka-shi, Ibaraki, Japan (1823)

Type: Belgian IPA

ABV: 7.0%

IBU: 20

Yeast: Belgian Witbier

Bittering Hops: Centennial

Finishing Hops: Comet, Centennial, Citra, Eureka

Malts: Pilsner, Wheat, Unmalted Wheat

Other Ingredients: Yuzu, Coriander, Nutmeg

Beer Advocate Says: 85

If you don’t know much about Kiuchi Brewery, you should definitely try their stuff. Their Hitachino Nest White Ale is one of my favorite beers, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of what the Japanese brewery has put out there so far in my beer tasting career.

The interesting part about this collaboration is that, for the first time since starting the Beer Camp 12-packs in 2014, Sierra Nevada asked international breweries to join the party. There are six in all from other countries, which is pretty cool.

As a fan of Kiuchi, and Sierra Nevada, I was looking forward to this collaboration, and I wasn’t disappointed by the White IPA. Sierra Nevada used Kiuchi’s White Ale as a starting point for the collaboration, so you know I was already pumped up to try this thing from the get go. Centennial hops were used for bittering, and four different hops were added to finish the recipe. To add some tartness, a small Asian citrus fruit named Yuzu was added to the mix, and some coriander and nutmeg round out the flavor profile.

So far, so good for this 12-pack. This one was tasty and refreshing!

Sierra Nevada and Boneyard Beer: Beer Camp West Coast-Style DIPA

Brewed in Collaboration with: Boneyard Beer – Bend, Oregon (2010)

Type: American Double / Imperial IPA

ABV: 8.2%

IBU: 65

Yeast: Ale

Bittering Hops: Cascade

Finishing Hops: Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe, Centennial

Malts: Two-row Pale, Pilsner, Munich, Acidulated, Flaked Barley

Other Ingredients: Farm Distilled Hop Oil

Beer Advocate Says: 89

I’ve never tried anything from Boneyard Beer, so I was eager to see what they were all about, and why Sierra Nevada chose them for this collaboration. The brewery got its start in 2010, in an old auto shop in Bend, Oregon. They did so with no outside investors or loans, and with second-hand equipment collected from 13 different breweries. Despite that “boneyard” of gear, they hit the ground running, specializing in “hoppy, balanced beers.”

Well, if you’re a true hophead like the Boneyard and Sierra Nevada folks are, you’ll really dig the West Coast-Style DIPA. It’s intensely hoppy, featuring oodles of Mosaic, Simcoe, Centennial and Citra hops. It’s definitely crisp and citrusy too.

A winning collaboration!

Sierra Nevada and Duvel Moortgat: Beer Camp Dry-Hopped Belgian Golden

Brewed in Collaboration with: Duvel Moortgat – Puurs, Belgium (1871)

Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

ABV: 8.0%

IBU: 35

Yeast: Belgian Ale

Bittering Hops: Magnum

Finishing Hops: Saaz, Styrian Celeia, Cashmere, Calista, El Dorado

Malts: Pilsner, French Pilsner, Wheat

Other Ingredients: Lemon Peel

Beer Advocate Says: 88

Collaborations like these are the reason why these Beer Camp beers are awesome. I’m not even talking about flavor here, but rather the fact that Sierra Nevada, which was founded in 1980, got together to make a beer with a brewery more than 100 years its senior.

Jan-Léonard Moortgat founded what was then called the Moortgat brewery farm in 1871. In 1923, a while tasting Moortgat’s WWI-inspired “Victory Ale,” one local notable exclaimed that it was so good, that it was a real “Duvel (devil).” From that day forth, Moortgat became, more or less, known as Duvel, which is what adorns their bottles today.

The Dry-Hopped Belgian Golden combines the strain of yeast Duvel’s been using for almost 100 years with those delicious hop-forward Sierra Nevada proclivities. The result is a complex fruity and citrusy brew with a lemon peel pop that tops it off nicely. For me this was a solid Belgian Ale.

It didn’t blow me away, but not every beer needs to in order to be good.

Sierra Nevada and Fuller’s Brewery: Beer Camp Atlantic Style Vintage Ale

Brewed in Collaboration with: Fuller’s Brewery – London, United Kingdom (1845)

Type: English Strong Ale

ABV: 8.5%

IBU: 40

Yeast: Ale

Bittering Hops: Magnum

Finishing Hops: Centennial, Loral

Malts: Two-row Pale, Caramel

Other Ingredients: Plums

Beer Advocate Says: 86

Fuller’s Brewery was founded in 1845 by John Bird Fuller, Henry Smith and John Turner. Prior to that, it was named Griffin Brewery and had been owned by Fuller’s dad since 1816. If you think 201 years of family brewing is a lot, keep in mind that beer has been brewed in Fuller’s Chiswick, London site since the 17th century. They definitely know their stuff when it comes to classic English-style ales. It’s this knowledge and experience that has made Fuller’s a go-to brewing collab partner for Sierra Nevada over the years.

This collaboration is a Vintage Ale with that oh-so-good Sierra Nevada American-style hopping touch. The plums used in brewing work really well with Fuller’s naturally fruity yeast strain too, creating a subtle fruitiness that makes the hoppy, high-ABV brew go down pretty smoothly.

Another enjoyable Beer Camp experience!

Sierra Nevada and The Bruery: Beer Camp Raspberry Sundae Ale

Brewed in Collaboration with: The Bruery – Placentia, California (2008)

Type: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

ABV: 8.0%

IBU: 10

Yeast: Ale

Bittering Hops: Magnum

Finishing Hops: None

Malts: Two-row Pale, Wheat, Pilsner, Flaked Oats, Chocolate

Other Ingredients: Cocoa, Vanilla, Raspberry, Lactose

Beer Advocate Says: 81

If you’re like me, you’ve never had anything from The Bruery either. That’s one of the reasons I’ve really enjoyed this Beer Camp Across the World 12-pack.

The Bruery was founded in Orange County, CA in 2008 by Patrick Rue, whose last name inspired the name of the company. Like many craft breweries around the world, this one started as a homebrewing passion that simply would not be contained, and a desire to make good beer that could not be satisfied by a making just few batches in a small kitchen. Rue and his family and friends specialize in barrel-aged and experimental ales, which made them a solid collaboration partner for Sierra Nevada.

With the Raspberry Sundae, the two companies set out to replicate the flavors of–you guessed it–a raspberry sundae. In order to achieve this, they used tons of raspberries, but also cocoa and vanilla, as well as an un-fermentable sugar called lactose. The lactose makes the beer rich and sweet, giving it a little more body and mouthfeel, which I enjoyed. It’s a very complicated beer, but the raspberry flavor is its core. If you don’t like raspberry, you won’t like this. Lucky for me, I am a big fan, and so is my wife, Jeannie.

We liked this beer quite a bit.

Sierra Nevada and Garage Project: Beer Camp Campout Porter

Brewed in Collaboration with: Garage Project – Wellington, New Zealand (2011)

Type: American Porter

ABV: 7.7%

IBU: 32

Yeast: Ale

Bittering Hops: Southern Cross

Finishing Hops: Southern Cross, Pacifica

Malts: Two-row Pale, Manuka Smoked Malt, Chocolate, Midnight Wheat, Munich

Other Ingredients: Manuka Honey, Beachwood Honey, Tahitian Vanilla

Beer Advocate Says: 86

For those of you wondering why Garage Project is named Garage Project, look no further than their original base of operations. In 2011, they set up shop in a decrepit former gas station and car workshop that once belonged to Sybil Lupp–one of New Zealand’s first female racecar drivers. These days, owners Pete and Ian Gillespie and their friend Jos Ruffell make their beer in a much bigger facility, but they never forgot that spirit of adventure that allowed them to turn an old mechanic workshop into a very good brewery.

Sierra Nevada was drawn to the three Kiwis by their unique take on craft beer, and the Campout Porter was soon born. The good thing about this beer is its unique list of included ingredients. The malt is smoked over Manuka wood (a tree native to NZ), and Manuka honey is used for flavoring too. Did I mention the Tahitian vanilla beans? Although this wasn’t my favorite beer because of my general aversion towards porters, I could really taste the honey, vanilla and the smoked/roasted malts almost individually, which was pleasant.

If you like porters, I have a feeling this will be a pretty good one. I didn’t hate it.

Sierra Nevada and Tree House Brewing Company: Beer Camp East Meets West IPA

 

Brewed in Collaboration with: Tree House Brewing Company – Monson, Massachusetts (2012)

Type: American IPA

ABV: 7.0%

IBU: 40

Yeast: Ale

Bittering Hops: Simcoe

Finishing Hops: Citra, Mosaic

Malts: Two-row Pale, Caramel, Acidulated

Beer Advocate Says: 90

If you haven’t tried anything from Tree House Brewing, get your East Coast friends to mail you some. In just a few short years of existence–co-founders Nate Lanier, Damien Goudreau and Dean Rohan first got a license to sell beer in 2012–Tree House has become one of the most renown East Coast IPA brewers in the country. There’s a reason Julius is on every beer lover’s bucket list; these dudes know what they’re doing.

Don’t bother looking for their beers in any store, though. They don’t distribute outside of their own retail store. Why? Demand for their beer is so high, that they run out of beer every week just selling it to the people who pack the lines outside every day. Pretty impressive.

The East Meets west is another great collaboration for Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp. Two breweries that love hops this much had to make a delicious beer, right? This beer is juicy and hoppy, but not really very bitter. Drinkable hops, as Tree House says.

Tremendous.

Sierra Nevada and Saint Arnold Brewing Company: Beer Camp Dry-Hopped Berliner-Style Weisse

Brewed in Collaboration with: Saint Arnold Brewing Company – Houston, Texas (1994)

Type: Berliner Weissbier

ABV: 4.2%

IBU: 10

Yeast: Hefeweizen

Bittering Hops: Saaz

Finishing Hops: Saaz, Amarillo

Malts: Two-row Pale, Wheat, Munich

Beer Advocate Says: 87

Saint Arnold Brew Co is based in Houston, Texas, and is named after the patron saint of beer and brewers. Established in 1994, they’re known just as much for their traditional German-style brews as they are for their innovative American beers.

Prior to today’s featured Beer Camp brew, everything I’d had from this Beer Camp Across the World 12-pack was pretty hefty in alcohol content. I was pleased to see that the Dry-Hopped Berliner-Style Weisse was much more session-able than the rest. I was also pleased as punch with the taste. The tartness of the base brew combined perfectly with the dry-hopping (with Saaz and Amarillo hops) to make a wonderfully tart, citrusy and fruity beer I really enjoyed. I wasn’t expecting too much from this beer, but it was super refreshing and tasty.

So far, this one has been the most pleasant surprise of this pack.

Sierra Nevada and Mikkeller Brewery: Beer Camp Thai-Style Iced Tea Ale

Brewed in Collaboration with: Mikkeller Brewery – Copenhagen, Denmark (2006)

Type: Herbed / Spiced Beer

ABV: 7.2%

IBU: 12

Yeast: Ale

Bittering Hops: Magnum

Finishing Hops: Mandarina Bavaria, Tettnanger

Malts: Pilsner, Wheat, Puffed Red Rice, Oats, Acidulated

Other Ingredients: Lactose, Sweet Orange Peel, Star Anise, Tamarind, Ceylon Black Tea

Beer Advocate Says: 81

If Sierra Nevada was looking for a good partner with which to push the boundaries of experimental beer making, they could not have chosen more wisely than Mikkeller. The former gypsy brewery based in Copenhagen–they now have a brick and mortar facility in San Diego and another within Citi Field in Queens–is constantly putting out damn near wacky brews that still manage to be pretty delicious. If you’re looking for out-of-the-box tastes, something from Mikkeller should be your next purchase.

The Thai-Style Iced Tea Ale was brewed as an homage to some of Mikkeller’s newest world-class beer bars, which are located in Asia. They decided to pay tribute to a classic Thai Iced Tea by brewing this spiced amber ale with black tea, sweet orange peel, tamarind and star anise. Those flavors combine to create a pretty unique brew, but it’s the added lactose that gives this one the creamy mouthfeel I found myself digging quite a bit.

The only thing that was missing from this beer was the typical cartoonish can art that Mikkeller is also famous for. As my fellow beer connoisseur Keith (aka @beer_shark on Instagram) told me, it’s all created by artist Keith Shore (aka @keithashore on Instagram). Check both Keiths’ sites for cool photos!

I enjoyed this collaboration very much, but what else is new with these Beer Camp beers?

Sierra Nevada and Avery Brewing Co.: Beer Camp Dry-Hopped Barleywine-Style Ale


Brewed in Collaboration with: Avery Brewing Co. – Boulder, Colorado (1993)

Type: American Barleywine

ABV: 9.4%

IBU: 90

Yeast: Ale

Bittering Hops: Zeus, Chinook

Finishing Hops: Zeus, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial

Malts: Two-row Pale, Caramel

Beer Advocate Says: 87

Unlike with many of the breweries in the Beer Camp 12-pack, I’ve actually had something from Colorado’s Avery Brewing Co. on the sill before. And, just like the Maharajah IPA, today’s Beer Camp entry packs a mighty wallop.

The interesting part about this collaboration is that the two breweries did not come together to make a new recipe. Here’s the backstory. Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine inspired Avery’s founder (Adam Avery) to take a swing at the style, and the Avery classic Hog Heaven was born. What Sierra Nevada and Avery did was mix these two brews in equal parts, and then bottle condition the mix for fine tuning. When I first tried it,

I thought it was far too bitter. However, after it warmed up a bit, some of the hoppy and malty sweetness started coming through. It’s heavy in both ABV and IBU, so you’re in for a hefty drink, but it’s definitely a tasty treat that’s worth the calories. If you get your hands on two of these, Sierra Nevada suggests drinking one fresh, and aging the other. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that luxury.

I might need a nap after this one, but I liked it!

Sierra Nevada and Surly Brewing Co.: Beer Camp Ginger Lager


Brewed in Collaboration with: Surly Brewing Co. – Minneapolis, MN (2005)

Type: Herbed / Spiced Beer

ABV: 6.2%

IBU: 20

Yeast: Lager

Bittering Hops: Sterling

Finishing Hops: Sterling

Malts: Two-row Pale, Honey, Acidulated

Other Ingredients: Ginger, Cayenne, Oak Honeycombs

Beer Advocate Says: 83

There are so many cool stories about Surly Brewing Co., that I didn’t know where to start. First of all, founder Omar Ansari convinced his parents to convert their factory into a brewery in 2004. In 2005, they made their first batch and in 2006, they sold their first keg. In 2007, just one year into selling beers, they were named best brewery in America by Beer Advocate Magazine. Pretty good so far, right?

It gets better. Ever heard of Minnesota’s “Surly Law?” Prior to 2011, terrible MN a law made it illegal for production breweries to sell pints of beer at their breweries, which meant no tap room for Surly. In just a few short months, Surly got the state to change that law.

Need more? Here’s their official philosophy: “Make great beer. Have fun. Give a Damn about your community. Don’t be a dick.” Now, let’s get to the Ginger Lager. Surly prides itself in the abrasiveness of its beers. If fans were afraid teaming with Sierra Nevada would quell that aggression, don’t worry. Hot Ginger and Cayenne pepper will be in your face the whole time you drink this crisp lager. It’s also fermented on oak honeycombs and hops. Who even thinks to combine all those things? Sierra Nevada and Surly Brewing Co., that’s who.

Don’t be a dick. Go try this beer. Unless you hate ginger!

Sierra Nevada and Ayinger Brewery: Beer Camp Dunkle Weisse


Brewed in Collaboration with: Ayinger Brewery – Bavaria, Germany (1877)

Type: Dunkleweizen

ABV: 5.7%

IBU: 10

Yeast: Hefeweizen

Bittering Hops: Tradition

Finishing Hops: Tradition

Malts: Two-row Pale, Wheat, Acidulated, Carafa III

Beer Advocate Says: 88

Welp. We’re here. The final Beer Camp Across the World 12-pack review. While I didn’t necessarily leave the best for last (that prize goes to the Tree House Collab in my opinion), I did leave a classic to wrap up this whirlwind tour.

Ayinger is one of the giants of German brewing. The family-owned company was founded in 1877, and has been winning awards for its brews ever since. While 130 years is impressive, the Ayinger Gasthause Brewery Hotel is actually housed in one of Bavaria’s most famous restaurants, which has been in operation for 500 years. All that history, tradition and experience should tell you one thing: If Sierra Nevada wanted to make a great German beer, they chose the right collaboration partners in Ayinger.

Here’s the funny part about this beer. Part of the reason I saved it for last was precisely because it’s just a simple Dunkle Weisse–essentially, a dark wheat beer. I’ve been a bit of an IPA snob of late, so I wasn’t looking forward to it. I dare say, that I almost didn’t want to like it. Then I opened it up and took a sip. The Sierra Nevada spin is definitely palpable, but this was mostly just a good, traditional Bavarian-style German beer. Got some hints of caramel, but nothing fancy. Just rich and solid. Went down smooth and clean.

In a world where IPAs are the “It” beer right now, sometimes it’s good to come back to a classic.

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