Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).
The big news for beer fans this week is the arrival of a very special, highly anticipated release: Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America 12-packs. Featuring one bottle (or can) each of collaborations between the California craft beer icon and 12 of the most renowned brewers in America, the Beer Camp 12-packs are only one part of a massive celebration of American beer.
Sierra is taking the Beer Camp on the road with a nationwide Beer Camp Across America tour, with seven stops in various regions of the country offering a day of live music, food, and dozens of different breweries sampling their wares at each stop (Note: if you’d like to try to make it by one of the Beer Camp stops, the last two are in Philadelphia Aug. 2 and in Mills River, N.C. — home to the new East Coast Sierra Nevada brewery — on Aug. 3).
In an April press release, Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman explained the rationale behind Beer Camp Across America: “We’re about to open a second brewery in North Carolina, and while that’s exciting for us, it’s an even greater reason to celebrate the future of craft brewers everywhere.”
It’s an impressive undertaking, and all with the aim of promoting and helping the beer industry overall: the same Sierra press release revealed that “a portion of proceeds from the festivals will go to brewers guilds or other nonprofits in the host state of each festival, while a portion of proceeds from the sales of the 12-pack will go to hop and barley research,” a worthwhile cause as the rapidly increasing number of commercial breweries puts a strain on both commodities.
The Beer Camp 12-packs have been popping up and selling out at retailers all over NoVA this week — we’ll only be receiving a handful at Arrowine, probably around the time this column runs, and we’re lucky to be getting even that — so what’s the fuss all about?
Put bluntly this is a 12-pack unlike any that has come before, featuring new collaboration recipes from Sierra along with a murderer’s row of the American craft brewing scene: Allagash, Asheville Brewer’s Alliance (represented here by John Stuart of Green Man and Luke Dickenson of Wicked Weed), Ballast Point, Bell’s, Cigar City, Firestone Walker, New Glarus, Ninkasi, Oskar Blues, Russian River, 3 Floyds, and Victory.
Unless I find some time to go on a shopping run myself this weekend, I won’t be sampling these for myself — as I said, Arrowine will only be getting a few Beer Camp 12-packs and I expect them to sell almost immediately. A lot of the chatter online this week seemed to be focused on the two canned beers in the pack — the Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock (Cigar City) and CANfusion Rye Bock (Oskar Blues).
The name of the 3 Floyds collaboration, Chico King, brings to mind all of the good things associated with Pale Ales from both breweries, and is one of the ones I’d be looking most forward to. The Firestone collaboration Torpedo Pilsner and Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout made with Ninkasi also sound great to me.
No greater lessons or big-picture issues this week; I just think this is a really cool thing for Sierra Nevada to have put together. If you’ve picked up a Beer Camp 12-pack this week, let’s hear about the beers you’ve tried here in the comments. Until next time!
Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
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