During our time on the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America — from California to Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Pennsylvania and, finally, North Carolina — we tasted beers, talked to locals, and tried to get a sense of the state of craft beer across the country. We learned a lot on our trip: That hot air balloon rides can cure hangovers, Pliny for breakfast will rob you of your ambitions, and that you can, indeed, brew beer on the back of a moving bus.
RELATED: Checking in From Every Stop of Beer Camp
More importantly, we found that there were dozens of great beers that you can only get by being a local — whether in Asheville, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Portland, Maine, or San Diego. From walking the grounds of the regional festivals and tasting some 30 beers at each of the seven Beer Camp festivals (this wasn't entirely fun; not all the beers were good), we found 70 beers that, if you live more than a few hundred miles away from the brewery, you probably haven't had the chance to try. We suggest you follow our example and make a road trip out of it. A beer tour across the country doesn't sound like too bad an idea now, does it?
Lost Weekend IPA
The Brewery: Bluejacket is Washington D.C.'s latest brewpub that, despite the lack of distribution, is one impressive brewery, having brewed 80 different beers since October 2013. Sour beers, unfiltered lagers, hop-forward IPAs — this place brews it all, and with much success.
The Beer: Lost Weekend IPA
Tasting Notes: While we were told this beer is no longer being brewed here (this is the problem with a heavily rotating tap), the Lost Weekend IPA, an aggressive west coast IPA is the kind of beer that balances the portfolio of a brewery that made one of our favorite Wee Heavy Scottish Ales (a booze-y beer with notes of fig and raisin that is also no longer available) and still makes a sour we love (the Rheinard de Vos, a balanced, lacto-fermented red ale that's still on tap). Lost Weekend has bold citrus notes, tons of bitterness, and a pleasant grassy tone that we enjoyed while we could. It's a beer that just proves Bluejacket is worth visiting — if only to see what they'll come up with next.