When Ken Grossman was welding together Sierra Nevada's first brewhouse out of old dairy equipment and loading a pickup truck full of grain in 1979 it would have been hard for him to imagine that in 34 years he'd be running the second largest American-owned brewery (only Boston Beer Company is bigger). The brand is still expanding, adding a second brewery in Mills River, North Carolina this year. To celebrate Sierra Nevada's success, Grossman planned the biggest craft beer festival in history and called up twelve of the most highly respected brewers in the nation to collaborate on the limited release 12 pack Beer Camp Across America.
Each collaborator worked with Sierra Nevada to brew one beer in the case and the ten bottles and two cans represent a wide range of styles and flavors from Hoppy pilsners to Coffee stouts. Quality is high across the board although we did find that we liked some better than others. Here's our beer-by-beer breakdown.
Chico King, a Pale Ale (Three Floyds Brewing Company)
The beers of Three Floyds Brewing Company aren't available in our hometown (New York City) so we were excited to get the chance to taste something from this legendary brewery. The fact that they were collaborating with Sierra Nevada on a Pale Ale named after Sierra Nevada's hometown only got us more excited. Unfortunately, Chico King is a bit underwhelming. The beer is bready and malt forward without the hops we were looking forward to most in this 12 pack. It's well-brewed and drinkable (and will be just-right for some palates), but it's not the revelation we were hoping for.