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.
Double Latte, a Coffee Milk Stout (Ninkasi Brewing Company)
Coffee stouts are a high risk–high reward game. Done well, the coffee flavors add depth to the stout's rich roasty flavors; done badly and they taste and smell like a glass full of green peppers. Double Latte gets it right and we're guessing that one of the keys to their success lies in cold pressing coffee to extract great roast character. The beer gains some additional sweetness from lactose, but it still finishes with a pleasing dryness. Overall, it's one of our favorites in the pack.