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.
Maillard's Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale (Bell's Brewery)
Named in tribute to the famous Maillard reaction that causes browning in kilned malts (or grilled steaks), Maillard's Odyssey is billed as an Imperial Dark Ale. It struck us as a perfect American Stout. Big roast flavors reminiscent of coffee and chocolate are at the forefront along with molasses and a resiny, piny hop flavor. It has a dry bitter finish and was one of our favorites of the pack.