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.
Tater Ridge, a Scotch Ale (Asheville Brewers Alliance)
Sierra's new brewery is just outside of Asheville, North Carolina so it should come as no surprise that their beer brewed in conjuction with the Asheville Brewers Alliance would capitalize on a local ingredient. Tater Ridge utilizes local sweet potatoes in a Scotch Ale. We weren't able to detect any flavors that the sweet potatoes contributed, but the base beer was everything we'd expect in a Scotch Ale - big malt flavors and aromas with some caramelized and burnt sugar character and a hint of plum.