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.
There And Back Bitter (New Glarus Brewing)
We're convinced that bitter would be one of the most popular beer styles in the world if it weren't so unfortunately named. They're really English Pale Ales and they're less bitter and less hoppy than their more boisterous American cousins. The There and Back Bitter, brewed in Collaboration with New Glarus Brewing places the spotlight on a bready, biscuity malt flavor. The hops in the beer provide a balancing bitterness and a woody, floral note, but they remain in the background. If this beer were available in its own 12 pack we'd go to the store and back a few dozen times for what is the most thirst-quenching beer in this pack.