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"Beer Camp" Weekend

  • Aaron F.
    Typically I just drink IPA’s, but have recently started trying other things. The local beer forums have been buzzing about “Beer Camp,” a 12 pack collaboration with 12 top notch breweries. These breweries include Ninkasi, Firestone Walker, New Glarus, Ballast Point, 3 Floyd’s, Bells, Allagash, Russian River, Asheville Brewers Alliance, and Russian River in 12 oz bottles. With breweries like this participating, I had to try it out. I had seen the price for this 12 pack differ by location, but I found it here in Buffalo for $25. A bit steep, but these are one shot brews, so I made an exception.

As I stated before, I typically only go for West Coast IPAs and Double IPAs. This 12 pack had some stuff in it that I would never normally try. I decided to go into it with a completely open mind. The first beer I had tried from the pack was the Sierra Nevada/Cigar City Brewery collaboration, “Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock.” This was actually in a can. I had tried a few beers from Cigar City earlier in the summer and was pretty impressed. A friend of my wife had brought us some from Florida. It was their year round releases: “Invasion Pale Ale” and “Florida Cracker White Ale.” Both of them were very good. I chose to pour this into a glass.  Some would argue that it’s meant to be consumed out of the can, but I hate doing that. The beer poured nicely and smelled great. I have found that Cigar City’s beers have a “flavor” that sticks with each brew they make. It’s not a bad flavor, it’s actually really good. The color on this beer was as vivid as it’s taste. I surprisingly loved this beer. As I write this, I am about 5 beers into the 12 pack (not all at once), and this remains my favorite. Bravo, Cigar City. You have impressed me.

Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock 

The next beer of choice was from the Sierra Nevada/Firestone Walker collaboration called “Torpedo Pilsner,” which was touted as a “Hoppy Pilsner.” I had high hopes for this one, as Firestone Walker is one of my favorite breweries. However, this was not a “hoppy pilsner.”  It wasn’t a bad beer, but it was nothing I’d bring up in a conversation. When I think of a “hoppy pilsner,” I think of Victory’s “Prima Pils” which is an excellent pilsner. This beer was light and refreshing, but lackluster and forgettable.

Torpedo Pilsner

Up next, Sierra Nevada and Russian River have created a Belgian style brew called “Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde.” I actually loved this beer as well. I don’t particularly like Belgian-style beers, but maybe it was the weather?  Whatever the reason, I found this beer to be tasty and refreshing.  It held its flavor as it warmed up, too. A surprisingly good beer.

Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde

I tried to drink these strategically, so the next beer I had was a collaboration from Sierra Nevada and Allagash Brewing known as “Myron’s Walk,” a Belgian Pale Ale. This beer was just “good.” It was nothing special, yet it served as another Belgian-style beer that won me over. Not something I would seek out, but was a tasty, refreshing one-timer.

Myron’s Walk – Belgian Pale Ale

The next selection was one I was excited to try. The Sierra Nevada and Ballast Point creation a”Electric Ray,” labeled as an India Pale Lager. This tasted more like a double IPA to me, but I loved it. It was a bold beer, with a good balance of malt and hops. There were really no lager-like characteristics, so that aspect of it failed in my opinion, but the beer delivered some really good flavor that only got more intense as it warmed up.

The next beer that I tried from Beer Camp was the Sierra Nevada/Oskar Blues collaboration “CANfusion” Rye Bock. I’m not all that familiar with bocks, but this beer was solid as well. One of the higher ABV’s in this pack, at 7.2, this beer packed a nice blend of rye, caramel and hops. This is one I would like to try again.

CANfusion – Rye Bock

The final beer for this post (I haven’t finished the 12 pack yet), is the “Chico King” Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada and 3 Floyd’s Brewing. This isn’t like many pale ales I have had before, this one was beefier. For a pale ale, I found this to be powerfully malty and equally as hoppy. Another beer from this box of gems that I would like to have another of.

Chico King – Pale Ale

I should have the rest of these up in a few days. So far Beer Camp is a fun trip and makes for an engaging, at home, beer drinking experience. Although I’d say 90% of these beers are about average, they are good enough to enjoy this way.