If you’re the type that keeps an eye out for new beers, it has probably been difficult not to notice the $25 12-pack of Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America that has likely popped up in your local liquor or grocery stores.
Timed to coincide with Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp — a beer festival tour popping up in U.S. cities now through the first week of August — the 12-pack features 12 collaboration beers brewed between Sierra Nevada and the 12 core breweries joining Sierra Nevada on the beer tour.
Not willing to shell out $25 for the special edition 12-pack? We don’t blame you, as neither did any of us. Being in close proximity to the Torpedo Room in Berkeley — an outpost taproom of Sierra Nevada that opened last November — we took a BART ride out to drink the beers in the freshest and cheapest way possible.
A flight of 2 ounce pours of all 12 collaborations beers will only set you back $12 at the Torpedo Room, hitting your gut with almost the size equivalent of a bomber of beer.
Here are our staff’s tasting notes and impressions from the Beer Camp Across America collaboration beers:
Brewer: Firestone Walker
Beer: Torpedo Pilsner
Style: Hoppy Pilsner
A namesake to the proprietary hop injection Sierra Nevada is famous for, the “Hop Torpedo,” the Torpedo Pilsner’s hop forwardness definitely shines through, especially for a pilsner. The beer features the same corn flake taste and wheat texture of a standard pilsner, but with an added level of freshness and floral notes from the hop presence.
Beer: Myron’s Walk
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Myron’s Walk is a collaboration with Allagash, a brewery known for its endless innovation with beers of the Belgian-style. The pale ale taste in this beer is very prominent and is extremely similar to Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, so much so the beer could have been sold on shelves as Sierra Nevada’s Belgian Pale Ale. The beer definitely has a Belgian golden taste to it, with fruity and yeasty notes rising on top of the pale taste.
Brewer: New Glarus
Beer: There and Back
Style: English-style bitter
There and Back is an English-style bitter that takes a spin on a more traditional style of beer. By no means an in-your-face hop bomb, there is plenty of hop forwardness to be found in this beer, though more laid-back and smoothed out. The beer strikes a smooth balance between the hop freshness and toasty malt.
Brewer: Russian River
Beer: Yvan the Great
Style: Belgian-style blonde
A Belgian-style blonde resembling a lighter Damnation, Yvan the Great was one of our favorites from this bunch of collaboration beers. Light in alcohol content but big in flavor, Yvan the Great has a mix of flavors that include a Belgian ale, sour tart, and blonde light ale. There is a good amount of hop presence in the beer that ties together the multiple genres at play and extenuates them.
Brewer: Victory Brewing
Beer: Alt Route
A taste reminiscent of a deeper English bitter with more fruitiness, the Alt Route kicks up the altbier style into a syrupy and sweet realm. Steering away from the lighter German traditional beer, the beer pays homage to the altbier in its base of a lager flavor, but takes it to more complex flavor level. Amber color, malt heaviness and the addition of hops to the flavor make this a new world take on an old world beer.
Brewer: 3 Floyds
Beer: Chico King
Style: Pale ale
The Chico King immediately strikes as more of an extra pale ale than just a pale ale. Featuring the pale hop flavors, it goes beyond with extra freshness and floral notes to boost. For those looking for slightly more hop flavor than your typical pale ale, the Chico King takes a fresher and more quenching approach with the pale ale style.
Brewer: Cigar City
Beer: Yonder Bock
Style: Tropical maibock
A sure favorite among brown ale lovers, the Yonder Bock boasts more alcohol content than the typical light bock beer, but hides it very well among the dash of fruitiness in the beer. The “tropical” element is heavily prevalent, with an almost mango-like flavor prevailing in the finish. A very smooth but heavier version of a traditional beer.
Brewer: Ballast Point
Beer: Electric Ray
Style: India pale lager
One of our favorites of this lot, the Electric Ray is another example of a solid hoppy, citrus and danky beer from Ballast Point. Those who are fearful of the lager aspect need not worry; this beer comes off more pungent than most single IPAs, and tastes closer to a double IPA. Perhaps it’s the lager base that gives the beer a bit more complexity in the hop finish, giving those who might be a bit tired on the IPA brand something new and fresh to sink into.
Brewer: Oskar Blues
Style: Rye bock
The CANfusion is a dry rye hopped lager style beer that features a citrus hop element. Many elements of Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA are at play in this collaboration, yet the beer takes a life of its own by blending the lager and hoppy worlds together. Smooth yet providing a mouthful of taste, the CANfusion boasts a heavy malty element with a touch of spicy rye flavoring.
Brewer: Asheville Brewers Alliance
Beer: Tater Ridge
Style: Scottish ale
A Scottish ale beer brewed with sweet potatoes, the appropriately named Tater Ridge is rich and malty in taste. The brown color of the beer is joined by a creamy head that coats the sweet taste upon first sips. Slight toasty and brown sugar tastes accompany the flavor and make it extremely drinkable, with a slight bitterness on the finish.
Beer: Maillard’s Odyssey
Style: Imperial dark ale
Big and dark is what this beer is all about. Medium level hop presence joins in with the sugary and malty richness of the dark ale aspect. Rich stout textures prevail alongside a combination of toffee and ale nuances. The alcohol heaviness is present, however, the multiple tastes at play alongside the sugary texture coat the booze factor.
Beer: Double Latte
Style: Coffee milk stout
By no means your typical stout, the Double Latte is Ninkasi and Sierra Nevada’s contribution to the comeback of milk stouts in the recent beer scene. With tastes reminiscent of a lightly sweetened French roast – with brown sugar – this heavy and very filling beer would go well as your final beer of the night, perhaps in lieu of dessert. Those who like beers as dark as their French pressed coffee will appreciate the black coffee notes, alongside the complex stout flavorings.