Monday, August 1, 2011
Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Best of Beer Camp
I'm a little behind on my beer reviews, as I finished up this case a couple of weeks ago already.
I picked up a case of Sierra Nevada's Best of Beer Camp, 2011 edition on the recommendation of the woman who works at Colonial Beer in the Hillcrest Shopping Center on Library Road in Bethel Park. She's fantastic by the way. If you're ever looking for something good and want some advice, I'd go talk to her. She's probably around 50 or so with reddish hair and knows her stuff.
For a little background, the case features four beers that were made at Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp at their brewery in Chico, California. The Beer Camps are for beer enthusiasts who enter to win a few days at the brewery to develop a beer under the tutelage of Sierra Nevada's brewers. Their site shows almost 50 beers that have been created at Beer Camp thus far, with this case being the first time they've made a selection available commercially.
At $40 a case, the beer camp variety pack was the most expensive case I've ever bought. Although, with all of the beers checking in at 6.5% alcohol or greater, you don't need to drink much of it to start feeling the effects. In short, you can make the case last longer than a cheaper case, so the cost can be justified.
The four beers in the case are the California Common, the Weizenbock, the Double IPA and the Juniper Black.
The California Common is the same type of beer as Anchor Steam. It was the lightest of and most accessible of the case. It was slightly sweet, slightly hoppy and probably the least remarkable.
The Weizenbock was interesting. I typically am just lukewarm on wheat beers and I wouldn't say that this one blew my socks off or anything. But, it was very smooth with a very subtle, almost banana-y flavor. Very good.
The Double IPA was a very nice IPA. I'm not sure what makes it double, it wasn't like one of those hop monster beers. Simultaneously hoppy and malty, this one was great.
Finally, the Juniper Black was the star of the case, if you ask me. It's a very dark, malty beer, though not heavy. And, unlike most fruit beers, which I normally despise for being way too fruity, you could barely even notice the juniper berries.
All in all, this was just a fantastic case of beer. Each one was strong, unique and better than the average of its type. It might not be the best case of beer I've ever had, but it's up there. And, knowing where it came from, it was perhaps the most satisfying case I've ever bought. I would gladly spend $40 again on the next iteration in 2012 and recommend going out and tracking down a case before they're gone.