July 23, 2014

Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp 2014: Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock (brewed with Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Florida)

Brewed By: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California 
Purchased: Single 12oz CAN from the 2014 Beer Camp bought at Jewel-Osco in Chicago, IL; 2014 (PKG 05/04/14)
Style/ABV: Tropical Maibock, 7.7%
Reported IBUs: 45

What is Beer Camp? It is Sierra Nevada's celebration of craft beer and the numerous breweries across America that make that craft beer. For 2014, Sierra Nevada collaborated with 12 different breweries to make 12 different beers. They also have a Beer Camp Across America Beer Festival, which will stop at seven different cities and feature many different breweries and beers.

About Sierra Nevada:
Sierra Nevada are one of the big players in craft brewing, and one of the first craft breweries to arrive on the craft beer scene. If you check out their history page, you will see that founder Ken Grossman began his quest to build a brewery in 1976. In 1980, Ken Grossman and co-founder Paul Camusi brewed their first batch of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. According to Wikipedia, Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is the second best selling craft beer behind Boston Lager. Sierra Nevada is the sixth largest brewing company in the United States as well, cranking out over 750,000 barrels in 2010. For more info, check out their website.
Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock
The Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock is a collaboration with the talented event planners at Cigar City Brewing. If you are looking to have a birthday party, cater a large event, or release a limited beer, you know who to call. My can reads: "Brewed in collaboration with Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, FL, Yonder Bock is a Latin-inspired twist on a traditional Maibock. Cigar City finds inspiration in the Cuban roots of their hometown, which is a long way from our home base in Chico, but our friends down yonder in Florida sure can brew a great beer. YOnder Bock blends a silky malt body with bright, fruity hop aromas of guava, mango and passion fruit from the use of Calypso, Azacca and experimental 366 hops as a nod to Cigar City's tropical locale."

This one pours into a hazy, dark orange body, with tons of carbonation in the form of tiny streams (courtesy of the teku). This also kicks up three fingers of big, fluffy, caramel-orange-tinted head. Head retention is good, and there's a lot of active carbonation minutes after the pour. There is good lacing as well. The body retains its deep orange color in bright light.

On the aroma: big lager spice that flirts with bread, toast, rye, and caramel sugars. Beneath that are sweet honey notes that give way to faint tropical fruits and citrus notes. I'm getting oranges, guava, pineapple, and mango.

This is incredibly enjoyable, with deep sheets of honey sweetness and bread that unravel and drop tropical fruits, honey, and rich caramel sugars. The 7.7% is completely not obvious here, but this has a boozy seduction about it. I'm getting cherries, pineapple, super sweet coconut, mango, and orange in here. There are nice honey and saffron notes, and in the back is some faint grain alcohol that is accentuated by mild hop bitterness. 

I'm a little bit at a loss here as far as how to rate this...I haven't had many Maibocks, and this one seems quite unique. This isn't an overly complex beer in general, but for a Bock there's a lot going on here. The palate depth here is great, and this is definitely a full-bodied island treat. I'm not getting any of the 7.7%, at least not in terms of alcohol heat, but some boozy seduction and grainy alcohol does show up. I'm also feeling some warming. Up front: honey and bready sweetness, with toast and Noble hop bitterness; that rolls into more saffron and honey, cherries, tropical fruits, oranges, guava, coconut, pineapple; the back end continues with sharp, quad-like fruits, and leaves some grainy alcohol and faint hop bitterness in your mouth. This could be a little bigger and rounder, otherwise it's nearly perfect.

Rating: Above-Average (4.0/5.0 Untappd)

I'm feeling a Decent 
Above-Average 
on this beer. This is a really interesting beer...I could see myself pairing this with an upside pineapple cake, mango salsa, white fish, and certainly on a beach somewhere. This is probably the most free-spirited application of a Bock you are going to find, and I commend Cigar City for this one. I could see myself grabbing something like this in a 6-pack. 

Random Thought: Dammit, now I want to go drink on a beach. To live in the Midwest...

Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp 2014: Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout (brewed with Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene, Oregon)

Brewed By: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California 
Purchased: Single 12oz bottle from the 2014 Beer Camp bought at Jewel-Osco in Chicago, IL; 2014 (PKG 05/30/14)
Style/ABV: American Imperial Stout, 7.6%
Reported IBUs: 60

What is Beer Camp? It is Sierra Nevada's celebration of craft beer and the numerous breweries across America that make that craft beer. For 2014, Sierra Nevada collaborated with 12 different breweries to make 12 different beers. They also have a Beer Camp Across America Beer Festival, which will stop at seven different cities and feature many different breweries and beers.

About Sierra Nevada:
Sierra Nevada are one of the big players in craft brewing, and one of the first craft breweries to arrive on the craft beer scene. If you check out their history page, you will see that founder Ken Grossman began his quest to build a brewery in 1976. In 1980, Ken Grossman and co-founder Paul Camusi brewed their first batch of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. According to Wikipedia, Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is the second best selling craft beer behind Boston Lager. Sierra Nevada is the sixth largest brewing company in the United States as well, cranking out over 750,000 barrels in 2010. For more info, check out their website.
The Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout is a collaboration with Ninkasi Brewing Company, a brewery that is going to put beer in space like anyone cares. At least astronauts can get their drink on now. My bottle reads: "Inspired by the perennial café favorite, Double Latte combines two great things: coffee and beer. Oregon's Ninkasi Brewing knows their way around a good cup of joe. Featuring cold-press coffee from legendary Stumptown Coffee Roasters and a dose of milk sugar, this coffee milk stout is a rich and roasty treat."
Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout

Describing Imperial Stouts is like describing a zebra, or something. You know, it's a horse with black and white stripes. This one pours into an opaque, black body...and kicks up a finger of super creamy, tan/brown/mocha head. There's nice carbonation visible on the side of my glass, and it is tiny in size. This looks much the same in bright light. Notable here is the ridiculous head retention, with a finger hanging around for the long haul. In fact, the other thing to note here is how creamy and dense this head is. It's like whipped egg whites...this makes Guinness look like a chump. Really impressive head here, like drunk chicks.

WOW, dat aroma. This smells fucking amazing...I'm getting blasted with deep coffee, light hazelnut, light espresso, big latte notes, chocolate, mocha, and tons of lactose sugar. Did I mention the head is STILL hanging around?

This tastes amazing...and they nail the bitterness. This is a huge Stout, with tons of lactose, milks sugars, and chocolate density. But there's a ton of coffee notes in here, ranging from straight up coffee, hazelnut, latte, cappuccino, and then big espresso that grows and grows as the hop bitterness takes hold and punishes your palate. Before the bitter hop/coffee wallop, you get some nice lactose-cocoa sweetness, but then BAM. Non-intrusive but bitter hops show up, and then the bitter coffee unloads big espresso notes. There's tons of creamy coffee creamer and lactose sugar in the mix, and yeah.

This is a full-bodied, rich, complex, Stout. Palate depth and complexity are both very high. This is well-carbonated, and has really nice balance between sweet lactose Sugars, roasty Stout notes and chocolate, and tons of coffee. The hops in here are strictly to provide support to the bitter coffee that shows up on the back end. Up front: lactose sugars, roast, earthy notes, ash, growing coffee, hints of espresso; the mids hit hazelnut, latte, cappuccino, more dirty and ash, some woody notes, cocoa, lactose sugars, caramel; the back end rolls into bitter espresso, bitter coffee, more lingering milk sugars, and a nice drying finish that leaves sticky, residual sugars up in the corner of your lips. Really nice.

Rating: Divine Brew (4.5/5.0 Untappd)

I'm feeling a Decent 
Divine Brew on this. This is not just a great example of how to make a coffee stout, but this is a really, really good coffee stout. This puts a lot of the competition to shame...and rivals some top-notch coffee beers. This is even more impressive when you consider that it only clocks in at 7.6 and 60 IBUs. This beer is refined and balanced, making use of every single square inch of that ABV and hop addition. I love everything about this beer, but I really like the balance and the deeply bitter espresso notes that show up on the back end. You could pair this beer with breakfast foods, chocolate bacon doughnuts, dry chocolate desserts, or a big aggressive cheeseburger with strong cheeses. You could also pair this with grilled meats that are heavily seasoned. Great stuff....I am impresed.

Random Thought: This beer is clearly the standout from the 2014 Beer Camp. What a brew...

July 21, 2014

Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp 2014: Tater Ridge Scottish Ale (brewed with Asheville Brewers Alliance in Asheville, North Carolina)

Brewed By: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California 
Purchased: Single 12oz bottle from the 2014 Beer Camp bought at Jewel-Osco in Chicago, IL; 2014 (PKG 06/04/14)
Style/ABV: Stottish Ale, 7.0%
Reported IBUs: 35

What is Beer Camp? It is Sierra Nevada's celebration of craft beer and the numerous breweries across America that make that craft beer. For 2014, Sierra Nevada collaborated with 12 different breweries to make 12 different beers. They also have a Beer Camp Across America Beer Festival, which will stop at seven different cities and feature many different breweries and beers.

About Sierra Nevada:
Sierra Nevada are one of the big players in craft brewing, and one of the first craft breweries to arrive on the craft beer scene. If you check out their history page, you will see that founder Ken Grossman began his quest to build a brewery in 1976. In 1980, Ken Grossman and co-founder Paul Camusi brewed their first batch of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. According to Wikipedia, Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is the second best selling craft beer behind Boston Lager. Sierra Nevada is the sixth largest brewing company in the United States as well, cranking out over 750,000 barrels in 2010. For more info, check out their website.
The Tater Ridge Scottish Ale is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and the Scottish folk from the Asheville Brewers AllianceMy bottle reads: "We're fortunate to call the passionate and talented folks in the Asheville Brewers Alliance our North Carolina neighbors. Tater Ridge is our nod to the area's Scottish Highland history, and we hope this ale accented by sweet potatoes will be the first of many collaborations to come."
There and Back English-Style Bitter

This one pours out a dark reddish-browh with two fingers of tan/caramel-tinted head. This is nearly opaque; you can't really see the carbonation. There is good head retention and lacing.

The aroma here is really deep, with big caramel, bready notes, spicy notes, brown sugar, and sweet fruits that start to emerge as this warms up. It doesn't smelly like your prototypical Scotch Ale, so immediately judging this by the aroma is a bit difficult to do.

The taste, however, is much more in line with what I was expecting with a Scottish Ale. There are twangy peated malts playing off big bready and caramel notes, with Twizzlers fruits. This is fruity and sweet, with some bready spice in the back. It's very elegant and nice.

This is full-bodied, but I don't get any of the 7.0%. This is all about those gentle caramel malts and that nice, fruity body. FYI: I don't get any potato in this. Palate depth is good; good complexity. Up front: bready malts, caramel sugars, Twizzlers sweetness; that rolls into deep malts, light peat, more fruity and bready notes; the back end has a twang of hops and finishes with lingerings sugars. Nice.

Rating: Above-Average (4.5/5.0 Untappd)

I'm feeling a Strong 
Above-Average 
on this beer. Maybe even higher...hmm. I'll have to revisit this in a few days. This is easily one of my favorites from the Beer Camp 2014. This is really tightly executed, and also happens to be an interesting take on the Scottish Ale style. I'd buy this in a 6-pack in the late Fall or early Winter months to pair with football and hearty stews and desserts. This is the Autumn beer that I want...not another tired adjunct squash or pumpkin beer.

Random Thought: This is seriously some great beer. It makes up for the sort-of-boring Yvan and Chico.