13 February 2013

Hello mother, hello father. Greetings from camp...

Last week the Sailor came home with a 12-pack of Sierra Nevada. Regular occurrence. No big deal. But this 12-pack caught my attention.

sierra nevada beer camp variety pack
Via Beer Pulse

Beer camp?

I was never much of a camp kid. Don't get me wrong. I asked to go. My parents said okay. And off I went. Tennis camp, Siena soccer camp, Girl Scout Camp, Emma Willard GirlSummer, Camp Chingachgook sleep-away camp- I didn't miss out on much. I think I liked the idea of going to summer camp more than I actually liked going to camp though. I would rather have been at home watching Growing Pains, swimming in the pool and playing hide-n-seek with the kids in the neighborhood than taking swimming tests and making macaroni necklaces.

I think I'd enjoy beer camp much more than any of the summers of yore though. It's exactly what it sounds like- Sierra Nevada holds a week-long, hands on training where some lucky brewers gain hands-on experience and create the beer recipes for the annual limited edition Beer Camp Variety Pack.

Here's this year's winning combo:

Sierra Nevada Oatmeal Stout  – This big oatmeal stout is midnight black in color-with a big roasty, mocha-like aroma. It has a silky body from the use of rolled oats, and a round and lasting finish. Perfect as an after-dinner treat.

Sierra Nevada Imperial Red Ale  – This Imperial Red Ale takes the intense hop profile found in a traditional double IPA and turns up the malt. It has big aromatic hop notes of grapefruit, peach and melon – balanced by a smooth and surprisingly robust malt body.

Sierra Nevada Imperial Pilsner  – Packing a big hop-forward punch and bright crisp finish, this golden pilsner features a hearty dose of “sticky,” resinous Crystal and Pacifica dry hops, which balance the light-bodied yet complex malt backbone.

Sierra Nevada Floral IPA  – This unique take on the traditional IPA style pairs the bold and intense aromas of whole-cone hop “flowers” with aromatic natural rose hips and petals for complex aromas and unexpected flavors.

In addition to having great beer, Sierra Nevada is a socially conscious company and employer-- another valid reason to support the cause and drink Sierra! A few quick fun facts I learned from Win Bassett of Serious Eats, who attended beer camp this past summer:
  • Sierra has hybrid tractor trailers to deliver their products and has a rail system on the property to transport malted grains, which reduces the carbon footprint.
  • It was one of the first breweries to install fuel cells that run on natural gas and 48% of the brewery's  electricity comes from the fuel cells.
  • They encourage their employees to bike to work and have charging stations for electric cars.
Adam Tolsma measuring malt
So, who gets to go to beer camp? And more importantly, how do I get to go to beer camp?

Sierra Nevada runs a competition for beer lovers to win the "golden ticket." Enthusiasts submit their own home video explaining why they should be invited to attend. Since its inception, the roster of beer campers has expanded to include foodies and bev industry experts, who also help with the "research" that takes place at camp. Keep an eye out for the 2013 contest!

“In the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," children all over the world search for the "golden ticket” that will let them into the famous confectionery.  This past September, I was one of 22 lucky homebrewers who got their own "golden ticket to imagination and adventure" at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, Calif.” – Zymurgy, Jan/Feb 2010

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