This weekend, while perusing our local beer aisle, I stumbled upon Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp 2015. Maybe it’s because I’ve been consistently impressed with Sierra Nevada’s specialty brews, or because I’m a sucker for annual editions of just about anything, I felt compelled to give the six-pack a taste. I’m finishing the last bottle now and it seems appropriate to make this particular brew the first beer review on Games & Grinds.
For those that don’t know, Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp is an annual brew absolutely unique from year to year. It’s a collaborative effort where Sierra Nevada partners up with another brewery in order to collectively create a new spin on their own beers. 2015’s Beer Camp iteration saw Sierra Nevada partner up with Ballast Point Brewery of San Diego California. The result? Beer Camp Hoppy Lager. Sierra Nevada’s promo page for their annual entry describes it as “a top-heavy twist on the classic blonde lager.” It goes on to describe the ever present challenge of creating a hop-heavy beer without crossing the flavor foul line by making it too bitter. After finishing the Beer Camp six-pack, I think they did a fine job accomplishing this feat.
Hoppy Lager is an incredibly drinkable beer with a sharp bite to the initial sip that ends with a clean finish. I find the flavor profile is best described as a reverse IPA; hopefully that makes sense to someone other than just me. While lagers are typically known to have more reserved flavors and smells, the Sierra Nevada influence comes through strong in this brew by providing a heavy burst of flavor that evolves well as the beer warms. What starts off cold and crisp and citrusy warms to a pleasant floral, earthy flavor. A trait that serves the beer well by promoting a slow and steady style of drinking. At 7.0% ABV and just a 55 point IBU rating, anything more than a sipping session could leave you far behind the curve with this lager.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sierra Nevada’s 2015 entry for Beer camp with Hoppy Lager. It makes for a nice, long-lasting six pack that is easy to drink but worthy of savoring. I can see it pairing well with a variety of dishes, but it’s at its best with a smoky spicy meal. Particularly something involving chipotle spice or green chiles. Pick up a pack soon before your local craft beer cooler is found wanting.