The summer is over and all the kids are back from camp. But, just recently hitting stores is the latest edition of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Best of Beer Camp mixed pack.
Each year, several lucky people get the chance to head out to Chico, Calif., and brew beer with the brewers. And, each year, the best of those beers are released in the Best of Beer Camp mixed pack.
This year’s pack includes thee beers – #93 IPA, #94 Belgian-style Black IPA and #95 Imperial Red Ale.
The IPA gives of a strong of piney aroma mixed in with fresh, floral hops. The first sip you get is citrusy, quickly taken over by some flavors of fresh pine mixed with fresh cut grass. There is a pleasant sweetness providing a nice malt backbone.
Overall, this is a really solid beer, an IPA most people will enjoy.
Next up is the Imperial Red Ale. This is a big beer, coming in at 8.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), but I’m talking about more than alcohol – this is a red ale for hop lovers.
The Imperial Red is basically a red double IPA. The Imperial red is full of piney-herbal hops, and it would almost be two bitter if it wasn’t for the sweet caramel malts. The sweetness keeps the bitterness in check, keeping it from becoming overwhelming.
If you’re a fan of typical malt-forward red ales, this is not your beer. But if you usually skip the normal reds in search of the all-mighty hop, this is the red ale for you.
Finally, the best beer in the pack is the Belgian-style Black IPA.
I go back-and-forth on both black IPAs and Belgian IPAs. In each of the two styles, I find a sameness. Most black IPAs remind me of other black IPAs, while most Belgian IPAs make me think of other Belgian IPAs.
However, the Beer Camp version is a standout. It is unlike any other black IPA or Belgian IPA out there. The Belgian yeast provides a spicy flavor that blends nicely with the roasted malts and the hops, with a hint of cloves in the background.
This is one of the best black IPAs I’ve had in a long time.
The Best of Beer Camp pack is definitely worth seeking out.