Finally, a summer camp for the 21 and older set that’s just as much fun as the camps you remember from your childhood, complete with sing-alongs, home cooking and mountain air — and minus the lame hours spent making arts and crafts.
Next weekend, more than 200 craft beers from 100 breweries around the mountain west and western plains region will be poured at the Denver stop of Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America festival tour. One ticket gains beer geeks access to brews from Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming and a dozen special collaboration brews created just for the festival.
This is the inaugural Beer Camp tour, which also makes stops in California, Maine, North Carolina, Philadelphia and Chicago. Summit County brews from Backcountry in Frisco, Pug Ryan’s in Dillon and the Denver arm of Breckenridge Brewery are amongst those in the mix.
“I think it’s cool,” said Alan Simons, head brewer at Backcountry. “I’ve always been a big fan of Sierra Nevada, so if they’re going to invite a bunch of breweries to a festival they’re hosting, I’m on board.”
Simons will most likely be doling out samples of his latest batch of Double IPA, made with a big hit of Citra hops for less bitterness and more fruity notes and aroma, and a new iteration of Berliner Weisse with an even more tart, tangy bite than the last round the brewery tapped. He said being limited to only two beers from each brewery sets this festival apart from other larger events like the Great American Beer Festival.
“It’ll be much smaller, too, ‘only’ 100 some breweries,” Simons said. “It’ll be interesting to see if it’s kind of more like your general beer festival crowd, or your beer enthusiast, beer geek crowd. I think it’s pretty exciting; I think it’s neat they are doing it in different cities.”
Sierra Nevada invited every craft brewery in the country, all 2,800 of them, to participate in one of the seven stops on the tour, and the invites they sent out came in a pretty enticing package.
“They mailed everybody a double IPA, so the invitation was actually a bottle of beer,” Simons said. “It was actually pretty good beer. I don’t go to all the beer festivals anymore, but this is one of them I’m going to try to get down to for sure.”
Along with the tasty beer treats, festival-goers will be able to purchase food from a dozen different Denver food carts, including Big Kiwi, Church of Cupcakes, Cilantro Truck, Crazy Good Food, Crock Spot, Fried Pie Mama, Little India, Meatball, Moe’s BBQ, O.T. go, OG Burger and Still Smokin. The evening event, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 25, will close out with music from the MarchFourth Marching Band.
If you can’t go
If attending Beer Camp isn’t in the cards for you this weekend, you can still get a taste of Sierra Nevada’s collaborative efforts through the Beer Camp Across America variety pack. The pack features 12 beers that were partnerships between Sierra Nevada and other craft breweries from coast to coast, ranging from the 8.5 percent alcohol by volume Electric Ray India Pale Lager, a collaboration with Ballast Point Brewing Co. in San Diego, to the more sessionable Torpedo Pilsner Hoppy Pilsner, a partnership with neighboring brewery Firestone Walker.
Locally, the Beer Camp Across America variety pack, featuring 10 bottles and two canned beers, will be available at Antlers Discount Liquors in Frisco, Dillon Ridge Liquors in Dillon and City Liquors and Skee Vue Liquors in Breckenridge as early as Friday, July 18.
“I thought it was kind of neat how they did the breweries that were mostly canning breweries, they put them in a can,” Simons said of the variety pack. “If I see it out there, I’ll probably purchase it.”
Apres Handcrafted Libations in Breckenridge will also have all 12 brews on tap for one day only on Friday, Aug. 1, with a 6 p.m. party that night with Sierra Nevada representatives giving away brewery swag.
For the full lineup of breweries attending the Beer Camp Across America tour stop in Denver, details on the collaboration beer variety pack and everything else beer camp, visit http://beercamp.sierranevada.com.