“This is the first time we’ve ever attempted this, and there’s no model for what we’re trying to do,” says Stephen Cregan, Sierra Nevada’s Twin Cities sales representative. “This is going to be the largest craft beer celebration in history.”
He’s talking about Beer Camp Across America, a multi-weekend, multi-city beer festival that will involve hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. craft breweries. (All 2,800-ish were invited.) Sierra Nevada is putting on the festivities to celebrate the opening of its new production facility in Mills River, North Carolina, near Asheville. That’s right: The country’s second-largest craft brewery (and 7th-largest overall) is throwing its considerable resources behind a campaign to showcase regional brewing luminaries in every corner of America.
The centerpiece of Beer Camp is a seven-city tour that will feature appearances by Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder and still-active principal, and other members of his family. There won’t be a stop in the Twin Cities, unfortunately—the closest the tour will get is Chicago, with stops in Chico (Calif.), San Diego, Denver, Portland (Maine), Philly, and Mills River (N.C.)
But in recognition of the Twin Cities’ growing fascination with craft beer, Sierra is sponsoring more than a dozen tap takeovers and collaboration events with participating breweries. It’s also releasing a special 12-pack (aptly known as the Beer Camp Across America 12-pack) with a specially made brew from each of 12 regional collaborators.
“The 12-pack will be the same from California to Maine,” says Ryan Ferebee, craft beer specialist with Wirtz Beverage Group, which is handling its distribution in the area. “It’s a great way to introduce folks here to a selection of beers that aren’t usually available in Minnesota.”
And what a selection. The 12-pack includes:
- Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine): Myron’s Walk Belgian-Style Pale Ale
- Asheville Brewers Alliance (Asheville, N.C.): Tater Ridge Scottish Ale
- Ballast Point Brewing Company (San Diego, Calif.): Electric Ray India Pale Lager
- Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, Mich.): Maillard’s Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale
- Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Fla.): Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock
- Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, Calif.): Torpedo Pilsener
- New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus, Wis.): There and Back English-Style Bitter
- Ninkasi Brewing Company (Eugene, Ore.): Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout
- Oskar Blues Brewing Company (Longmont, Colo./Brevard, N.C.): Canfusion Rye Bock
- Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, Calif.): Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde
- 3 Floyds Brewing Company (Munster, Ind.): Chico King Pale Ale
- Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Penn.): Alt Route Altbier
According to Cregan, this is the first publicly available “collaboration 12-pack.” And not that it really matters, but it’s also the first 12-pack—to Sierra’s knowledge—that includes both bottles and cans (Oskar Blues and Cigar City don’t bottle any of their beers). Basically, it’s a slice of history.
But don’t bet on finding one around town. Supplies are very limited, and Ferebee warns that some stores may be taking pre-orders before the pack officially hits shelves over the weekend. Your best bet for getting a taste of Beer Camp is at one of these tap takeovers/collaboration events in the Twin Cities.
“Full 12” takeovers will feature all 12 of the breweries included in the Beer Camp Across America 12-pack, subject to supply. Midwest collaboration events will feature a Sierra brew, plus a handful of offerings from craft breweries in the greater Midwest, again subject to supply which, according to Ferebee, is very limited. Plan accordingly—and arrive early!
Full 12 Tap Takeovers
Jul 17 @ 5pm 3 Squares, Maple Grove
Aug 10 @ 3pm Butcher and The Boar, MPLS
Aug 12 @ 4pm The Happy Gnome, St Paul
Midwest Collaboration Events
July 29 @ 5pm Prairie Tap House, Eden Prairie
Aug 1 @ 4pm Mackenzie, MPLS
Aug 5 @ 5pm Red Cow, St Paul
Aug 6 @ 5pm Buster’s on 28th, MPLS
Aug 7 @ 5pm McPete’s, Big Lake
Aug 8 @ 5pm Bulldog, Downtown MPLS
Aug 11 @ 5pm Bulldog, Lowertown St Paul
Aug 21 @ 4pm Sporty’s, Campus Area MPLS
Aug 22 @ 5pm Republic – 7 corners, MPLS
Aug 22 @ 7pm Republic – Uptown, MPLS
Aug 28 @ 5pm Amsterdam, St Paul
Sep 3 @ 5pm The Muddy Pig, St Paul
Sep 25 @ 5pm Mc Coy’s, MPLS