Review Date 4/23/2013
Let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve gone to beer camp. I went to Oldenberg’s Beer Camp in Fort Mitchell, KY many moons ago. And while that brewery (sadly) is now defunct, others have taken up the banner of beer camp. One of them is Sierra Nevada Brewing of Chico, California. This Beer Camp is a little different, however, so it’s probably best to explain why.
Oldenberg’s camp was all about drinking beer, experiencing beer, learning about beer, and enjoying beer. Sierra Nevada’s camp has all that going for it too, but with one important difference: you get to make beer, too. It’s also a bit tougher to get into. To attend Oldenberg Beer Camp, one plunked down one’s hard earned cash and got to Fort Mitchell (just outside Cincinnati). Money won’t buy your way into Sierra Nevada’s camp. Instead, you have to go the Beer Camp Website and make a case as to why you should be selected as a Beer Camper.
Even if you don’t get to go, though, you can still enjoy the fruits of Beer Campers’ labors in the Sierra Nevada Best of Beer Camp 12-pack sampler. The sampler offers 3 bottles each of four different past beer camp favorites. Under consideration tonight: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #53: Floral IPA.
Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #53 Floral IPA (also known as Long Stem IPA is an India Pale Ale brewed with rose hips and rose petals. The beer has an alcohol content of 5.9% by volume and is made with more traditional ingredients such as caramel, Special B, chocolate, and Golden promise malts. Hop varieties are German Saphir, Centennial, Crystal, and Citra.
The bottle label describes the beer as follows:
“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.”
This beer is truly delightful to me. As I pour my bottle of Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #53 Floral IPA I get a liquid with a bright orange amber color, a thick and creamy head formation and a delightful hop and flower nose. Taking a sip the beer has a firm caramel maltiness up front followed by a very herbal hop flowery and, well, flower flowery aroma. That aroma permeates the beer and adds flavor and complexity. The rose hips add a distinct element, and the beer tastes like my wife’s rose bushes smell. The beer becomes bitter in the finish, but not overly so, and the aroma remains the predominant character all the way through. Indeed, Beer camp 353 Floral IPA does not have as much bitterness as a lot of IPAs, but it does have so much heady hop aroma. This is really what the brewers were going after.
My one quibble here is the price, at $19.99 a 12-pack that's $3 more than i pad for Beer Camp beers in 2011.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.