Nick Carr on February 23, 2015 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Location: Chico, CA Style: Imperial Pilsner ABV: 7.0% IBU: 55 Hops: Palisade, El Dorado, Citra, Equinox Malts: Two-row Pale, Pilsner, Munich, Caramel, Acidulated Appearance: Beautiful Light Golden Orange; Finger of White Foam Aroma: Hops!. Floral, Citrusy, Small Lemon & Mild Sweetness Flavor: Mostly Citrusy With Piney Notes; Hints of Slight Biscuit & Grassy Grain Availability: One-Time Only – Spring 2015 Pairs With: Green Thai Curry, Spanish style cured Chorizo, White Cheddar, Chocolate Truffles In their ever expanding efforts to bring a true (and fun) beer experience to the public, Sierra Nevada has founded… queue drum roll and booming voice with slight echo… BEER CAMP. Like summer camp for beer lovers, Sierra Nevada Beer Camp awaits those ready to take a plunge into the little visited, yet always talked about wonders of Sierra Nevada brewing. If you’ve ever yearned for the chance to dip your finger in the proverbial honey pot and see how it’s all done then the Camp is waiting. Spend three days making beer, tasting beer, and biking around on a custom made 12-seat beer biking bar. And when it’s all said and done, when the ingredients have been decided upon, a name selected, and a new beer baby is safely tucked away in the fermenter; you’ll go home fulfilled, happy… and maybe just a little hopeful that somewhere down the road the beer you helped create will be featured as a beer camp selection. Sierra Nevada has been putting on its beer camp since 2010 and it continues this coming summer with new opportunities for the public to brew the strange, the weird, the fantastic. Last year, along with running the public beer camp they did twelve collaborations with other breweries. Out of these collaborations they decided to give one a second life as a one-time seasonal (the first of an ever rotating selection highlighting brewery alliances and fan brews). Hoppy Lager, the beer I’m about to review, is the one that was chosen for 2015. I can only imagine the trouble they had deciding which of these fine beers to reanimate, the breweries they worked with are basically a who’s who of craft brewing. But, given their penchant for the hop, it may be of little surprise they selected this Hoppy Lager, first brewed with their friends at Ballast Point Brewery. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Hoppy Lager. If you’ve tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: The color is one or two shades darker than your typical macro-lager, clocking in at a nice light golden orange. Pours beautifully clear, making it easy to follow the hordes of small rising bubbles coming off the bottom. A finger of white foam builds, then drops and settles into a thinner, but more stable layer that sticks for the long haul. The hops are immediately noticeable in the aroma. Floral, citrusy, small lemon, and mild sweetness. The subtle hint of grassy grain is really the only thing that gives it away as a lager. Mouthfeel and Taste: This one has a thicker body then most lagers, perhaps due to the amount of hop oils imparted within. The medium high carbonation helps deliver a quick first hit of hoppy goodness but with an interesting contrast of a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The main plot here, at least where the hops are concerned, is in flavor. Yes, you can smell them and yes it may be at a much higher level than in any lager you’re used to. Yes, a bitter bite is there, but it’s not a big bite. The real beauty of the hops within this particular beer is imparted to the flavor profile. Mostly citrusy, but with nice piney notes, especially on the back end; the whole works great with the lighter grain profile inherent in the lager. Slight biscuit and grassy grain adds just the right sweetness to undercut the hops a bit. There’s just enough bitterness at the swallow to dry the palate, and get the taste buds aching for that next sip. Finishing the Impression: The mouthfeel is unparalleled; creamy softness, like eating clouds or a goose down comforter (maybe not exactly, but you get the idea). This one is easily drinkable. Even at 7% ABV there is little sign of the alcohol. A great lager, this beer could fill many holes. For the hop head who disdains lagers, this is a lager worthy of a try. For the lager lover who is looking for a bridge toward more bitter fare, without a broken rung and a quick plunge into the domain of “evilly bitter,” you’ll find a stable, yet adventurous crossing here. And for all those looking for a summer “lawnmower beer” with a little more muscle look no further. But remember, Hoppy Lager is a one-time offering, so get out there and try it before it disappears.