Carolina Beer Guy: Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp returns with new look

THE GET-DOWN: Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp celebration is back with music, brews and activities — including the pictured silent disco — June 16 at the brewery's Six Row Field in Mills River.
THE GET-DOWN: Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp celebration is back with music, brews and activities — including the pictured silent disco — June 16 at the brewery's Six Row Field in Mills River. Photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Beer Camp is returning to the big Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. site in Mills River for the first time since 2014, featuring a different format and vibe from the inaugural celebration.

The event takes place Saturday, June 16, noon-5 p.m. at the brewery’s Six Row Field on Old Fanning Bridge Road near Asheville Regional Airport. The 2014 Beer Camp was held in front of the brewery and tasting room.

Beer Camp has evolved from a traditional invitational beer festival to a showcase of the host brewery’s creations alongside music and games. General admission tickets are $25 and include free round-trip shuttle service from both Asheville and Hendersonville, live music by The Broadcast and Zach Deputy, and access to a rope course, rock climbing wall, keg bowling, the Hammer-Schlagen nail-driving competition, cornhole, arts and crafts, and a silent disco with DJ Marley Carroll and DJ Push/Pull.

Tickets do not include beers, however, which are sold separately at the event for $5 each, says Lee-Ann Loser, Sierra Nevada’s produced events team manager.

“It’s a reimagined concept,” she says. “We wanted to refresh the model. It’s like a party, an adult day camp. We want people to get out and get active, and beer is along for the journey.”

Sierra Nevada will be pouring its Pale Ale, Summerfest, Hazy Little Thing IPA, Tropical Torpedo IPA, Southern Gothic Unfiltered Pils, 3 Weight Session IPA, Sierraveza Lager, Otra Vez Lime & Agave Gose-style Ale and Ovila White Ale.

There are also six “employee collaboration” beers turned out by some of the brewery’s staff. They are Paloma IPA (6.8 percent ABV), brewed with grapefruit and lime; IPL (4.8 percent ABV), an unfiltered lager hopped with a combination of Mosaic, Mandarina, Simcoe and Citra lupulin powder; Hoppy American Wheat (5.8 percent ABV); Turkish Coffee Stout (7 percent ABV), brewed with cardamom and freshly ground coffee; Blackberry Saison (7.5 percent ABV), made with blackberry wine and hopped with Chinook and Mosaic; and Sour Belgian Wit (5 percent ABV), featuring oranges and orange peel throughout the brewing process.

“We have a lot of employees here who are not [professional] brewers but who have great ideas for beers and we gave them the opportunity,” Loser says. “And we wanted to offer beers that were made specifically for this event.”

In an effort to cut down on lines, a sampling tent will also offer smaller servings of the six employee collaboration beers and additional beer stations will be located around the field. Ticket sales will be limited to 3,000, and multiple food trucks will be on-site with items available for purchase.

Beyond Beer Camp, Sierra Nevada has opened a beer garden space called Lower Park, behind the amphitheater near the French Broad River. The new area is open Friday-Sunday.

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About Tony Kiss
Tony Kiss covers brewing news for the Xpress. He has been reporting on the Carolina beer scene since 1994. He's also covered distilling and cider making and spent 30 years reporting on area entertainment. Follow me @BeerguyTK

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