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An unforgettable experience at beer camp

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Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp after entering the Sierra Nevada Breweries annual competition. I, and 11 other winners from all corners of the U.S., spent three days at the company's brewery in Chico, California.
 
The experience involved a thorough tour of the facility, where we learned all about what goes on inside one of America's biggest craft breweries. Our tour allowed us to follow the brewing process from beginning to end. 
 
Some of my favorite stops on the tour included the two hop storerooms, where we climbed giant bales of hops and scooped out handfuls to smell.

We wandered down hallways where spickets hide aging and soon-to-be bottled beer. Our guide carried his trusty zwickle and a few cups with him wherever we went, giving us the chance to sample Hoptimum Imperial IPA and Ovila Abbey Ale fresh from the tanks.
 
We walked the entire campus where we visited Sierra Nevada's onsite labs, large and efficient packaging line and outdoor hop farm. We also checked out the brewery's old copper control system that was imported from Germany back in the 1980s.

IMG 3023The tour was fantastic and eye opening. All of the employees we met welcomed us warmly. This is especially true of the brewers who invited us in to see the campus' 10-barrel brew system and to participate in the process of making our own beer. We tasted and smelled the aroma of different hops and each of us in the group used our home brew knowledge to come up with a beer that would satisfy all of our distinct likes.
 
We helped pour the malt and gather the hops, which took blog-beer-camp-2a lot more hands than I was expecting. Then again, a 10-barrel brew system takes a lot of hops! We visited with the brewers while our beer sat in the mash tun, which converts the starches in crushed grains into sugars for fermentation. Once it was ready to boil, we added the hops and then it was out of our hands.
 
In the end, we decided on an Extra Special Bitter, and we named it Oats Face. Don't be fooled by the style though! Bitter is the last taste you'll find in this brew. 
 
Check in with us soon to see when this exciting new beer will be available at your Cedar Mill growler station!
 

Beer & Wine Dept. Special

  • Oakshire
    Oakshire

    6 pk - Outstanding craft beer from Eugene, Oregon. Oakshire partners with McKenzie River Trust to promote clean water. Excludes Drop Bear.

    7.99 +dep

    GOOD THRU 4/14 - 4/27/17

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