Review: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp West Coast Double IPA (Unreleased)

sierra nevada beer campWho likes beer fests? Sierra Nevada’s got a huge one coming up this summer, a seven-city traveling beer festival that’s called Beer Camp Across America and which will feature more than 700 total breweries in total.

As an “invitation” to the festival, we received this 24 oz. monster bottle of Sierra’s Beer Camp West Coast Double IPA. You can’t buy it in stores, but presumably you’ll be able to try it at the event if you sojourn to an installment near you. (See schedule below.)

Beer Camp is a Double IPA, thick and syrupy and overall a very “big” beer. However, the hops in this brew are dialed back to let the malt shine through. While it’s got plenty of bitterness, particularly on the finish, it’s the almost marmalade-like sweetness up front that makes this brew so curious — and so memorable. Shipped out in 24 oz. bottles, I didn’t make it through half before turning to something a little less palate-busting. But for that first round with Brew Camp, I was taken to some interesting places… a campfire, a carnival, a backyard BBQ. When you try it, maybe you’ll go to those locales too… before moving on to the next table for a taste of something else.

8.5% abv.

Here’s the schedule. Have fun!

• Sat, July 19: Northwest Edition at Sierra Nevada Hop Field in Chico, CA, 12-5 p.m.
• Sun, July 20: Southwest Edition at Embarcadero North in San Diego, CA, 1-6 p.m.
• Fri, July 25: Rocky Mountain Edition at Civic Center Park in Denver, CO, 5-10 p.m.
• Sun, July 27: Midwest Edition at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL, 12-5 p.m.
• Fri, August 1: New England Edition at Thompson’s Point in Portland, ME, 5-10 p.m.
• Sat, August 2: Mid-Atlantic Edition at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia, PA, 12-5 p.m.
• Sun, August 3: Southeast Edition in Mills River, NC, 1-6 p.m.

B+ / $NA /

Free Tickets to ChouffeFest New York and Washington D.C.

Howdy! Like Belgian craft beers and live in New York or Washington D.C.? Well, we’ve got something sweet (and bitter) for you!

Drinkhacker is giving away two pairs of tickets to ChouffeFest, which hits New York’s Brooklyn Bazaar on 6/19 and Washington D.C.’s TOOLBOX on 6/21. You can win a pair of tickets, which include entrance to the event featuring Belgian-style Chouffe beer tastings, delicious food, live music, and plenty of gnomified merrymaking.

You must be 21 or older to enter (and attend). To enter, please send an email to [email protected] and provide your first and last name, your city of choice (NYC or Washington, D.C.), primary e-mail address, and what Chouffe beer you’re most looking forward to tasting.

All entries must be received by 6/17 at noon PDT. Only one entry per person. There will be one winner chosen for each city.

More info…  

Chouffe Fest celebrates Chouffe’s Belgian craft beers, which rumor has it, were hand-crafted by magical gnomes and passed in secret to Chouffe’s founders in the 1970s. Inspired by this mystical tale, Chouffe Fest invites guests to step into the imaginary world of the Chouffe gnomes, which includes an eight-foot-tall “gnome throne” photo booth and giant, playable versions of checkers, Jenga and Connect Four. Check out this video for more event details:

Chouffe Fest will proudly feature the following Belgian craft brews from Chouffe:

  • La Chouffe is a Belgian blonde ale with a hazy golden yellow color with full white head. La Chouffe boasts aromas of peppery spice and flavors of candy sweetness and fruity esters, followed by a creamy dry finish in this highly carbonated and gently warming ale. It contains 8% alcohol by volume (ABV) and a Rate Beer rating of 98.
  • Mc Chouffe is a Belgian-Scottish dark ale that is rich brown in color with a light tawny head. Featuring deep aromas of chocolate, toffee and caramel with rich nutty and spicy flavors of almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg, Mc Chouffe has a dry, creamy finish with noticeable warmth. It contains 8% ABV and a Rate Beer rating of 97.
  • Houblon Chouffe is a Belgian IPA Triple that is golden yellow with a delicate white head. Featuring grassy and citrus aromas from Amarillo, Tomahawk and Saaz hops with slight aromatics of clove; biscuit malt flavors are followed by a touch of honey then a dry, crisp finish marked with a touch of orange. Houblon Chouffe contains 9% ABV and boasts a Rate Beer rating of 99.

Chouffe Fest New York will take place Thursday, June 19 from 7 – 11 p.m. at the Brooklyn Bazaar located at 165 Banker St., Brooklyn NY 11222. Tickets are on sale for $10 each at:

Chouffe Fest D.C. will take place Saturday, June 21 from 7 – 11 p.m. at TOOLBOX D.C., located in Dupont Circle at 1627 (rear) Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.
Tickets are on sale for $10 each at:

Guests must be 21 and over to attend all Chouffe Fest events. For more information about Chouffe Fest, visit

Upcoming: California Beer Festival Marin County 2014

Who’s ready for brews? I’ll be here — so come on by, enjoy a few craft beers, and say hi while ’80s cover bands pump out the jams.

Don’t miss the California Beer Festival Marin County on Saturday, June 28 from 12:30 to 5 p.m at beautiful Stafford Lake in Novato with 100 craft brews on tap featuring breweries from throughout the state including local favorites Lagunitas Brewing Company and Hopmonk Tavern. This is the third year for the annual event.

Attendees announced so far include: Six Rivers Brewery, Stone Brewing Company, Iron Springs Pub and Brewery, Broken Drum Brewery, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Big Sky Brewing Company, Altamont Beer Works, Bison Brewing, Carneros Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Day of the Dead Beer and many more. Beer sampling will be from 1 to 4:30 p.m. (VIP tickets get you in early.)

Information and tickets are available at VIP tickets are $65 each. General admission is $40. Sliders and suds tickets are $55, with designated driver tickets available for $25. Children under 12 are free, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Be there!

Join Laphroaig Live, September 26, 5PM PDT

Recent Laphroaig Live events have been such successes that Islay’s most visible distillery is repeating the experience. This year’s arrives on Thursday at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern, and will cover a range of Laphroaig products including the new Laphroaig QA, a travel retail whiskey that’s crafted through “an American style of maturation” (finished in new oak casks).

So pour yourself a dram of the peaty stuff and enjoy the show. Full details follow.

Laphroaig, the world’s most richly flavored Scotch whisky, will broadcast its 7th annual Laphroaig Live on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 8:00PM Eastern Time from Brooklyn, New York. Whisky fans everywhere can visit to see the most talked about live online whisky tasting of the year.

The 45-minute live stream, which reached nearly 2.5 million people across the globe last year, will feature a panel of four experts who will sample four whisky expressions and highlight the spirits’ strong ties with America. The experts will be stepping back in time to the Prohibition era and tracing its heritage to the booming whisky cocktail scene it helped create. This year, the panel will consist of Laphroaig® Master Distiller John Campbell, Bourbon Ambassador Adam Harris, renowned Mixologist and Founder of Ward III Michael J. Neff, and spirit enthusiast and GQ Web Editor Kevin Sintumuang. Also in attendance will be Simon Brooking, Master Ambassador for Laphroaig, to celebrate this one- of-a-kind tasting experience.

Viewers worldwide will have front row seats as the panel tastes and discusses the complex flavor profiles of:

  • Laphroaig Quarter Cask – the brand’s fastest growing expression which is matured in barrels similar to those used in the early days of Laphroaig.
  • Laphroaig QA – an expression crafted through the American style of maturation.
  • Maker’s 46 – a classic American bourbon whiskey from the Laphroaig sister distillery; nearly all Laphroaig® is aged in ex-Maker’s Mark barrels.
  • Laphroaig Cairdeas 2013 – the newest expression, bottled for Friends of Laphroaig and released earlier this summer, uses Port Wood for part of its maturation.

The show will be broadcast from an original Hudson River Barge, which at over 99 years old has seen cargo come and go into New York for almost a century. While the Hudson River Barge was taking its cargo into port, Ian Hunter, the last family owner of Laphroaig, was introducing the world to his whisky. Legend has it he even introduced it to the USA during Prohibition by convincing authorities of its “medicinal” purposes. Following in his footsteps, Laphroaig will bring a fantastic selection of its expressions direct from Islay to New York and explore how the North-Atlantic ties are still thriving today.

Members of Friends of Laphroaig, the whisky’s distinguished loyalty group which grants members a lifetime lease on a numbered, 1 square foot plot of land in Islay, are provided special access to discuss all things whisky and share tasting notes during the show. To join the conversation, submit questions or get the tasting’s cocktail recipes, LIKE us on, or follow/Tweet us @LaphroaigUSA on Twitter.

Join Us For a Live Johnnie Walker Platinum Tasting, Sept. 12, 10am PDT

We’re trying something new this week, tasting the new Johnnie Walker Platinum — LIVE! — on a Google Hangout, with our pals at Drink Spirits and Simple Cocktails. Please join us to see how we agree and disagree on this spirit — mine’s still sealed in anticipation of the big event — and add your own thoughts if you’ve got a bottle on hand, too.

RSVP here and mark your calendars!

20% Off at Family Winemakers of California, August 17-18, 2013

The annual Family Winemakers of California Tasting has become a real standout event. Last year’s tasting featured some truly amazing wines.

And you can go to it! We’ve got 20% off codes you can use when you buy a ticket. Just key in “wine10” or “bloggers” at checkout and you get an instant $12 off the $60 ticket price. That’s a great deal.

Some more info for the uninitiated:

From the state’s most acclaimed wine regions to the up-and-coming, this tasting features more than 200+ producers from all over California showcasing their boldest and brightest vintages.

This year’s “From Our Table To Yours” theme resonates throughout the tasting, where attendees have the opportunity to meet the passion-driven vintners and winery owners themselves, and hear the stories behind the wine labels.  From exceptional, small production wines to the hard-to-find, attendees will taste from over 800 wines and discover new favorites to put on their table that evening.

Attendees with a refined or exploratory palette for wine can purchase access to the iSip Lounge, where VIPs will have an opportunity to taste from a portfolio of wines that retail at $75 per bottle or more.

To receive real-time updates of information on the event, subscribe to Family Winemaker’s of California’s Twitter channel @FWCTasting and like Family Winemaker’s Facebook page at

Upcoming: West of West Wine Festival in Sebastapol, California

west of westThe often rough and difficult weather and terrain of the Sonoma Coast may make it inhospitable to travelers, but it’s also responsible for some of the best wines being made in California today. Now this region is getting its own wine festival, “West of West,” which spans three days next month, August 2 to August 4, in Sebastapol, California.

You’ll find dinners and seminars a plenty at the event, but the centerpiece is two days of grand tasting events, where 40 wineries from the region — including some of the top dogs in all of California — will be pouring their stuff.

Tickets are now available for the various events. Purchase passes and get all the information on the big weekend here!