(Photo by Ken Weaver)

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s new Beer Camp Across The World 12-pack is landing on shelves across the country, and samples recently arrived to our NorCal office for an early taste.

This year’s set features 12 different collaborative releases: half with U.S. breweries, half featuring international ones. The flavor profiles tend to lump into three flights of four: four lighter-impact oddities to start, followed by the hoppy stuff, and lastly, the four malty ones. They were tasted as such, with breaks between. Given the dozen different beers to roll through, we’ve kept things tidy with three-sentence reviews and judged in accordance with the magazine’s tasting criteria (Highly Recommended, Recommended and Also Tasted). 

Overall: some tasty collabs, especially the Tree House one, with occasional bouts of sweetness.

Ken Weaver
Beer Editor
All About Beer Magazine

Beers No. 1-4: The Palate Gauntlet

Dry-Hopped Berliner-Style Weisse
4.2% | Dry-Hopped Berliner-Style Weisse
Collaborator: Saint Arnold Brewing Co.

The first stop incorporates Amarillo and Saaz hops, which contribute sweeter citrus and herbal notes beyond the core Berliner-style profile. There’s some serious acidity present: lemony, refreshing, brisk. Pleasantly round, and ends with wheat and limes. –Recommended

Ginger Lager
6.2% | Lager w/ Ginger, Cayenne & Oak Honeycombs
Collaborator: Surly Brewing Co.

Almost like spicy ginger candy. The subtle cayenne spice isn’t quite enough to make up for the candied feel, and hints of oak seem to amplify that sweetness. Not quite refreshing.–Also Tasted

Thai-Style Iced Tea
7.2% | Amber Ale w/ Black Tea, Star Anise, Sweet Orange Peel, Tamarind & Lactose
Collaborator: Mikkeller Brewery

While finding its inspiration in Thai iced tea, the star anise gives this a major licorice focus in aromatics and flavor. The lactose, while steering towards creaminess, never quite gets there. So much anise.–Also Tasted

Raspberry Sundae
8% | Spiced Ale w/ Raspberry, Cocoa, Vanilla & Lactose
Collaborator: The Bruery

A lightly boozy sundae, with plush and fruity alcohol to start and excellent raspberry character. The cocoa’s like occasional chocolate chips, adding a layer but not making things feel heavy. This feels more like a Bruery beer. –Recommended

Beers No. 5-8: The Hoppy Wheelhouse

White IPA With Yuzu
7% | White IPA w/ Yuzu, Coriander & Nutmeg
Collaborator: Kiuchi Brewery

Here we go. Yuzus are an aromatic Asian citrus fruit, and they tend to fit pretty well in hoppy and sour offerings. The spice additions here don’t overextend themselves, and a well-expressed barrage of hops (Centennial, Citra, Comet, and Eureka!) offers plenty of citrusy bitterness and tree fruit. –Recommended

East Meets West IPA
7% | India Pale Ale
Collaborator: Tree House Brewing Co.

Perhaps the most-anticipated beer in the box—offering collaborative access to Tree House’s juicy reknown. While it pours clear, that plump, late-addition hops barrage is what folks will be looking for. Pomelo, pith, lots of smooth hops. –Recommended

Hoppy Belgian-Style Golden
8% | Dry-Hopped Belgian-Style Golden Ale w/ Lemon Peel
Collaborator: Duvel Moortgat

This one lands a bit heavy on the honey-lemon. The combination of high carbonation and intense bitterness (well past tripel levels … ) makes this challenging to settle into. Honeyed, tasty, generously bitter—but there are more relaxed versions of this profile.–Also Tasted

West Coast-Style DIPA
8.2% | Double IPA
Collaborator: Boneyard Beer

This DIPA includes farm-distilled hop oil along with Centennial, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops. The net effect? A traditional mega-hop framework that feels like an amplified version of Hop Hunter. –Recommended

Beers No. 9-12: The Malty Finish 

Dunkle Weisse
5.7% | Bavarian-Style Dunkle Weisse
Collaborator: Ayinger Brewery

I personally had the highest hopes for this one, and it’s, for certain, a respectful take. Plenty of cola, brown sugar and bubble gum throughout. A bit heavy with the esters, but refreshing and a good gateway dunkle weisse. –Recommended

Campout Porter
7.7% | Porter w/ Manuka-Smoked Malt, Honey & Vanilla Beans
Collaborator: Garage Project

Don’t expect High Water Brewing’s Campfire Stout—this is a wholly different beast. The smoked-malt character is a touch chalky overall. But that combo of a chocolatey porter, woody smoke, smooth honey and subtle vanilla keeps this streamlined.–Also Tasted

Atlantic-Style Vintage Ale
8.5% | Vintage Ale w/ Plums
Collaborator: Fuller’s Brewery

This is one of the bottle-conditioned options—probably better suited for aging than anything else in the box. Right now, it’s mostly focused on red fruits. Don’t be afraid to let this one cellar and bring out some caramel/sherry, as that’s the missing piece.–Also Tasted

Dry-Hopped Barleywine Style Ale
9.4% | Dry-Hopped Barleywine-Style Blend
Collaborator: Avery Brewing Co.

A blend of recreated batches of Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot and Avery’s Hog Heaven that is then bottle-conditioned. This one offers significantly more space to explore versus the Vintage Ale, especially from its hops. More than the sum of its parts: fruity, bitter and interesting. –Recommended