Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is celebrating the opening of its new Mills River, N.C., brewery by bringing revered craft brewers to North Carolina via a cross-country festival path in 2014. A dozen craft breweries across the U.S., both up-and-comers and noted names, will join Sierra Nevada in the creation of a variety 12-pack — one partner brewery per beer — to be released in summer 2014. A multi-weekend, west-to-east tour of regional festivals will culminate with the Mills River doors opening.
“We want to highlight the success of craft beer, not just our own next step,” said Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder. “Craft brewers are a close bunch, and we’ve all helped each other get to this point. This is a fun way to showcase even just a fraction of the talent that’s out there, and somehow 12 beers doesn’t feel like enough. If this weren’t already a logistical mammoth, we’d brew with even more of our great peers.”
The specific travel path for festivals is a work in progress, but in spring 2014, these breweries will visit Chico to develop recipes and begin brewing:
- Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, Maine
- Ballast Point Brewing Co., San Diego, Calif.
- Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich.
- Cigar City Brewing LLC, Tampa, Fla.
- Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, Calif.
- New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, Wisc.
- Ninkasi Brewing Co., Eugene, Ore.
- Oskar Blues Brewing Co., Longmont, Colo.
- Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif.
- Three Floyds Brewing LLC, Munster, Ind.
- Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, Pa.
- Local brewing community in Asheville, N.C.
The collaboration will also champion advances in the industry and the greater craft beer communities surrounding the partner breweries.
“We’ve long supported ingredients research, and we hope these beers see success that allows us to further help malt and hops evolve,” Grossman said. “We also aim to highlight the state brewers guilds our partners belong to. It’s a small but important nudge to keep our industry’s momentum strong.”
The idea of collaborative brews is nothing new to Sierra Nevada. Its Beer Camp program started in 2008 when a group of distributors wanted to visit Chico and learn how to brew beer. It evolved into a national consumer contest where winners from all over the country head to Chico for a two-day, hands-on brewing session. Sierra Nevada recently reached Beer Camp number 100.
“There are no reins in Beer Camp,” Grossman said. “We typically bring a dozen folks in who don’t know a ton about beer and let them have at it. This time we‘ll be brewing 12 beers with as many pros. It has the potential to be epic.”