Friday, July 18, 2014

Beer Camp Across America: Chico King Pale Ale

I recently grabbed Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America mixed 12 pack. This pack was brewed in collaboration with 12 different breweries to celebrate their tour across the US ending at their new brewery in Mills River, NC. Brewed in collaboration with Indiana's 3 Floyds Brewing Company, Chico King is the first one I pulled from my refrigerator. Yeah, high expectations. Packaged 5/15/14. 6.5% alcohol. 45 IBU.

The story on the back says, "3 Floyds has a reputation as the Midwestern kings of alpha (hops), and it seems our flagship beer helped lure them down the lupulin-paved path. Chico King is a mash-up of our mutual passion for hoppy pale ales and we suspect you'll find it fit for royalty."

Nice juicy, citrus aroma. Bright lemon and tangerine citrus flavors to start. Again juicy and fruity. Sweeter malty caramel comes next with some balance. Some pine, a little acidic, sharp prickly carbonation. Some alcohol dryness shows at the finish.

I liked it, but why this beer from these two breweries? Everyone knows that Sierra Nevada and 3 Floyds can make fresh, kick-ass, hoppy pale ales and IPAs. Even more people know that than know 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance! Seriously this is good, but really, I drink more Sierra Nevada Pale Ale than anyone in the world... and this is way too similar.

Given the chance to be creative and given the opportunity to "steer the ship," as Sierra Nevada's Communications Manager Ryan Arnold said on last night's ByTheGlassShow (review pending completion), I'd have expected a little more fun/intrigue/twist/etc. Ryan basically said they let the collaboration breweries step in and run the show with their ideas and techniques. If you've ever tasted any 3 Floyds beers or seen any of their label art, you know all 3 of those Floyds have plenty of creativity! So a basic pale ale when you have 1/12 of a limited box and a chance to really be innovative and shine? Well, nice beer but not memorable. I guess no one can buy it anyway when this package is gone.

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