Beer Camp at Historic Navy Pier

Sierra Nevada's ridiculously awesome Beer Camp Across America Midwest Edition at Navy Pier Chicago

Sierra Nevada’s ridiculously awesome Beer Camp Across America Midwest Edition at Navy Pier Chicago

Beer Camp was so good I forgot I was at Navy Pier. I think it blew folks mind a bit seeing Sierra Nevada Founder, Ken Grossman behind the jockey box pouring one of his IPAs. They were rumored to be about 3500 tickets sold for the Sunday afternoon party. Chicago is stop 4 of 7 on what is the largest craft beer event ever. Literally every craft brewer from the the Great Lakes region was invited to the Midwest Edition.

With an event on this scale your agenda of what beers to try goes out the window. Cheers to our friends over at Timothy Otoole’s. The official afterparty was at their Streeterville location. General Manager, Tony Smith was part of a Chicago Bars crew that traveled to Petaluma,CA to create Fusion 23 with Lagunitas. Brixie’s Bar and Grill, George Street Pub and Nevins Brewing Co. were also included on the project. Fusion 23 was exactly what I needed. Sometimes you’re not interested in navigating the ever-changing brewery landscape. Sometimes enjoying an ale from a familiar brewer on the lakefront is all you want. Fusion 23 is a Cream Ale, a simple yet alluring style I almost never see. A champagne golden hue, moderately hoppy with hints of fresh apricot, orange and rose hips in the aroma.

You’ll break a sweat walking past all the crazy tourists to get to The Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier..but after that the space is unusually nice. The ballroom has an 80ft domed ceiling and access to a covered balcony. The scene was an open air indoor/ outdoor concert with gorgeous views of Lake Michigan as the backdrop.

 

people went completely f*cking nuts when the Upland sours came out

people went completely f*cking nuts when the Upland sours came out

no, really

no really

 

Accompanying their Beer Camp Across America Road Trip is the Sierra Nevada 12 pack that includes 12 different collaborations. Of these beers the one we remember was the Double Latte with Ninkasi. It’s a Foreign Stout with milk sugar and 40lbs of coffee from the Northeast.

Cigar City was in attendance, Florida Cracker and Jai Alai were the brews they tapped. Highlights for us included those cats from Cigar City just being there. A small part of Beer Camp’s appeal was that Russian River, New Glarus and a Cigar City were all scheduled to make an appearance. Cheers to the Tampa Bay crew for the chance to rock with them on Sunday afternoon. Upland Brewery created quite the frenzy by pouring samples from their highly coveted sour program. Their IPA was on draft all day and every 30 mins they shared a bottle of either Lightsynth or Darksynth. The latter is blend of their Dantalion and Raspberry Lambic ales with New Belgium’s Oscar (the base beer for La Folie).

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Hop Head Farms, Hickory Corners, Michigan

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things get wacky fast when Sean Curry from Sketchbook Brewing is around

things get wacky quick when Sean Curry from Sketchbook Brewing is around

snifters, bro! and you could purchase fresh ones by the case after the party.

snifters, bro! and you could purchase fresh ones by the case after the party

Sierra Nevada is the 2nd largest craft brewery in the US. To celebrate the launch of their 2nd brewery they’re throwing a traveling party from coast-to-coast!  The combination of the venue, the band and the Beer Camp collaborations made for a grand spectacle. This was easily the most mind-blowing time we’ve ever had at Navy Pier. The ballroom sound system played the concert happening on the patio all day long. An excellent alternative if you didn’t want to imbibe outdoors.

–Nkosi

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Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America. July 19th -August 3rd, 2014.  A traveling 7 city festival. Chico, CA, San Diego, CA, Denver, CO, Chicago,IL, Portland, ME, Philadelphia, PA and Mills River, NC

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America. July 19th -August 3rd, 2014. A traveling 7 city festival. Chico, CA, San Diego, CA, Denver, CO, Chicago,IL, Portland, ME, Philadelphia, PA and Mills River, NC

of course we rode the ferris wheel after Beer Camp

of course we rode the ferris wheel after Beer Camp

nkosio

Beverage Consultant, Host of the Chicago Brew Bus, Co-Host of the Chicago Beer Pass Podcast, Co-Founder and heartbeat of the Chicago Beer Geeks..@nkosio on twitter

One Comment:

  1. I was there in 2014 and I don’t remember any of this. LOL Well 2017 is here and it’s back. I was surprised they had it in a nice place like the Grand Ballroom. Many corporate events are held there. Milwaukee’s last year was pretty nice, outside, but difficult to get to. Too many beers to go through. I will try not to throw up in Lake Michigan this time.

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