Jerry Goes to Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, Brings Back Lost Guy Rye Ale
Our very own Jerry Hartley was invited to participate in Beer Camp #77 at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA) earlier this year. He survived the trip (and the hangover), and now the beer he helped create is finally ready to be served at the pub! On Friday, September 14, we will celebrate by debuting Beer Camp #77’s Lost Guy Rye on draft and serve it in flights alongside the four beers Sierra Nevada released in this year’s Beer Camp Variety Pack.
Originally, Beer Camp was started as a competition to give beer enthusiasts and homebrewers the opportunity to win a trip to Sierra Nevada to brew their very own beer. Hopeful attendees submit videos to plead their case as to why they should be extended an invite. The public and members of the Sierra Nevada crew then vote to make sure only the best videos and most passionate beer lovers earn a bid to Beer Camp. Sierra Nevada still uses the competition approach to Beer Camp, but they also invite a handful of folks that are in the beer industry in some form or another to have a chance at the Beer Camp experience (this is how Jerry got in). Beer Camp members receive VIP treatment with in depth tours of Sierra Nevada’s brewhouse, hop and barley fields, cellars, hop room, Quality Assurance lab, and packaging areas. It truly is an all access experience, but all of that pales in comparison to when the members of each Beer Camp get to brainstorm and create a unique beer for limited production. Although a long shot, these beers could possibly be included in the next nationally distributed Beer Camp Variety Pack or even added to the brewery’s portfolio (as was the case with Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum).
Jerry’s Beer Camp journey was made possible by an invitation extended by Tom Blanch, Sierra Nevada rep for Alabama. Jerry checked his schedule, as if it really mattered, and shortly after called Tom to inform him he would be attending. After accepting his spot in Beer Camp #77, an odd act of fate made it so Jerry received his first correspondence from the brewery on Friday, April 13th, which just so happened to be our fifth anniversary. He saw this as a good omen and eagerly awaited Beer Camp time to roll around. Once he arrived at the brewery, Jerry was informed that he was the first person to come from Alabama to be a part of a camp. He could not confirm if this was entirely true, but he ran with his exclusive status and says one of his more memorable contributions was introducing fellow camp members and folks at Sierra Nevada to Alabama’s very own, craft beer loving Representative Alvin Holmes and his catch phrase “what’s wrong wit the beer we got?”. Jerry sums up his trip as simply, “Very cool company, nice people, good guys, great experience [where I] learned a lot”.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the beer! Jerry’s Beer Camp group consisted of people from all over the Southeast, including folks from Dallas, Athens (GA), Raleigh, Pensacola, and Orlando. This group of beer lovers wanted to prove that the Southeast knows great beer and quickly began email correspondence to set up their game plan for Beer Camp. Right off the bat, most of the crew was leaning toward rye being a major component of their brew, which just so happened to be an ingredient that Jerry was eye balling. From there, the group agreed to three hops (German Magnum for bittering, and Aurora & Spalt Select for aromatics) and six malt varieties (Pale, Pilsner, Munich, Carafa III, Rye & Smoked) to be the base of their beer. The recipe they had before them followed their collective vision, but there was no way to nail down exactly what type of beer this was going to be. What they created was an ale that defies labels and pushes the boundaries of style guidelines. What they created was:
“Lost Guy Rye: Named for a lonely Beer Camper that never found his way, Lost Guy Rye is something of an unusual brew. Sharing similarities with an English mild, a dry stout, and exceptionally dry brown ale, this dark-yet-light-drinking ale is a unique beer. With notes of chocolate, roasted malt, a hint of smoke and the signature peppery spice of rye it is extraordinarily complex for such an easy-drinking beer.”
Lost Guy Rye lives up to that description of being easy drinking by weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 44 IBUs. This is an incredibly small batch brew that is available on draft only at very select establishments.
To make it really easy for you to try Lost Guy Rye, we will be having a special release event at the pub on Friday, September 14th. To sweeten the pot a bit, we will also be tapping kegs of all four Beer Camp beers Sierra Nevada released in this year’s Variety Pack. Here are those four brews and their descriptions:
- Sierra Nevada Oatmeal Stout (Beer Camp #45) – This big oatmeal stout is midnight black in color-with a big roasty, mocha-like aroma. It has a silky body from the use of rolled oats, and a round and lasting finish. Perfect as an after-dinner treat.
- Sierra Nevada Imperial Red Ale (Beer Camp #65) – This Imperial Red Ale takes the intense hop profile found in a traditional double IPA and turns up the malt. It has big aromatic hop notes of grapefruit, peach and melon – balanced by a smooth and surprisingly robust malt body.
- Sierra Nevada Imperial Pilsner (Beer Camp #43) – Packing a big hop-forward punch and bright crisp finish, this golden pilsner features a hearty dose of “sticky,” resinous Crystal and Pacifica dry hops, which balance the light-bodied yet complex malt backbone.
- Sierra Nevada Floral IPA (Beer Camp #53) – This unique take on the traditional IPA style pairs the bold and intense aromas of whole-cone hop “flowers” with aromatic natural rose hips and petals for complex aromas and unexpected flavors.
At this event, we will have all five beers available for you to enjoy as a special Beer Camp Flight so you can sample each one in responsible fashion. Our supply of the Beer Camp Variety beers is limited, so you will only be able to order them on draft as a flight. If you would like a full pour of one of those beers, we have a limited amount of bottles that will be available as supplies last. During the event, Jerry should be around to discuss Lost Guy Rye with you and answer questions about his Beer Camp experience.
This event is sure to be one that will go down in the annals of J. Clyde lore, so please join us on September 14th to share in the unique and memorable experience Jerry was able to have at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp by raising a glass of this one-of-a-kind brew he played a part in creating! This is J. Clyde history, folks!