Sierra Nevada’s beer camp is giving Asheville brewers great behind-the-scenes look

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Gary Glancy, reporter and beer writer for the Hendersonville Times-News, has written a series of solid stories about the experience that Asheville brewers are having in Chico, Calif., at Sierra Nevada Brewing’s “beer camp.” The company invited two representatives from every member of the Asheville Brewers Alliance to attend, and picked up the tab for the trip. It also invited Asheville-area media representatives, but as far as I can tell, Glancy was the only one to attend. (I would like to know if the newspaper paid for Glancy’s trip, or if Sierra Nevada did.)

Sierra Nevada announced earlier this year that it would build its East Coast brewery in Mills River in Henderson County, and company representatives have been busy connecting with the Western North Carolina brewing community. Here’s a quick look at snippets from Glancy’s reporting. Click over to read his stories:

More about Sierra Nevada’s beer camp:

The lucky campers include Andy and Kelly Cubbin, who own and operate Southern Appalachian Brewery on Locust Street in Hendersonville. Kelly Cubbin said that from the very beginning, when Sierra Nevada announced its plans in January to build an East Coast expansion brewery in Henderson County, company founder Ken Grossman told the Cubbins his company would bring the Hendersonville couple to Chico. The trip is part of Grossman’s promise to partner with smaller brewers rather than compete.

However, Beer Camp — a complete immersion into the inner workings of Sierra Nevada’s large-scale operation — takes cooperation to another level. On Sunday, just 48 hours before she was set to arrive in Chico, which some consider the mecca of the craft beer world, Kelly Cubbin called Grossman’s gesture “overwhelmingly generous.”

Beer campers collaborate on beer to be developed on Sierra Nevada equipment, distributed in Asheville breweries:

The camp began for our group bright and early Thursday in a conference room, where Steve Grossman — brewing ambassador at Sierra Nevada and brother of company founder Ken Grossman — led a roundtable discussion among WNC brewers.

The goal, in one hour, was to collaborate on a style of beer and develop a recipe that the group will produce Friday morning on Sierra Nevada’s 20-barrel pilot brewing system.

When it’s complete and ready for consumption, each of the local breweries represented will receive four kegs of their unique creation to be poured for customers at their respective taprooms. Steve Grossman estimates the beer should be shipped out sometime around early August.

Sierra Nevada’s home in California is much like Western North Carolina:

One visit to Bidwell Park in Chico and it becomes obvious why Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. chose Western North Carolina for its East Coast expansion.

In the middle of a workday Tuesday — and with school out for summer in the college town, home of Chico State University — cyclists, runners, walkers and equestrians were everywhere.

A couple picnicked along Chico Creek as a large hawk swooped down on a sycamore tree. Families splashed in swimming holes along the creek, the way they do in the Davidson River. And cyclists — lots and lots of cyclists — pedaled their way along the bike path that runs through the park, the third-largest city park in the country and where the Sherwood Forest scenes of the original 1938 version of “The Adventures of Robin Hood” was filmed.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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