Sierra Nevada Beer Geek Tour

Stephanie, her dad Bill, and I took Sierra Nevada’s Beer Geek Tour on Friday. Here’s how they describe this tour:

Saddle up for an intimate, 3-hour tour into the depths of what makes Sierra Nevada tick. Really, this is leave-a-trail-of-bread-crumbs detailed, so we’re keeping groups small (5 new best friends for you!) and the experience big. We’ll talk craft beer history before inviting you to gawk at the traditional German control board in our 100-barrel East Brewhouse, breathe in the glorious aromas next door in our open fermentation room, venture through our cellar where you’ll sample brews right from the tanks, and then you’ll—what’s that? You’re already convinced? Excellent. Prepare your palate, fill your fanny pack with snacks, and we’ll see you soon.

We ended up only having one other person on our tour and stretched it to closer to four hours. Here are some photos I took along the way.

Our tour guide Brad gives us a quick history lesson of beer in the US and Sierra Nevada. Sipping on Pale Ales and going through all the ingredients that are used to create one.

Our tour guide Brad gives us a quick history lesson of beer in the US and Sierra Nevada. Sipping on Pale Ales and going through all the ingredients that are used to create one.

Fermentation tanks

Fermentation tanks

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Torpedo dry hopping device. They fill these full of hops and pump beer (not just their “Torpedo” IPA) through them for 3-5 days.

Narwhal stout aging in bourbon barrels. They had barrels scattered around the brewery. They're planning on expanding their barrel aging and dedicating more space to it.

Narwhal stout aging in bourbon barrels. They had barrels scattered around the brewery. They’re planning on expanding their barrel aging and dedicating more space to it.

Spent grains in the a mash tun.

Spent grains in a mash tun.

 

One of the iconic copper kettles.

One of the iconic copper kettles.

BE CAREFUL FALLING ICE

BE CAREFUL
FALLING ICE

Stainless steel kettle.

Stainless steel kettle.

Stephanie and Bill put on their safety glasses and ear plugs before we enter the filtration area.

Stephanie and Bill put on their safety glasses and ear plugs before we enter the filtration area.

Getting samples of Pale Ale from the tank with a "pig tail."

Getting samples of Pale Ale from the tank with a “pig tail.”

Part of the canning line.

Part of the canning line.

 

Empty Torpedo cans move through the canning line.

Empty Torpedo cans move through the canning line.

We tasted a few beers along the way from tanks with a "pig tail" including the new Snow Wit. The real treat though was at the end of the tour when we tried a couple Beer Camp beers that will likely never be bottled. Double Latte Stout and Belgium with Pink Peppercorn.

We tasted a few beers along the way from tanks with a “pig tail” including the new Snow Wit. The real treat though was at the end of the tour when we tried a couple Beer Camp beers that will likely never be bottled. Double Latte Stout and Belgium with Pink Peppercorn.

 

The Beer Geek Tour only costs $25 and at the end they give you a growler and an exclusive Beer Geek shirt.

The Beer Geek Tour only costs $25 and at the end they give you a growler and an exclusive Beer Geek shirt.

We had a fantastic time on the Beer Geek tour. Brad was a great guide and answered all our questions. These tours have to be scheduled in advance and there are only two offered each week, both on Fridays.  $25 really is a bargain for such an in depth tour, then they go and give you a growler and a shirt that would probably retail for more than that at the end.

If I had to find a complaint it would have been nice to see more of a couple areas. I would have liked to see the Beer Camp pilot brewery which we skipped. I’m not sure how feasible it would be at a production brewery, but it would have also been really awesome to get a more involved tour of the lab equipment or some hands on in the sensory lab.

Sierra Nevada’s regular free tours are excellent and more than enough for the casual fan, but if you’ve made it this far through this blog post you will definitely find the Beer Geek tour worth it.

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