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Brewery Spotlight: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Part 2

Hello readers! The Pizza Press Beer Blog was lucky enough to be invited to Sierra Nevada Beer Camp last month, and part of our experience was a full tour of their facilities in Chico, California. In this post we’ll be sharing up the best photos we took from our tour. Coming up soon: an exclusive look at what it’s like to brew a unique beer at Beer Camp! You won’t get this inside scoop anywhere else. Let’s start the tour!

 

01 canyoutellwevisitedindecember

 

This is the first thing we saw when we walked in. Can you tell we visited in December?

 

 

02 cool equipment

 

There’s cool antique equipment everywhere.

 

03 lotsofmedals

 

They’ve won a fair number of awards…

 

 

04 greatselection

 

Quite a great selection, and these aren’t the only taps!

 

05 flownfromgermany

 

This mash tun was flown in all the way from Germany (in two pieces).

 

06 hops

 

Hops!

 

 

07 morehops

 

More hops!

 

08 happycamper

 

One happy Camper.

 

09 onlywholecone

 

Sierra Nevada uses only whole cone hops in their beers, never pellets.

 

10 bales

 

Bales and bales of hops.

 

11 closeup

 

A close up of some whole cones.

 

12 onemotto

 

One of their mottos can be found on all their hop transport containers.

 

13 foundinhopshipments

 

This is an example of some of the objects found in their hop shipments. That’s why they inspect all of their shipments extremely closely!

 

14 maplesyrup

 

If you ever wondered what a barrel of maple syrup looks like…

 

15 shinyinaction

 

The shiny mash tun in action!

 

16 moreshiny

 

Even the controls are shiny.

 

17 stillingerman

 

All the labeling is still in German.

 

18 freshbigfoot

 

Trying some fresh Bigfoot Barleywine straight from the Brite tanks.

 

19 thickiceonbrighttanks

 

The Brite tanks build up a very thick sheet of ice on the outside. Great for doodling!

 

20 coolmurals

 

The murals on the walls are quite cool.

 

21 morecoolmurals

 

More cool murals.

 

22 solarpanels

 

Sierra Nevada gets a lot of their electricity from solar panels- here are only portion of them!

 

23 crazypipes

 

There’s certainly some crazy piping to be found.

 

24 bigrig

 

Yes, they do have their own semi truck for transporting malt shipments. Sweet paint job!

 

25 fullofmalt

 

That’s a lot of malt.

 

26 barrelroom

 

This is what the inside of Sierra Nevada’s Barrel Room looks like!

 

27 bourbonbarrel

 

There are plenty of bourbon barrels…

 

28 scotchbarrel

 

… scotch barrels…

 

29 barreltasting

 

… port barrels…

 

29 wine barrel

 

… and wine barrels!

 

30 jeff white

 

Jeff White, Sierra Nevada’s Barrel Room Guy, educates the group on barrel aging.

 

31 endresult

 

Some finished product from the Barrel Room. Sierra Nevada’s Trip in the Woods series beer are all barrel-aged.

 

32 sours

 

They have some barrel-aging Sours too!

 

33 malts

 

A very small selection of the malts used in brewing beers.

 

34 hopsafterbrewing

 

This is what hops look like after brewing. Yummy!

 

35 moresmplingwithfrisbee

 

More beer sampling (with specialized Frisbee device).

 

36 careful

 

We tried to stay away from this thing…

 

37 vehicle

 

Sierra Nevada’s famous beer bike! Running entirely on pedal power, it has several taps too!

 

38 closeup

 

A close up of the beer bike’s propulsion system.

 

39 vwbus

 

And they even have a VW Bus (with taps, naturally).

 

40 hotrot

 

Sierra Nevada is home to the first HotRot composting system in the U.S. It transforms the facility’s organic waste into the rich compost used in their hop field, barley field, and garden.

 

41 examininghotrot

 

The company also sends its spent brewing ingredients to local cattle and dairy farms for use as feed. Only roughly 2% of the total materials that come in to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company end up going to a landfill.

 

42 closeup

 

A close up of one of the reasons why they are a platinum-level Zero Waste Facility.

 

43 biodiesel

 

They also make their own biodiesel!

 

44 comparison

 

A visual comparison of the finished biodiesel and the grease it’s made from.

 

45 hopharvestercloseup

 

Be sure not to put your hands in the hop harvester!

 

46 sensorytesting

 

Here’s what it looks like when you participate in their Sensory Testing program. It can be quite difficult to taste which beer samples contain off-flavors.

 

47 explosionproof

 

Is your refrigerator explosion proof?

 

48 lightreading

 

Some light reading in their laboratory.

 

49 sampletesting

 

Ending the day with quality control. Who says work can’t be fun?

 

Big thanks to Sierra Nevada, our amazing guide Byron Wetsch, and our fixer Brian Bagby. We hope you enjoyed the tour, check back soon for The Pizza Press Beer Blog’s exclusive article about brewing at Beer Camp #186!

 

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