Base Camp Brewing Company of Portland Oregon has their foot in Northern California (Humbolt County, Shasta County, and the South Bay), and are looking towards Sacramento and San Francisco to feature their beers. There are no draft accounts in California yet, but you will find their distinct cans in some select markets. Yes, those are cans, not bottles pictured, and with such unique packaging they will not go unnoticed. Eco-friendly packaging that the brewery claims treats beer better than anything else. Certainly lightweight and eye-catching, the beers are bottle-conditioned ("can-conditioned" would be the obvious new term though), for best shelf life. As for the beers, they are not the typical styles featured by craft breweries. Nor are they the classic styles, or even those most beer enthusiasts have heard of (or would have thought of).
In-Tents India Pale Lager is in the style of an American IPA (a classic style using ale-like warm fermentation), but with the word "lager" used, it must be assumed this uses colder fermentation. This beer shows those effects with the smoothness, and the only fruitiness noticed by the panel was the grapefruit-like hop character, typical of Cascade. This shows an herbal aroma as well, and aggressive bitterness that is slightly lingering (but not nearly as much as most IPAs), which makes this easy to drink, yet satisfying to those liking hoppy beers. 6.8%abv. is typical of American IPAs.
Ripstop Rye Pils is another non-style (presumably unique to this brewery), and shows the spiciness of rye, but also the smoothness of a lager. 5.7%abv. and a moderately high bitterness that lingers slightly. This helps with not wiping out tastebuds, making this easy to drink. Pretty much an aggressive Pilsner, but with Rye malt to add a unique edge.
S'more Stout is 7.7% abv. and dessert-like in character. There's a true-chocolate aroma, along with some vanilla bean. This has a roasty, coffee-like flavor, with slight chocolate. Coffee takes over in the aftertaste, and this is bitter like most Stouts.
See the rest of their beer lineup to see what might be available in Northern California soon. Base Camp Brewing Company will be at the Boonville Beer Fest (this will be the 18th year) May 3rd. This four-hour event is a legend amongst beer festivals.
Open seven days a week at 930 SE Oak St., Portland OR 97214. Website: www.basecampbrewingco.com
The tasting panel consisted of Sean O'Brien, Stacy Collins, and the Sacramento Craft Beer Examiner.