The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, CA is a legend in the American craft brewing industry. They were one of America's first craft brewers and are still one of America's very finest. Established in 1980 by craft brewing pioneer Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada is celebrating 30 years of brewing excellence with a very special series of beers. The first in the series is Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary: Fritz and Ken's Ale Stout.
This beer is marketed in beautiful, corked and caged 750 ml bottles retailing for $9 a bottle. Trust me that is a steal for a one off beer of this quality. What makes this beer so very special is this is a collaborative effort with the legendary Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco, CA. Fritz Maytag has 45 years at Anchor, Ken Grossman 30 at Sierra Nevada. From the label:
"Fritz Maytag, owner of San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company, is regarded as the founding father of the craft beer movement. Fritz agreed to guest brew this very special ale with us in honor of our 30th anniversary. As a nod to the dark ales and stout that seduced both Fritz and Ken in the early years, we bring you this pioneering stout, a rich and roasted ale, perfect for aging, and worth of your finest snifter. Enjoy!"
Stylistically this beer could be put in Imperial Stout category coming in at a mighty 9.5% abv. This is a rich, delicious, warming brew with fantastic dark chocolate, coffee, and roasty aromas and flavors, with some nice hop character as well. Both Fritz and Ken were big stout lovers in the early days, and chose a stout to be the beer they would brew together. This is a very memorable one, and for a stout lover like me, a real gem.
Fritz and Ken's Ale pours to an opaque, ink black color, a tight, tan head, that fades with a soft to moderate carbonation. The nose on this beer is very pleasing with aromas of dark chocolate, light roast, and some piney hops. The palate is rich and full on the tongue, with lots of dark chocolate, coffee, and estery flavors of black currant. Fritz and Ken's Ale finishes with more wonderful flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, light roast and currant, then ends with a dry and piney hop finish that lingers.
Outstanding beer with complex aromas and flavors. This beer is one to sip and savor. Bottle conditioned you can lay this one down for a few years and experience it with some age on it. It is outstanding young, and is a must try for any beer lover. For more information about this beer, and the next three beers in the series, visit the Sierra 30 Project at: http://www.sierra30.com/