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Beer Review #119 Sierra 30th Anniversary: Fritz And Ken’s Ale

This is another beer that I tried when I was at Max’s Taphouse. It was actually the beer I was drinking while my wife was having her Espresso Amber Ale. This beer is named for Firtz Maytag (rescuer of Anchor Steam) and Ken Grossman (founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company). This was actually a collaboration brew between the two breweries but is mainly brewed by Fritz, brewing on the Sierra brewhouse.

This beer pours a nice black color which pays homage to the early brews the two men brewed when starting their companies. It comes with a slightly tan head and the head is super fluffy. The nose is big and bold; fully of spicy hops and malt.

Just as the nose promised, the flavor follows in a big, bold fashion. There is a nice grainy, maltyness followed by a nice spicy hop ending. The beer flows very naturally which is a hard feat to do with such bold flavors. This beer comes in at an impressive 10.2% ABV and gives a warming feeling all the way down. They labeled this beer as a black barleywine, which is totally appropriate. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. For such a big beer it was very tasty and balanced. I’m sure these are starting to get in short supply so grab one while you can. I really liked it and this beer should age very nicely. (more…)

Interesting beer bottles

Whenever I got to the beer store I generally have an idea of what I am looking for. Be it a particular style, beer, or brewery, I usually know what I am going to get. The thing is, once I actually get to the store, it is anyone’s guess as to what I actually come out with. I am sure I am an advertisers dream because I get caught up in things that catch my eye. The other problem I have is that I might know exactly what I want, but that doesn’t stop me from taking a look around to get some ideas for next time.

One of the biggest things that can throw me off of a game plan is an interesting looking bottle. If there is a bottle in the display case that is different than your typical 12 or 22 oz bottle, chances are I am going to take a second look at it. If I know my brain properly, the reason behind this is two fold; if the bottle is special the beer must be as well and “that’s different, I like it, I have to own it.” There are plenty of great looking bottles out there from craft brewers and imports alike.

My first taste of Anchor Steam came becasue I thought the bottles were interesting looking. The same goes with Duvel and dozens of other beers. If a brewery has a unique bottle, chances are I will pick it up. I also tend to hold onto the interesting bottles. My partner in brewing crime, Pete, had a nice collection of bottles when we were in college. We kept one bottle of every kind of beer that we drank. The most prized bottles in the collection were those that were unique. I never had a big collection of bottles, I mainly just contributed to Pete’s but I do have a small collection of special bottles. Right now my favorite is the ceramic bottle that I have from Rogue Ales. I’ve never seen a ceramic beer bottle other than those from Rogue. Anyone else out there a sucker from something that looks special?