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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…)

Beer #68 Tumbler

Generally fall beers drop into one of two categories; pumpkin or Oktoberfest. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, Ca decided to mix things up a bit, and go with a brown ale. They describe it as an “Autumn Brown Ale.” The year 2010 was clearly marked on bottle. I’m not sure if this is the first year that Sierra Nevada has produced this beer or if it follows with their other seasonal beers.

Tumbler pours a clear brown color and has a slightly off-white head. The nose is pretty malty, as you would expect with this style. There are also some nice roasty notes in there that we stronger than what I had expected. The smell and taste go hand in hand. Lots of malty components followed by some robust roast. The nice thing is that there was a hop bite at the end that did not come through in the nose. The hops really sit on the tongue and they are slightly piney. I generally don’t care for piney flavored hops, but this one really fit the beer nicely.

I think you can really tell that this is a Sierra Nevada beer. The hop profiles are very similar to their other beers, just toned down a bit. There is nothing super complex but it was drinkable. I think this beer would be wonderful on a cold, windy fall day. As I said before it was a nice alternative to the normal fall beers and I hope that other breweries explore other avenues of fall beers. I’m not sure if brown ale is the perfect fit, but it was a nice change. (more…)

Beer Review #39 Celebration Ale

Happy New Year and welcome back to BreweryReviewery.com. Today we are celebrating two things; New Years and our first anniversary. Yup, one year ago today we opened the site  and this marks the 175th post on the site since that date. And what better way to celebrate these two events than with a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.

Celebration Ale pours a nice orange-amber in color  and has a massive, fluffy, off-white head. There are lots of tiny, medium, and large bubbles to be found. The beer is also clear if you are into that type of thing. The nose of the Celebration Ale is complex and hoppy right off the bat. The most immediate smell is citrus hops. followed by a bit of pine odor, and there is also a bit of malt sweetness that sneaks in. Citrus hop is by far the most dominate smell with the others taking a back seat.

The beer’s flavor is also complex. The initial taste is malty while is immediately followed by a citrus flavor. The citrus hop flavor is very refreshing and fits in so well. Then the pine takes over. As I said on my last post, I remembered this tasting like a Christmas tree. And boy does it. The pine flavor dominates all of the early flavors. Even the aftertaste is pine. I find the pine to be not as terrible as I used to but it is still a bit too strong for my liking and it really crashing on the  tongue in a harsh way. I do like that the malt backbone is just strong enough to support the hop.  The interesting thing about this beer that more further you get into the drink the less of the pine flavor you get and the more of the citrus there is.

Celebration Ale has a medium body and nice, lasting carbonation. It comes in at 6.8%. This is surely not a beer for a newcomer to craft beer. Heck, this might not be for people who have had their fair share of craft beers. You have to be an IPA lover to enjoy this beer and also enjoy piney hops. Pine is not my favorite at all, it is probably the hop flavor that I least like. The saving grace for this beer, in my mind, is that the pine fades and the citrus comes through. IF you are a hop head and enjoy other Sierra Nevada products then this beer is right up your alley. (more…)

What are you drinking on New Years?

I did a post back when the Obama administration took office on the beer that I would be drinking for the Inauguration. That lead me to think about the beer that I would be having for New Years. I have been scouring the store shelves looking for the right beer to fit for the day. I finally came across it while at the World Market the other day.

I have decided to go with Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale. What other time of the year gets celebrated as much as New Years. While I can claim that I have never been to a New Years party (is that sad) I can say that I have enjoyed many a tasty brew from the safe confines of my house. Last year I had a helping for three different stouts and a nice barleywine. Celebration Ale is on tap this year and I am super excited. I haven’t had it in just over two years now, which is right around my awakening to craft beer.

So I am excited to get to taste it again and see if I like it as much as I did before. The biggest thing I remember it tasting like is a Christmas tree, but we shall see if that still holds true as my tastes have evolved. Celebration Ale is also appropriate becasue January 1st marks the one year anniversary of BreweryReviewery. Have a happy and safe New Years everyone, I have a bunch of fun plans for the site coming up this year.