Over the holidays, I had the chance to have one of Sierra Nevada’s 30th Anniversary collaboration beers, the Fritz and Ken’s Stout, from the mind of Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing and Fritz Maytag. Fritz is the great-grandson of the founder of the Maytag Corporation, headquartered in Newton, Iowa (which is also the hometown of Madhouse Brewing). He essentially saved American craft beer in 1965 when he purchased the Steam Beer Brewing Company in San Francisco, now the maker of Anchor Steam. The brewery was about to close its doors when Fritz bought the company and saved it, along with craft brewing in the process.
This beer was actually purchased about a year ago, but has been in cellar temperatures (around 50 degrees) since then.
I must say that this beer was worth the wait. It poured very dark, with a tan head. It smelled like roasted coffee and chocolate. When I tasted it, I was very impressed. It was a very nice, thick stout with a bunch of mouthfeel. I felt it was almost porter-like because it was very thick, smooth, and chocolatey.
It was a great beer, and I am very disappointed that I didn’t save more.
Did you try the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken’s Stout? What was your take?
While at the family’s for the holidays, I had a chance to try quote a few brews, including Rip Tide, by the Scottish brewery Brew Dog.
The beer smelled a lot like coffee with hints of chocolate. At first taste, it was a smooth, slightly sweet beer with a very roasty component. There was a very slight amount of carbonation. It’s a beer that will sneak up on you because it doesn’t taste very strong, but contains 8% ABV.
Coincidentally, while I was at the store, the associate mentioned that if I was interested, they had a bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin from Brew Dog. At 32% ABV, it’s one of the strongest beers available, but I wasn’t willing to shell out the $100-$150 for a 12 oz bottle. Maybe one of these days I’ll take him up on that offer.
While in Tennesse, I had a chance to try a bottle of Vrienden (Flemish for ‘friend’), a collaboration between Belgian beer specialists New Belgium and Allagash Brewing. It was a Belgian style ale brewed with hibiscus and endive.
It had a bit of a slight ‘funky’ Belgian smell from the Brettanomyces and Lactobacillis. The flavor started sweet then finished with slight Belgian funkyness. It was definitely an interesting beer, but unfortunately, not one of my favorites. To me, it seemed that the sweetness and hibiscus flavors were overpowering. I have a feeling that the beer may have been better if I would have been able to age it for a period of time.
I was working in Tennessee this past week, and I had a chance to check out a few beers I normally don’t get a chance to try. One of the selections I had a chance to sample was Abita Andygator.
It was a hellesdoppelbock, making it stronger than the typical helles. My overall impression: it was nice and malty, and was a very drinkable beer. There was a bit of a fruity scent with an initial sweet taste. It had a nice golden color, and a good malt flavor that carried through to the aftertaste. There was little to no hop flavor or aroma.
Have you tried Andygator by Abita? What did you think?
Boulevard Brewing recently celebrated their 21st anniversary, and to celebrate, the brewery created a fresh hop pale ale. Last week, I had a chance to grab a bottle.
First off, it poured a bit darker than I expected. It looked more in the range of an IPA color (more of a caramel color) than a pale ale color. The first sniff gives a bit of citrus on the nose, with a hint of grassy from the fresh hops.
The taste was very similar to a pale ale, with a hop forward flavor, giving way to the malt backbone. This was different than other fresh hop ales I have had because this beer had more of a peach flavor, with just a hint of citrus flavor.
It was a good beer that makes me want another, just to try and break down the complexity of it.
Have you tried the 21st Anniversary Ale from Boulevard? What was your take on it?