Congratulations Sierra Nevada on 30 years of brewing excellence!!!

Over the course of this year Ken Grossman is joining together with some of the key pioneers is the craft brewing industry to create some special brews for Sierra’s thirty year celebration. If you have not checked out this site yet please do … it will inspire you (or make you cry as in my case). These men are heroes to countless beer enthusiasts and entrepreneurs around the globe. The first celebratory beer to hit the market is a collaboration with Fritz Maytag the founder of Anchor Brewery.

Bold and glorious! These were the first words that came to mind as I hoisted the snifter to my mouth. The aromas is a superb melody of highly roasted malts/burnt grains, robust coffee notes, and a very strong hop presence. They were not as much fruity, but rather floral and piney. At one point, I thought I was standing in an uncharted forest of pine trees in the Pacific Northwest. Both the hops and malt supported each other brilliantly in that they brought out or heightened the other’s qualities. The piney-like hop character was a great fit with the dark malt body. With an ABV of 9.2% there was also an alcoholic component that added a spicy warming effect. Chocolaty highlights where noticeable, but for the most part, this beer stood out as fresh and bold like a dark roasted coffee. The appearance was simply gorgeous with a jet black liquid and substantial, creamy compact frappuccino head.

The taste was just as spectacular! A shockingly bitter beginning that grows on you with each sip played out into a hoppy middle and finished with an astringently burnt grain flavor that served as a bookend to the start. I’d say this is a combo of Anchor Porter and Sierra Stout. Both are wonderful beers that seemed present in this collaboration. Both breweries and brewers were represented. The hoppiness was typical of Ken’s hoppy Sierra beers while the malt aspect was evidence of Fritz’s Anchor beers. For the amount of alcohol that I smelled it was hidden well by the rich and robust flavors (with a minor hint of smokiness).

The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy. The carbonation was just enough to keep it from being too viscous. With regards to the aftertaste it was crisp and delightful. Dark coffee and chocolate danced to a hoppy tune on my palate. This Stout had personally and depth characteristic of Sierra Nevada’s adventurous spirit and longevity.

ABV: 9.2%

Grade: A