These brews were released in 2010 and I’ve had the opportunity to try all of the 30th Anniversary beers in the past. This one in particular was released first. Three more followed as the year went along and I was able to set several of each aside for aging. I figured it was about time to give the Fritz & Ken’s Ale a proper review.
These special brews were given their own website, sierra30.com, so let’s journey over there and see what the commercial description has to say about this one.
Fritz Maytag, owner of San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company, is regarded as the godfather of the craft brewing movement. Fritz agreed to guest brew this very special ale with us in honor of our 30th anniversary. As a nod to the robust black ales that seduced both Fritz and Ken in the early years, we bring you this Pioneers Stout, a rich and roasted ale, perfect for aging, and worthy of your finest snifter. Enjoy!
Time for a sip.
This beer came in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it contained an ABV of 9.2%.
It poured to a beautiful, shimmering black color. No highlights at all shown through. The crown was khaki in color and it was exceptionally well sized. The texture was very smooth, soft and creamy. The retention time was incredible. The head hung around forever it seemed like. The lacing was thick and sticky. It left thin “sip” rings for nearly the entire drink. Simply, a gorgeous looking liquid.
The bouquet was awesome. A ton of roasted malts. Hints of tobacco and “baseball glove” leather. Tones of licorice along with accents of dark chocolate and roasted coffee bean. It revealed a tiny bit of wood and it was also a wee bit charred smelling. Only a minor waft of alcohol was discovered. It wasn’t as strong as I remember, but I’m sure the age had something to do with that. The nose was complex, balanced and very well harmonized.
The taste followed suit with well blended flavors of roasted and toasted malts. The bittering chocolate seemed to be a bit more prevailing than it was in the aroma. Savors of burnt toast, deep roasted coffee and semi-sweet licorice were accounted for also. Only a very minor relish of vanilla and wood were brought into being as the brew warmed and was allowed to breathe. Like the fragrance, the alcohol had really mellowed and become more congruent with the overall profile. Magnificent.
The mouthfeel was full bodied. Smooth, creamy, slick, viscous, dry and chewy. The carbonation swayed toward the lower side and a suitable amount of warmth was welcomed and enjoyed. A desirable expanse of flavor was left coating the palate after each sip.
Of the four 30th Anniversary beers produced, I’d say that this one was my favorite. It’s such an outstanding drink. Like I mentioned, I had a few of these when fresh, but they have really matured with time and become better in my opinion. It has gotten rid of the rough edges and evolved into a way more drinker friendly beverage. It’s dang near quaffable for such a big beer, however I’d advise that it be sipped. The 9.2% ABV could really get on top of a person quickly if they were not careful. Unfortunately, this was my last one. It’s all good though because I may still be able to run across another bottle somewhere. On a side note, I happened to email Sierra Nevada and asked how long this beer would keep before it started to loose some of its luster and the reply I received said that they would start to diminish after about three years. So, I’m guessing it’s probably peaking at the moment. If you guys have a bottle of the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken’s Ale that’s put aside you may want to break it out and give it a try. I think that you will really enjoy it. Be sure to tell me about your experience if you so wish.
Thanks for reading and commenting everyone. I really appreciate it.
Until next time. Cheers.
Score: 4.75 out of 5