My local beer cave has been selling bottles of Sierra Nevada’s 30th Anniversary brews for half price. Now by anybody’s standards less than five dollars for 24 ounces of beer is a damn bargain, but less than five for Sierra’s special 30th Anniversary brews, well that’s a steal.
For their 30th (that’s 1980-2010) Sierra Nevada reached out to pioneers of the craft beer world including Mr. Anchor Brewing himself Fritz Maytag, and beer advocate, author and judge: Charlie Papazian. With the world-renowned help and Ken Grossman at the helm four separate brews were concocted and released at different times throughout 2010.
I have had the pleasure of sampling two of the anniversary brews: Charlie, Fred & Ken’s Bock – an Imperial Helles Bock – and Jack & Ken’s Ale: A Black Barleywine. This post is mostly about the latter.
To be honest Jack & Ken’s Ale really reminded me of a bigger more complex version of Sierra’s Bigfoot Ale – also a barleywine. Regardless of the resemblance I am a huge fan of barleywine style beers. I love the sweetness and the higher alcohol content. I can have just one BW and be good to go for a while, if not all night.
And there in lies the essence of a barleywine – you’re supposed to take it slow. Let the ale warm in your hands and discover new aromas and flavors as you do so. It’s a slow beer. There should be no ‘slamming’ one of these puppies. They’re just too elegant to be taken advantage of; hence the use of the crystal snifter – classy!