What An Anniversary Ale Should Be All About

30 Years Of Greatness

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.

Only the finest crystal for this beer

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!

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J.S. Lewis

Beer advocate. Beer lover. Beer enthusiast. I also care for water.

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