This bottle struck me with its prestige when I walked by it. Its black label with gold lettering and cognac-like fonts drew me in and gave me pause. Oooo. Special.

Picture 10

Named “Fritz & Ken’s Ale” this is a stout – one of four collaborative brews highlighting the history of Sierra Nevada and the craft brewing spirit over the last thirty years. They’ll be released every few months (the next is coming out in May so it should be around soon). To read more about this effort, check out Sierra Nevada’s page about their 30th anniversary line. This one in particular is for Fritz Maytag (Anchor Brewing) and Ken Grossman, found of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

“A nod to the dark ales and stouts that seduced both Fritz and Ken in the early years, we bring you this pioneering stout, a rich and roasted ale, perfect for aging and worthy of your finest snifter. Enjoy!”

I brought it home and forgot about it for a little while, but after a really long and tough day, it seemed an appropriate brew to break out. It pours black – and I mean black. Its the kind of beer that absorbs all light and never lets it go. I even put a flashlight up to it. But no beams escaped out the other side. Spooky.

The smell of this beer is chocolate and malt – of the most delicious kind. The taste was heavy, thick and really inviting. It had a real richness to it, with a little finish of hop bitterness. I enjoyed that little sting, otherwise it may have been to rich or sweet for me to manage. Chocolatey, roasted, not too bitter, but not lacking in anything. As it warmed it got even more delicious (sweetened up a bit. I got halfway through the glass and got sad that soon I wouldn’t have any more left. This is a really good one, and I am sad to see its last dregs leaving my glass as I type this.

I’m eager to find the next brew in the series, though I hear it will be harder to find each one as they are released. I wish this was something that was not just a special edition, because I’d love to be able to go back to this whenever I’m craving a really great stout. If you see this, do snag it. It is more than worth your time to taste it.