May 7, 2010

Sierra Nevade Fritz and Ken’s Ale

Like each and everyone one of you out there, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this four beer 30th Anniversary series from Sierra Nevada like my life depended on it.

There was only one problem. As word got out that it was in stores and as the jealous rage within me built up after each subsequent review that I read, it was looking grim for my chance at tasting the first in the line of celebratory beers. I just couldn’t find it any where close to home.

Luckily, a coworker of mine (whom has only recently seen the craft beer light) happened upon a couple of bottles, one of which he graciously gave to me. It’s good to have friends. Ironically, as fate would have it, the very next day I was able to snag myself a few bottles for storing. I guess the timing was right.


Fritz and Ken’s Ale pours a near black with a light tan head that faded very slowly, leaving a decent lacing on the glass.


This brew smells damned good. The nose is full of roasted malt and coffee with a nice helping of chocolate. The nature of the aroma leans more toward the smokier end of the roast spectrum, but isn’t quite in the burnt/charred region. The higher ABV (9.2%) is detectable upon further whiffs, but it’s subtle.


The taste of this beer lives up nicely to the welcoming nose it presented. Along with the roasted character that carries more of a smokey char than the nose is a subtle bitterness that’s delicate in nature that blends in nicely with the chocolate notes. The mouthfeel is pretty full and smooth. I love the finish on this beer as the coffee and roast profile lingers wonderfully. This is a much more earthy stout than some of the sweeter stuff I’ve been drinking lately.


When I think of a stout, I don’t normally associate Sierra Nevada with the style, but after enjoying this anniversary beer, I really hope they do more work in the stout area. The earthier more roasted tones the beer carries make for a fairly complex yet smooth drinking beer. I’m also really intrigued to see how this one ages. I’ve got three more bottles that I’ve put aside, but might pick up a couple more to enjoy while the beer is young.

Rating: 4.5/5

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