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Monday, July 26, 2010

Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary

This Friday I decided to taste something that had been in the fridge for awhile, something new and exciting, something my wife picked. Luckily, she made a good choice.

Sierra Nevada Brewery is releasing 4 beers to commemorate their 30th anniversary. They have released 2 of the 4 already and I happened to get a bottle of #2: Charlie, Fred, and Ken's Bock.

As you can see from the picture, this lager came in a 22 oz. bomber that was corked and caged. It sits at 8.3% ABV, hence the "imperial" in the name, and tastes as good as it looks! When I poured into my taster glass a foamy white head bloomed and then faded and left behind a slightly cloudy, golden nectar that I could hardly keep away from my wife. We both smelled the sweetness right away, honey with maybe a bit of the toasted aroma the website describes. It was definitely bold!

The taste was awesome, smooth and sweet with just the right amount of hop bitterness to balance. After sharing this bottle with me my wife declared bock as her new favorite beer style. This bottle happened to be the last one in the store and we bought it because we didn't think we'd see it again. I wish that wasn't the case!

Just a little bit about the name:

Charlie Papazian is a pioneering homebrewer in the US. He founded the Association of Brewers, Great American Beer Festival, and wrote The Complete Joy of Homebrewing of which he has sold over 900,000 copies. It's easy to say that if it wasn't for Charlie we probably wouldn't be homebrewing like we are now, if at all. His book was my first homebrewing book and summarizes most homebrewers philosophy: Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew!

Fred Eckhardt is also a pioneering homebrewer. He is known as a "beer personality" or "beer guru" and frequently lectures and judges at the Lone Star Circuit "Dixie Cup" in Houston, TX - a huge homebrew competition that judges homebrewer, team, and club of the year for the state of Texas. He also wrote The Essentials of Beer Style in 1989 which has become a sort of Rosetta Stone for beer judges everywhere.

Ken Grossman is one of the founders of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, CA in 1980. This is one of the most popular craft breweries in the USA. Their Pale Ale is the second highest selling craft beer in the US, second only to Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

The Bottom Line: I wish I had more than one bottle of this beer! It tasted even better knowing the recipe had been formulated by two of the country's top homebrewers. I'm hoping for two things: #1 - that the rest of the 30th Anniversary series tastes as good as this one and #2 - that I can find it in South Texas!

Style: Imperial Helles Lager
ABV: 8.3%

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