Today's post bring's us the 3rd installment of Sierra Nevada's amazing 30th Anniversary Beers. For those keeping score at home, so far, we've had the Fritz and Ken Stout, and the Charlie, Fred, and Ken Helles. Each of the anniversary brew's are collaborations between Sierra Nevada owner Ken Grossman and a pioneer in the craft beer industry. The newest beer is not brewed with just anyone, but with someone many call the father of Microbrewery Jack McAuliffe. Mr McAuliffe founded a tiny little brewery in California called New Albion Brewery in 1977. The brewery operated until 1982. Mr. McAuliffe wasn't brewing any extreme beers by today's standards, instead it was full flavored beers, mostly English style ales. Back then that was extreme, it was such a change from the American Adjunct lagers that were pretty much the only thing available. Unfortunately the demand on Mr. McAuliffe was too much, the money wasn't coming in and New Albion was closed. Neat fact: The brewery equipment made it's way to Mendocino Brewery. Since the closure of New Albion, Mr. McAuliffe has stayed out of the public eye, however he did help Mr. Grossman in the brewing of this beer, a Black Barleywine.
The Beer: This Black Barleywine weighs in at a hefty 10.2% and pours a very dark brown with a thick taupe colored head. Hoppy on the nose, citrus peel, grapefruit, roasted malts, sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied. Massive hop flavor, a grapefruit-y punch if you will. It follows with a tartness, milk chocolate, then slams you back to earth with tongue saturating hoppiness. There is a sweetness in this beer, caramel-y, almost notes of creme brulee, some fruity notes, but yes it is the hops that leave the lasting impression on this beer. This is a great beer, so far my favorite of the three. This one gets a strong A from me. Here's what the folks at BA think.