Tuesday 11 March 2014

Sierra Nevada at Craft Beer Co. Islington: A Recap

We learned a few things from the Sierra Nevada event last night at the Craft Beer Co. Islington, such as:

1. Londoners get pretty excited over Sierra Nevada. Just look at how many people showed up. To be fair, Sierra Nevada is a fantastic brewery, and the brother (Steve Grossman) of the founder (Ken Grossman) was at the event last night. Steve only spoke for a few minutes but I guess he was around to speak to the punters one-on-one if anybody wanted. Given the crowds I couldn't be bothered to make my way through the chaos to reach him. In case anyone's wondering, Steve is standing by the beer fridges in the photo below (i.e. the second quadrant).

That's a very busy pub.

2. The Craft Beer Co. Islington lacks adequate ventilation. I suppose enough rabid drinkers will steam up any pub; suffice it to say, there were enough drinkers present last night.

3. Sierra Nevada doesn't always hit the mark. I tried their Two Headed Ruthless Rye last night and, to be frank, I was not a fan. That said, three of my drinking companions also got halves of this rye double IPA and one of them quite enjoyed it, while the other two thought it was just OK. Perhaps my days of loving any 10%+ ABV double IPA are simply behind me. But I just found the Two Headed a bit too aggressive in terms of both the alcohol presence (it's 10.4%) and the bitterness, which consisted primarily of extremely abrasive pine.

It took me a while to finish the Two Headed.

4. Tom Cadden: legend. (But I guess we already knew that.)

The Tom Cadden Stamp of Approval.

5. The Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken's Ale is drinking rather nicely at the moment. This imperial stout came out almost exactly four years ago when Sierra Nevada was celebrating its 30th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, they brewed a series of beers featuring guest brewers, including American beer luminaries such as Charlie Papazian, Fred Eckhart, Jack McAuliffe and, in the case of the beer at hand, Fritz Maytag. At four years old, this beer is certainly showing some signs of its age (namely, moderate oxidation), but there are definitely some interesting elements. I got lots of dark, dried and leathery fruits, bittersweet baking cocoa, sturdy roasted malts and overarching burnt wood. If you happen to have a bottle I would recommend opening it sooner rather than later. Many thanks to Paul for sharing.

Good beer.

All in all I had fun last night. It was certainly a shame that the original shipment of beers for the event froze in transit (and were thus not drinkable) but the replacement line-up definitely kept people happy - I gather that by the end of the night only the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was left standing.

Until next time.

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