Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken’s Ale

Where Spotted: The Wine Specialist, 2115 M St. NW

Price: $12.99/750 ml

Hopping Back: Before everyone and their mom was aging beer in whiskey barrels and pumping it with vanilla and molasses and unicorn milk, “extreme” imperial stouts were practically quaint in their subtle richness. This epitomic stout is the first of four anniversary-marking limited editions. Balancing sweet and roasty flavors at 9.2 percent abv, it offers reprieve from the alcoholic arms race.

Pounding Fathers:“Fritz” is Anchor Brewing Company owner Fritz Maytag, who bought Anchor in 1965, saved it from bankruptcy, and set the standard for American pale ale. Also collaborating with Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman on this series are noted beer writers Charlie Papazian and Fred Eckhardt as well as brewer Jack McAuliffe, whose now defunct New Albion Brewery, founded in 1976, may have been America’s first microbrewery.

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