First Look At Eno's Pub, Where We Sample The Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Stout
The night had been described as the "soft opening," but owner Matt Spillers sounded ready to go ahead and declare the place officially open for business, even if the beer cooler wasn't completely stocked yet and only a couple of taps were ready.
Most of the 20-something beers available that night came only in large-format bottles, yet two prices were often listed next to the names of beers on the menu, such as "Avery Reverend 5.50/10," or "Dogfish Red & White 6.50/20." Before I realized that all the beers listed were available in bottles only, I assumed that the first number was the price and the second number referred to how many fluid ounces would be poured. Wishful thinking. Once I realized that the first number was the price for a single glass and the second was the price for the entire bottle, I asked Spillers the obvious question: How can the pub serve a single glass from a large bottle of beer? After all, beer is carbonated and can't be re-corked like a wine bottle. Can it?
Not exactly, but there is a preservation system available for large-format beer bottles, which Spillers planned to buy for the pub. Depending on the beer, he said, the bartender will be able to pour an 8- to 12-oz. glass. The remainder of the bottle could be preserved in the system, which uses a vacuum and CO2 to keep the beer from going flat.
The preservation system wasn't in place that night, but it wouldn't have been necessary for the bottle of Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken's Ale that I bought. One sip and I knew there wouldn't be any left.
A double or imperial American Stout, it is a celebration of Sierra Nevada's 30th anniversary and a "guest brew" by Anchor's Fritz Maytag. After the jump, it gets subjected to the Hophead ranking system.
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken's Ale (Imperial Stout)
Appearance: Opaque black with a thick dark-tan head that looks like a chocolate malt. 10/10
Nose: Cocoa, chocolate and espresso notes with some earthy hops. 9/10
Taste: Roasted malts dominate, giving off impressions of bitter dark chocolate, espresso beans, toffee, some smokiness. It's faintly sweet, and the alcohol provides noticeable warmth. 38/40
Body: Decadently thick and creamy. It's like liquid velvet. 10/10
Finish: It has an oddly unpleasant bitterness on the finish, which is the beer's only fault. 5/10
Style/originality: Overall, this is a wonderful example of an imperial stout. 9/10
Party factor: I paid $20 for a 750-ml bottle of this 9.2-percent ABV beer. That breaks down to a party factor of 0.97, rounding to a score of 1. That low score, of course, is largely due to the mark-up between the beer's retail price and its price at a bar. However, even using the suggested retail price of $9.99, it still only manages a 1.95. We'll go ahead and call it a 2.