Monday, November 30, 2009

INITIAL ENCOUNTERS WITH "LIFE & LIMB"

I swear I wasn't going to drink on Wednesday afternoon. It's just that CITY BEER STORE in San Francisco had this beer I needed to pick up for an upcoming east coast/west coast beer trade throwdown where I'm representing the left coast. At least I thought they did. So there I was, stuck at maybe my favorite non-domestic longitude & latitude in the City, and I glanced up at the what's-on-draft board and saw that they had LIFE & LIMB, this winter's latest and most highly-hyped collaboration beer. The players are SIERRA NEVADA BREWING - who are on a killer win streak right about now - and DOGFISH HEAD, who've never stopped riding one. LIFE & LIMB is a limited beer, my friends. Like, you see it & you should probably start reaching for your wallet - before someone else does. Let's hear what they have to say about it:
Life & Limb is a collaborative effort, the brainchild of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Life & Limb is a 10% ABV strong, dark beer that defies style characteristics- brewed with pure maple syrup from the Calagione family farm in Massachusetts and estate barley grown on the Grossman "farm" at the brewery in Chico, CA. The beer is alive with yeast-a blend of both breweries' house strains-bottle conditioned for added complexity and shelf life, and naturally carbonated with birch syrup fresh from Alaska.

Life & Limb is dedicated to the family of beer drinkers and enthusiasts worldwide who continue to support the little guys, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who risk life and limb to shape the vibrant craft-brewing community.

Hey, that's us! Check this out - there's also a "LIMB & LIFE", which is a low-ABV session ale made with some of the runoff from its big brother. Hmm. City Beer Store had that one too, but like I've said before, I'm not an afternoon drinking man. It's all about the nightlife for me, baby. I'll be up at 9:45pm long after you've gone to sleep.

So, in three words: believe the hype. This is a tremendous beer. It's thick and dark black ("it's like how much more black could it be? The answer is none more black"). Very strong, very woody, and tasting very much like a thick barleywine. A delicious chewy sensation defines the mouthfeel, and there are roasted barley tastes, big hops, and a faint smoked sensation. I think that's the part of it I like the best and which makes it so unique. Really, this is something you'd find only in America's wild, wild brewing culture right about now, from two guys who've helped to define said culture without codifying it. Fantastic beer. Should I encounter it again, I shall pounce. 9/10.

7 comments:

Dan O'Leary said...

Your blog is now officially costing me money. I knew this was a beer I wanted to try, but now I absolutely have to have it. I'm sending out emails trying to find this beer in the Seattle area.

Any beer that can be "none more black" is a must have.

Prost!

Aaron Goldfarb said...

Yes, Life & Limb was awesome but the reviews on Limb & Life (which I too have yet to try) seem to be more along the lines of: "Shit Sandwich."

Dan O'Leary said...

I called around and talked to a Sierra Nevada rep in Seattle. From the sounds of it you'll have much better luck finding Life & Limb in the SFO area than Seattle. Only 1 case (12 bottles) is being delivered to a few select accounts in Seattle. 61 cases for all of Western WA, 45% of the batch is distributed in the SFO area, 45% goes to the East Coast for Dogfish Head. The other 10% we beg borrow and steal for. Guess that's why it's called Life & Limb.

Squaby said...

I had it on tap at Jupiter in Berkeley on Dec. 1st. Enjoyed it very much - the cognac of beers. (they also have Drake's Jolly Rodger on tap as well as Deschuttes Jubelale,..

Anonymous said...

Jay,
You're submitting a collaboration with an East Coast brewer as your West Coast entrant? Won't that mean the East Coast wins by default?

-Selvig

Rational Realist said...

I must be living under a rock because I missed the news on this beer. I saw it on the board at a brewpub and tried it about two weeks ago knowing nothing about it. I did not think much of it, but after reading your post I realize I must have had the little brother, Limb & Life. No way it was 10% abv, and the mouthful was weak. It did not match the beer's roastiness. After your review, I want to try the real thing.

Dan O'Leary said...

Today I got my hands on a bottle. One of only 12 received by the local bottle shop in the Southern Seattle area. My most obsessed about beer to date, now it's just a question of when I drink it?