While brand collaborations range from unholy to made-in-heaven, it’s rare to see two direct competitors join forces with pitch-perfect results like Fritz and Ken’s Ale. The upshot of an alliance between two of Northern California’s most respected brewers, Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada, the partnership—while celebrating the latter’s 30th anniversary and steeped in heritage, longstanding mutual admiration and a deeply shared passion for beer-making—ultimately comes down to the delicious malty brew.
With a taste best described as somewhere between chocolate milk and black tea, I became a fan after recently enjoying the ale in its native land. While the dark stout has a nice, creamy head, it surprisingly isn’t too thick, making it easy to drink all night (though with a 9.2% alcohol content, you may want to take it slow) or enjoy with a meal.
The drinkability comes directly from the beer’s origin, which itself goes back to Anchor Steam founder and “godfather of microbreweries” Fritz Maytag’s early forays in beer. As the story goes, when Sierra Nevada’s founder Ken Grossman approached Maytag about co-crafting something to celebrate Sierra’s 30th anniversary, the two met up over beers (naturally). At that meeting, they came up with the idea of basing the new product on the first beer that really spoke to Maytag—a stout he would drink with dinner at a local restaurant after brewing his own all day.
Fritz and Ken’s was the first to launch the series of four beers all limited to 1,000 barrels each and created in collaboration with other local “pioneering brewers” as part of the Sierra 30 project. For best results, we recommend following their lead and drinking them all with a friend.