Friday, September 9, 2011

Life and Limb 2

Today I'm drinking Life and Limb 2 brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. This is a collaborative beer between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. I missed Part 1 last year, but these guys brewed more this year and there was not the mad dash to grab it in one instant this time around. You can see from the first link above there that they made a website just for this beer. They have some technical details about the beer, a story, and some food pairings. But what I liked most were the photos (Sierra Nevada, feel free to add some of mine, LOL) and the video featuring Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione speaking about the brewing and collaborative rationale and process. It's fun and informative (and Sam doesn't rap). You should check it out.

The label art on the corked and caged wine bottle is beautiful as usual, depicting two intertwined trees decorated with all kinds of fun goodies, a syrup tap and barrel, and a mountain lake. Now, I was going to type the entire stories from the front and back label, but I decided you can get most of the gist from either reading my pictures, going to the site, or being happy with my summary here.

The LIFE is the beer with yeast living and working in every bottle. The LIMB is the birch and maple tree which provide the syrups and unique flavors of the beer. Another thing I learned and found interesting is that the maple syrup comes from Sam's family farm. The front label ends with, "Sip slowly with friends and loved ones; savor--because one could do better than be a swigger of birches." Anyway, I drank it alone. I don't have any friends.

I almost lost some beer on the pour, giant head. Syrupy caramel, molasses, and sweet brown sugar aroma. Sweet caramel and maple meet 10.2% alcohol right up front, first thing, no screwing around. Thick texture yet creamy smooth. Lots of brown sugar and candy sugar (which based on the video seems should be attributed to the tree syrups) come next. Even some raisins and cherries are there if you imagine them. Carbonation is high but also very fine.

My initial thought was that this was a bit too sweet, though the flavors are excellent. I also noted that I thought that the beer was fairly simple, lacking many nuances. But you know what? I had an entire wine bottle to work with. As I savored this beer for over an hour, it came to almost room temperature, and I liked it more and more along the way. The sweet edge was taken off by the alcohol with was actually disguised more. Double bonus. Toffee and some spicy flavors dodged in and out. This beer really grows on you and while the sweetness never goes away, you will forget about it.

I have three questions. 1. Can Sierra Nevada tell me the artist for the label? 2. Can Ken Grossman send me a few signed labels? I'd keep one or two and give the rest away in some kind of fun beer-blogger contest thingy. 3. When will Sam and Ken be down in South Florida? Total Wine would be an excellent host for a gathering, and if not, you guys can come over to my house for a nice dinner. Bring your families. By the way, Sierra Nevada and Dogfish are my two favorite breweries. And I'd have said that even if this beer sucked. Really!

Great beer. Still finishing the bottle. Looking forward to Life and Limb 3!

Coombs Family Farms 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup Grade B, 32-Ounce Jug

Beyond the Pale: The Sierra Nevada Brewery Story -- Ken Grossman


Jason said...

I just had this beer this weekend. I agree with you as it warmed up the better the beer got. The alochol was hidden very well. I was really surprised how much I liked and how smooth it was. I went the next day and bought two more. .

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Jason. For sure better warmer than right out of the fridge. What I couldn't believe is how long it took me to drink the whole bottle. Over an hour. LOL

Carolyn Jean said...

You should email Sam personally! I've talked with him via email several times and he's very open to suggestions.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Carolyn.

I invited him and his family over for dinner. I'm pretty sure we'll talk beer when he takes me up on that. I already promised to be on my best behavior.

lala said...

I hated it