This fall independent craft brewers Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head will release two collaborative beers. Limb & Life—a draft-only beer—will debut in October; with Life & Limb 24oz bottles and limited draft to follow in November.
The beers—Life & Limb, and Limb & Life—are 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. Over the years, the two brewers—Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione—have become friends in the industry. They quickly realized how many similarities they share. Grossman’s history as a craft-brewing pioneer and his radical approach to brewing are echoed some fifteen years later by Calagione—through his boundary-pushing innovation and tireless promotion for the cause of craft beer.
Both men started out as home brewers obsessed with beer-making. Both share deep values of sustainability and responsibility. Both share the desire to pass their breweries on to the next generation, and both started out small—from humble beginnings—and built vibrant, creative, beer-centered and fiercely independent breweries, despite the long odds.
Their mutual respect, admiration, and none-too-few shared glasses of beer led to the collaborative idea.
“I have gotten to know Ken through our years on The Brewers Association Board and at numerous beer events throughout the country. As a brewer myself, it is inspiring to see a person like Ken drive a beer-centric (as opposed to a biz-centric) brewery so far and so wide while sticking to his original ideals and integrating his family into the company. I have enjoyed talking (and drinking) beer with his children, especially Sierra and Brian who currently work alongside Ken at Sierra Nevada. The iterative process of conceptualizing and brewing this beer with Ken and all the folks at Sierra has been a joy. We have designed this beer to intertwine signature aspects of both of our breweries’ creative approaches—from sustainability to exotic sugars, from bottle conditioning to cellarability. I hope Mariah, our amazing co-workers, and I can keep Dogfish on track with our beer-centric ideals for many years to come. I will know how successful we’ve been at this task if my children, Sammy and Grier, are able to share a bottle of 2009 Life & Limb with Sierra and Brian at a beer dinner or festival 15 years or so from now. I am hopeful that, as they toast each other, they can hold their heads up high knowing our two breweries were among many fine breweries that breathed LIFE into the colorful, diverse, and beautiful LIMBS of the American craft-brewing family tree.” – Sam Calagione, President and Founder, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.
“Sam and I have spent many evenings laughing, arguing, and toasting glasses, talking about where we are in the business and where we’re going. As Sierra Nevada approaches our 30th anniversary, it’s inspiring to step back and see how far American craft beer has come. People like Sam and Dogfish help to push the boundaries of beer, and it has been fun working with him and the Dogfish crew. This is our first time working with maple syrup in beer on this kind of scale, and the first time we know of anyone using birch syrup. It has been an interesting and inspiring experience and will hopefully lead to big things. As a beer, Life & Limb has so much meaning for me personally, and for the brewery. As our first collaborative release, we couldn’t have had a better partner. Our families are coming together in this beer, both literally and figuratively by using ingredients from our family “farms”—estate hops and barley from us; maple and birch syrup and exotic sugars from Sam—and by having the Dogfish family come to Chico to brew. As the bottled beer ages and changes over time, it will be great to see our families share this beer over anniversaries of their own.” – Ken Grossman, Founder, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Life & Limb is a 10% ABV strong 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. 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; it is the first beer we know of ever to use birch syrup in the brew. If stored under good conditions, this rich, full-bodied beer should age well for years. Life & Limb will be available in 24-oz. bottles and limited draft starting this November.
Limb & Life is a companion to the big beer—an acorn off the larger tree. It is a 5% ABV small beer—a low-gravity beer made using the residual sugar as “second runnings” from the first larger brew, fortified with American hops. This is a session beer. Its big brother is a sipper. Limb & Life will be a limited draft-only product, a prelude to the bigger beer, available in select bars and restaurants this October.