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Drinking Life & Limb

You probably remember the big news back in August when Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada announced they’d be doing not one, but two collaboration beers. The main one is called Life & Limb, while the second is Limb & Life, a small beer made from the second runnings of Life & Limb.

To launch the new collaboration, a beer dinner was held last Sunday at Ana Mandara in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Both Sam Calagione, from Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman, from Sierra Nevada were on hand for the dinner.

Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione

Limb & Life, the draft-only “Imperial small beer,” was served with hors d’oeuvres while Ken and Sam talked about their collaboration together.

The five-course meal had two beers paired with each dish, one from each brewery. We started with Limb & Life and then Life & Limb was served as the last beer of the evening, with dessert. In addition, at the end of the night we finagled a bottle of Life & Limb to compare with the draft version. Personally, I preferred the bottle. Bottle-conditioning gave it a richer mouthfeel and added complexity.

I was fortunate to sit with Sam and Ken for the dinner, as they discussed the project. While Sam has done many collaborations with both domestic and foreign breweries over the years, this was Sierra Nevada’s first one. If you can find a copy of All About Beer magazine from around this time last year, you can read my feature story on collaboration beers. I love the growing trend of collaboration beers, especially when, like this one, some thought is put into it. This makes the results more meaningful, and not simply a marketing effort. Everything about it was well done, especially the artwork for the label, done by a children’s book illustrator.

Below is a slideshow of the Life & Limb beer dinner. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.

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