We’ve Exported Mitch Steele

Jacob McKean

That’s right, his last blog post on our struggles to control chill haze in Stone IPA was such a hit, we rewarded him with a free trip to the U.K. Well, that may not be how it actually went down, but what the hell.

Here’s what’s happening: we shipped Stone’s Brewmaster, Mitch Steele, off to England on Monday to brew a collaboration beer at Wadworth’s historic Northgate Brewery in Wiltshire. Why, you ask? Because an 800-strong chain of pubs called Wetherspoon’s & Lloyd’s #1 are holding a two and a half week long Real Ale & Cider Festival, during which Mitch’s collaboration beer will be served.

The idea? To brew a Stone-style Wadworth beer. Just what in the hell does that mean? It means a 4.5% ABV beer called “San Diego Session IPA”, and as the name implies, it’s  a comparatively low alcohol beer hopped like crazy with a combination of British & American hops, including some exciting newfangled varieties.

For those of you who brew your own beer or just like to geek out on beer recipes, here’s the run down. The malt bill consists of all English malts, primarily pale malt with 5% each of crystal & Munich malt. The hop situation is this: Target for bittering and Centennial, Columbus, Amarillo, Delta, and Calypso for flavoring & dry-hopping. The beer will be fermented with Wadworth’s house yeast strain, a traditional English variety that will contribute a bit more sulfur than Stone’s yeast.

This decidedly unique mash-up of Stone’s and Wadworth’s brewing style will be served on cask starting October 5th at the aforementioned Wetherspoon’s festival. A variety of other American craft brewers are in the U.K. to brew beers for the festival as well, so the American brewing renaissance should be well represented.

One interesting tidbit about Wadworth: the brewery employs the last Master Brewery Cooper (maker of wooden barrels) in the U.K., which allows them to serve some of their beer from fresh wooden casks. Pretty cool, eh?

17 comments

  1. How long will the beer be available in the UK?

  2. Travis
    /

    i have heard of session IPA’s before, and i don’t get why it isn’t just a delicious, hoppy, pale ale. are people just trying to cash in on our (well founded) IPA obsession? i would grab a six pack labeled IPA before i would go for a pale ale.
    an IPA can’t, by definition, be 4.5% alcohol. it would be like me brewing up a blonde ale and calling it a low-alcohol, straw colored barleywine.

  3. With 800 pubs, it’ll be impressive if it lasts the length of the Wetherspoon’s festival.

  4. Really hoping it makes it to all the Wetherspoons. We live in a small town that has one of their pubs, so I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
    Meanwhile, if Mitch is looking for something to do this weekend, we’d love to see him at the Newbury Real Ale Festival on Saturday (in Berkshire). It’s supposed to be a decently sized one. I’m afraid we don’t have a spare bed as relatives are in town, but we’d love to meet up with him. If he can get to the train station, we’ll take him to the fest!

  5. I can’t wait to have some fresh Stone style beer here in England! I just wish you guys knew the rep Wetherspoons has, but I’ll still go for the beer :) Thanks!

  6. Ian Prise
    /

    Will this be a keg or cask beer? Disappointed that you are associating your good name with one of the biggest sellers of fizzy yellow piss in the UK. I honestly thought you guys were above this. Your beer will be sold side by side with some cheap nasty flavourless liquids masquarading as beer.This will do little to promote the Stone Brand in the UK. It really isn’t worth your time.

  7. We hear what you’re saying & appreciate the feedback, but the reality is that our beer is served alongside fizzy yellow beer all the time. Hopefully, this will open up some people to the possibilities of craft beer who might not otherwise be exposed to it. We all start somewhere.

  8. Pingback: We’ve Exported Mitch Steele | California.BeerBlogNews.com

  9. For San Diego, 4.5% is decidedly sessionable. The name is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but also shows a little of what we are all about in San Diego! For those who dispute that is an IPA, the hopping rates are definitely American IPA-like, it should finish above 70 IBU. The term “session IPA” was our effort to differentiate this beer from the standard US IPA.
    I wish I could have stuck around for the festival on Saturday, but that was when I flew home. Thanks for the offer!

  10. Pingback: The Stone Blog » We’ve Exported Greg Koch

  11. Daryl Ling
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    I’m not sure that Wadworth have a cooper, but if they do he/she is most definitely NOT the only Master cooper in the UK as Theakston’s have two!

  12. Anyone found any in a wetherspoons around Manchester or Macclesfield yet?

  13. Found it on at a local wetherspoons.. could tell it was supposed to be really hoppy but as soon as I could taste the hops the bitterness kicked in strong and knocked out any detectable hoppy flavours. Maybe it would have been better with an american yeast or less bittering hops. Pretty nice beer otherwise but not what I was expecting from Stone! Especially given all the nice hops that went in there.

  14. Nigel Greensitt
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    I look forwards to trying your beer, I get Brew Your Own mag sent from the US so I can try to brew US styles and am always pleased to find real US beers here in the UK. Ian Prise, Wetherspoons is one of the biggest supporters of Cask Ale, that is why CAMRA give members £20 worth of 50p off vouchers each year.Why you accuse them of selling “yellow piss” when they also have a great selection of cask ales all the time is beyond me. Ryan, There are several spoons in Manchester. Get the train from Macc and head there. Would suggest you aim for The Moon Underwater on Deansgate, they normally have the biggest selection. If you do there are 3 bars inside ( 2 downstairs and 1 upstairs each selling different beers.) If you feel adventurous head to BOLTON the Spinning Mule has around 10 pumps with different beers all the time ( not just during the festival)

  15. Happy to report the Session IPA has turned out a great beer. I don’t know how much cask-conditioned beer you do in Escondido but Mitch has really got the knack of brewing for cask. Nice hop flavour and terrific long-lasting bitterness.

  16. Steve (UK)
    /

    The San Diego Session IPA is just coming on at my local Wetherspoons – looking forward to trying it, the Stone’s Californian Double IPA was excellent a couple of years ago.

    Well said, Nigel, Ian obviously does not have a clue about the UK Real Ale scene!

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