Hop Homage: Stone Do These Hops Make My Beer Look Big IPA

We hold many things dear at Stone Brewing Co. High on that list of items held on-high are hops. They are the lush foundation on which some of our greatest successes have been forged. They rest ever-presently at the core of what we do and are largely what have helped us to stand out over the past 18-plus years. We love them every bit as much as you lupulin-craving nuts. So, when we were afforded the opportunity to construct a beer to honor this country’s hop growers, you best believe we took it very seriously!

dothesehops_02

Each year, USA Hops holds the American Hop Convention. For 2015, they chose the our very own San Diego, California as the site of this gathering, which brings together the men and women responsible for cultivating the oil-rich botanical cones lending craft beer its piney, citrus and tropical fruit aromas, and resinous, bitter bite. This year, we lobbied to craft a special beer to commemorate the occasion, and were happy to be granted permission to pay homage to the individuals who so deftly and caringly nurture hops both traditional and experimental. In doing so, we leaned heavily on the latter, utilizing a hop that isn’t yet widely grown and is so new it doesn’t even have a name yet. While HBC 291 might not sound all that sexy, its variety of citrus, pineapple, melon, tropical fruit flavors and inherent herbaceous spice proved plenty alluring; enough that we felt justified focusing on it as the primary ingredient in Stone Do These Hops Make My Beer Look Big IPA.

dothesehops_01

This small-run beer, which came in at 8.8% alcohol-by-volume and 65 on the International bittering unit scale, was handed out to all of the attendees of the 59th American Hop Convention. It was rewarding, not only to get to work with this virgin hop and brew up a brand new beer, but to get to share it with the folks who work so hard to provide us the magical ingredient we and our fans have come to love and associate with Stone beers. There was even a small amount of the beer left for us to put on tap at our Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens restaurants and on shelves at our Stone Company Stores so our fellow hop heads could get a taste. In the end, paying respect to hop growers via the fruits of their labor was just as much fun as the name we gave it, and using it to toast our industry allies was truly an honor.

dothesehops_03

A Tribute to Hop Farmers from the Back of the Bottle

Can you imagine what Stone Brewing Co. would be like without hops? Neither can we! Those bright green, lupulin-rich cones are the cornerstone on which some of our most beloved beers—Stone IPA, Stone Go To IPA, Stone Ruination IPA, Stone Enjoy By IPA and lots more—were constructed. We’d like to think we’ve done as right by this bitter botanical as it has by us. Ditto the noble hop growers who’ve not only tilled the soil and tended the bines, but also forged ahead to breed new and exciting experimental hop varietals, many of which have charged to the head of the hoppy pack and found their way into some of the planet’s most coveted brews, including our own. So, it is with great pride that we crafted this one-time-only imperial IPA. But we’re Stone…double IPAs flow like water from our brewhouse. So what makes this one unique? Experimental hops! We dabbled with a number of new varietals, including the excitingly named HBC 291, which we brewed with for the very first time. It takes a heaping load of what-the-hell-let’s-go-for-it attitude to go full-brew with something so new, but fortunately, that’s something that flows like water around here, too. So enjoy this tribute to the almighty humulus lupulus. Get your nose in that glass and take in the complex assortment of vivid aromatic sensations in the bouquet, followed by flavors that are simultaneously citrus-like, foresty and altogether scrumptious. This gem proudly fits the bill as an IPA unique and special enough to serve as the official beer of the 2015 American Hop Convention…and the official IPA of you!

Hitting the Ground Drinking: Stone’s 2015 Event Calendar

It’s obvious how excited we are for 2015, given we’ve planned out most of our events. Actually, it’s those events that have led to the lion’s share of our anticipatory spirit. Take a look at the list of happenings below and you’ll get it. We’ve breaking down those events with all of the beer, food, knowledge and amusing shenanigans we could pack into a year. Of course it’s a work in progress. After all, we live in San Diego where beer reigns supreme and events seem to pop out of the ground on an hourly basis. We’ll surely have no shortage of pleasant pop-up events, but these are some of the best that you can bank on and calendar for. Prepare yourself for a jam-packed 2015, and we’ll do the same.

cheers-2

Festivals: Our grand-scale beer festivals are always major annual highlights. It gives us another outlet to be as big and bold as the beers we make and share our favorite brews from around the world. From barrel-aged bash Oakquinox, to the most mouth-puckering festival of them all, Sour Fest, and the darkest night of the year, Pour It Black, these fests are showcase varied but universally well stocked with the best beers we can get our hands on. We’re also adding a new festival, the first ever at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. It will be dedicated to the beers of Belgium (you know, in case a trip there is a tad over your budget). Liberty Station will also host Hop-Con: The w00tstout Festival for the third straight year this July, much to the sure elation of geeks spanning all forms of fandom (beer and otherwise). Naturally we’re excited for our Stone 19th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival. Organizing this massive event started as soon as we wrapped up last year’s anniversary soiree, and this year, believe it or not (we hardly can) you can expect an even more impressive bash!

NOTE: Unless stated, all events take place at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido

10499373_10152523196567432_8966733620666343154_o

Beer & Food: Few things pair so wonderfully as food and beer. Which explains our obsession with pairing dinners. With each of ours, we strive to create new combinations that will surprise your palate and push the boundaries of cuisine. (Beer’s really good for that!). With combined knowledge from local gastro masters, these dinners (or breakfasts or lunches or excuses to enjoy fine cigars) satisfy even the most skeptical of critics (and really cool people who just love good beer and food, too). Chocolate, farm-fresh food, fermenter-fresh beer, cigars, bacon and more await you in the coming months.

  • March 17: Beer Pairing Dinner
  • April 7: Beer & Cigar Dinner
  • May 13: Beer Pairing Dinner
  • July 21: Beer Pairing Dinner
  • September 15: Beer & Cigar Dinner
  • December 15: Beer Pairing Dinner

San Diego Beer Week Events (November):

  • Cask Attack
  • Rare Beer Breakfast
  • Ultimate Beer & Chocolate
  • Brewmaster’s Lunch
  • Beer Pairing Dinner

IMG_6258

Other Events: Yes, even after that long list of beer-infused happenings, there are still more to talk about. In addition to Beer Us designed to help fans dive deeper into the nuances of craft beer, we have Meet the Brewer events, weekly casks tapping and holiday specials. Join us for Mother’s Day (brunch) or Father’s Day (one word—barbecue), hunt for some eggs in April, ring in the New Year with us or keep an eye out for your favorite brewery joining us in the Gardens. There are plenty of reasons to drink good beer all year, and we’re going to exploit that. This list seems to grow every time we look at it, so be sure to keep an eye on the events pages for Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondidoand Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. Oh, and don’t forget the events at Stone Farms…and the Stone Brewing TapRoom…and our Stone Company Stores. OK, we’ll stop now, but you get the idea.

  • January 13: Meet the Brewer: Toshi Ishii (Ishii Brewing) & Mitch Steele
  • February 1-8: Stone Winter Storm
  • February 5: Cask Attack
  • April 5: Easter Egg Hunt
  • May 10: Mother’s Day at the Bistro
  • May 14: Cask Attack
  • June 21: Father’s Day at the Bistro
  • December 31: Stone New Year’s Eve Celebration

IMG_3782

There you have it. 2015 wrapped up in a neat little package. Of course, this is only semi-complete. With the arrival of our Stone Brewing Co. – Richmond and Berlin locations, that will be up and running at the end of the year (fingers crossed), we expect this will grow exponentially through the year. It’s as active as 2014 was, and just as exciting!

A Beer Befitting Its Name: Stone Delicious IPA

India pale ales are our bread-and-butter here at Stone. We love them as much as you do. Similarly, we get an immeasurable amount of satisfaction out of experimenting with new hop combinations to create IPAs with flavor profiles that vary from what we’ve thus far experienced. The arrival of Stone Delicious IPA provides a tangible example of why continual IPA and hop exploration are so fulfilling. With the new Lemondrop varietal as a centerpiece and a massive dry-hop comprised exclusively of lemony El Dorado hops from Washington State, this beer lives up to its name behind a plethora of tart, citrusy notes and a stunning grove-like, lemon tree bouquet, providing a graceful yet in no way subtle one-two punch to the senses. Our newest IPA is unique to our stable of beers in every way…including the fact it just so happens to be our first gluten-reduced offering.

delicious_02

You read that right. In addition to being incredibly flavorful and hopped in our typically heavy-handed way, Stone Delicious IPA is also fermented in a manner that breaks down and removes gluten, rendering gluten levels so significantly that the beer qualifies as a “gluten-reduced” ale per the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). It’s a nice bonus that will allow nearly everyone out there to enjoy our bold style of craft beer—something we’ve always wanted but, up until the advent of this beer, haven’t been able to make happen. We’re excited to introduce our beers to those who haven’t yet had a Stone-brewed IPA, or perhaps even a craft beer of any kind. And for those of you who know all about our hoppy ales, we’re thrilled to provide a new one we’re particularly high on, reduced gluten levels or not.

For those for whom gluten is a concern, numerous questions are bound to spring to mind in regards to gluten-reduced craft beer. So, we’ve taken a stab at some of the more obvious queries Stone Delicious IPA is bound to evoke. Of course, if you still have questions, we’re happy to field them. Just shoot us an email at delicious@stonebrewing.com. Who knows, your question and our answer may even make it onto this FAQ page.

NOTE: The answers below exclusively refer to the bottled version of Stone Delicious IPA. For information on Stone Delicious IPA served on tap, please see the response specifically related to the draft version at the bottom of this FAQ.

How does Stone reduce the gluten levels in this beer?

We have colleagues at our long-time yeast supplier, White Labs to thank. It’s their enzyme, Clarity-Ferm, which makes Stone Delicious IPA possible. We start by brewing the beer exactly like we do every other beer at our brewery using all-natural ingredients (barley, hops, water and yeast, exclusively) with dashes of creativity and heart plus a boatload of hops. When boiled wort (unfermented beer) is transferred to fermentation tanks where yeast is introduced to convert fermentable sugars to alcohol, we add Clarity-Ferm, which separates and eliminates the potentially inflammatory nature of the gluten protein chains.

Does Stone Delicious IPA contain gluten?

Though we’ve harnessed modern advances to significantly reduce the amount of gluten, traces of gluten remain in Stone Delicious IPA. However, the amount of gluten in this beer is far below the Codex threshold of less than 20 parts per million in total gluten for “gluten-free” products; so much so that its gluten levels are too low to be measurable by available testing methods. Furthermore, the brewing process for Stone Delicious IPA renders the beer free of barley epitopes (peptide sequences and reactive sites in gluten molecules triggering negative reactions in the small intestine).

Where is Stone Delicious IPA brewed?

Currently, the beer is brewed at Stone’s flagship brewery in Escondido, a municipality in North San Diego County, California.

How do you prevent cross-contamination by Stone beers containing gluten?

We take numerous, specific steps to ensure there is no cross-contamination in our brewing or packaging facilities. We carefully clean and sanitize every tank, pipeline, hose and piece of equipment that Stone Delicious IPA will touch, and conduct numerous tests at our brewing facility checking for gluten levels.

How is Stone Delicious IPA tested for gluten?

The gluten testing is conducted by White Labs using an ELISA assay, the R5 competitive Gliadin assay from R-Biopharm. Yes, that is a mouthful, so allow us to further explain. The ELISA assay quantifies the prolamins from the wheat, rye and barley using an antibody that recognizes the potentially inflammatory sequence QQPFP, which occurs repeatedly in the prolamin molecules. This is the only method of gluten testing for products containing alcohol that is approved by the federal government.

Where can I see test results?

Each bottle of Stone Delicious IPA has both an “enjoy-by date” printed on its bottlenecks and a “julian date” laser-engraved on the bottom of each bottle. You can use either of these denotations to retrieve test results for the beer in your bottle by visiting the Stone Delicious IPA webpage and viewing a PDF of the White Labs report corresponding to those numbers.

Delicious_JulianEnjoyBy2Does Stone utilize any barley malt alternatives to brew this beer?

No. We do not replace the barley malt we use for our other beers with rice, quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat or any other grains.

Where can I purchase Stone Delicious IPA?

Stone Delicious IPA is distributed to every state where Stone beers are sold, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The best way to locate retail accounts where Stone Delicious IPA is sold by consulting our online Stone Beer Finder.

If I find Stone Delicious IPA on tap, can I expect it to be at the same gluten levels as the bottled version?

Because the draft accounts where we distribute our kegged beer would have to basically have independent dedicated lines via which to serve Stone Delicious IPA—something that isn’t feasible for the majority of bars and restaurants—the beer will likely be served from lines that have previously served non-gluten-reduced beer. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the gluten levels of the beer will be the same when served in such a manner. While the beer in the keg is the same as the beer in the bottles, there is always the chance that it could mix with previously served beers in the lines of the draft system and, thus, become intermingled with beer containing gluten. To be safe and ensure the health of those with greater gluten sensitivity, we similarly do not make the gluten-reduced claim for Stone Delicious IPA served from draft systems and growler fill stations at Stone-operated facilities (Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens and Stone Brewing TapRoom restaurants, Stone Farms or Stone Company Stores). It is best to purchase Stone Delicious IPA in bottles if you are gluten sensitive.

Will Stone brew other beers with lowered gluten levels?

There are no current plans to brew more gluten-reduced beers, but years of brewing experimentation have taught us never to say never when it comes to craft beer!

A Year of Beer: Summing Up 2014

Each year we up the number of beers we brew, and each year it seems like we can’t do any more than we already have. Yet, each year we prove ourselves wrong! In 2014, we shattered our previous record of 74 brews with an epic 120 beers. From the tried-and-true, to the boundary-pushing, it was a big year in our brewhouse. But it didn’t end with a jam-packed brew schedule. Between all these releases we planned five festivals and countless fundraisers to reinvest some love into to the community. So reminisce with us about a year that brought us amazing craft beer, thrilling times and monumental developments.

collage.jpg

Let Them Eat Fruit Cake: Beer-Enhanced Holiday Recipes

Last week, we took to social media, asking Stone fans to tell us what time-honored holiday treats they’d like to see our test kitchen tackle in an attempt to make them better using craft beer. A wide variety of suggestions came back, some in the form of pleas. We took some of the most popular and got to work simmering, whisking and brushing a variety of brews into a pair of desserts that, when the dust of the confectioner sugar cleared, were all the better for it. Accept the recipes for both of them as our holiday gift to all of you. Cheers to craft beer, and more craft beer in the kitchen!

Fudge_IRS_2

Barrel Aging, Part 4: Brewing Beers for Barrels

Over the past year, our Research and Small Batch Manager Steve Gonzalez has fielded questions from curious beer fans and homebrewers on the topic of barrel-aging and Stone’s wood program. In addition to one last batch of his responses, we’re also offering up a cool video spotlighting our Small Batch Brewing Team. They are passionate people with a wealth of experience that, as exemplified by this four-part blog series, is as refined as the beers their expert techniques produce. Get a glimpse of what makes these folks so awesome then take in one last burst of barrel-aging knowledge.

Stone fan Kyle Tucker asks: Stone tends to focus on higher ABV ales, IPAs, double IPAs, etc. Generally, barrel-aging is great for sour beers and stouts. What kind of results would be had from barrel-aging an IPA (which is generally better fresh), and would it be an option for your guys to have a barrel-aged Stone Ruination IPA, for example?

We aged Stone Ruination IPA in Bourbon barrels and released it as Batch 06 of our 2013 Quingenti Millilitre series. It was Batch 06 of the 2013 series. It was really good, but we probably won’t do it again. All that hoppiness was a little more muted than fresh Stone Ruination IPA, but still present in that beer. It was aged for a very long 16 months. We experimented with the idea of dry-hopping it or blending fresh Stone Ruination IPA into it, but in the end, we decided it was better without any help. We have done very small-scale experiments with Stone Cali-Belgique IPA and Stone IPA aged in Bourbon barrels also. I didn’t care for them, personally, and we won’t be moving forward with that again.

The two of our IPAs that are amazing in barrels are Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA aged in rye whiskey barrels and Stone Cali-Belgique IPA aged in red or white wine barrels. The SSRA had all that awesome orange and chocolate flavor combined with spice and vanilla from the spirt barrel. It was so good, we bottled it as Stygian Descent, Batch 01 of our 2014 Quingenti Millilitre series. I would like to try aging that beer in Bourbon barrels at some point and potentially try it in red wine barrels. It could work. Stone Cali-Belgique IPA in wine barrels is amazing. The Belgian yeast combined with native micro-flora from the barrel enhances the spiciness and fruitiness of that beer. The piney character of the hops in the beer melds with the fruit flavors and bitter tannin of the wine barrel to become something deliciously different.

2O3A7880

Stone fan Michael Piorunski asks: Have you made an “all-California” barrel-aged beer with California malt, hops, yeast, water and oak?

I haven’t considered doing that. We do use a lot of local ingredients and, certainly, California has a ton of wine barrel coopers, but malt might be tricky to get. We did make a beer called Stone Passion Project that was made with passion fruit from our own Stone Farms. That was a really cool and fun barrel-aged beer with local ingredients. The malt and hops were mostly Continental European, but the barrels were all from California wineries.

Stone fan Mike Upson asks: I have it on good authority that there is a Bourbon barrel filled with StoneWall Ale continuing to age at your facility. Is that true?

If there is, I haven’t seen it! We don’t age very many of our beers for that long. The current record is 26 months. Maybe at some point in the future, we’ll lay something down for an extended aging period as a sort of “liquid time capsule,” but for now, we’re not doing that. StoneWall Ale is now over its peak. It is still a pretty tasty beer, but if you have any left, I would recommend not saving it any longer.

IMG_9173 copy

Stone fan Tim Oyer asks: Is it possible to buy used barrels from Stone to use for homebrews? I’d kill to have a barrel from Crime or Punishment for my own attempt at a spicy treat!

We do not typically sell them. Once we are done with our barrels, we convert most of them into really cool chairs and benches for our Stone Company Stores, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens restaurants and Stone Farms. We did add some beer to a used Crime (Lukcy Basartd Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels with incredibly spicy peppers added) barrel, though. Boy, it was still hot! Even with just that 3% remnant of Crime locked in the wood. I really liked it.

The Start of Something Good: Stone Brewing Richmond

On October 9, 2014, we announced the selection of Richmond, Virginia, as the home for our upcoming Eastern U.S. brewery, packaging hall and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens farm-to-table restaurant. Located in the city’s Greater Fulton community, the project site offers everything we asked for and more, even though, at first glance, few might be able to see its potential.

As it stands now, the property, which has been vacant for over 40 years, consists of 15 separate parcels totaling 14 acres. Most of the property is the remnant of the now defunct 1970s Urban Renewal Plan and is located adjacent to a former gasworks property. In addition there’s a vacant 1937 terminal building that’s been uninhabited for almost 30 years and a beat-up slab of concrete constituting a former ferry landing.

Admittedly, these hardly sound like value-adds.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Aero View w comments2

Fortunately, the members of the State and City teams that worked to bring Stone to Richmond (RVA as it’s known to locals) went to great lengths to open our eyes to the possibilities that existed in the property. Allow us to explain.

No Foolin’: Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise

You know what the big problem is with being well known for playing epic April Fool’s Day jokes on the public at large? The public at large starts to expect them, thus rendering such gags nearly impossible to pull off. Still, building up the status as a supremely self-righteous April Fooler was a fun process for the creative minds at Stone. Announcing we would start brewing a lemon-lime “malternative” beverage, a 27.3% ABV extra-strong ale, and a “lo-carb” beer (“Lite™” was trademarked), we’ve used this faux holiday to explore miles of territory we’d never tread in real life…and even some we would.

On April 1, 2010, we told our fans we’d be teaming with our Scottish brewing comrades at BrewDog to craft BrewDog / Stone Luciferin Golden Imperial Stout, a high-alcohol stout coming in at 11.8% alcohol-by-volume with plenty of roasty flavor. There was just one catch—it wouldn’t incorporate any roasted malts and it wouldn’t be brown in color. So, basically, it would be different from every stout on the planet. Nobody with a working knowledge of calendars bought it and, though it was, essentially a joke, our brewmaster, Mitch Steele, filed that idea away and spent the next four years secretly pondering how he’d create a golden-hued stout. And we’re glad he did, because now that imaginary beer has been brewed into brilliant reality. Enter, Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise.

MOD-1

Hopsploitation: Getting the Most Out of Our Hops

We’re obsessed with hops and all the bitter, fruity, resinous, tropical flavors they can bring to beer. These little buds are amazing in and of themselves, but the work that goes into making those characteristics shine is just as impressive. From the kettle and far beyond, we’re breaking down the magic of getting the most out of our hops and pushing those IBUs ever higher.

2O3A2029

We Three Bastards: Arrogant Bastard Ale’s Extended Family

‘Tis almost the time of year when children of all ages shall belt out in their most joyous tones the tale-telling tune of three kings bringing forth gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (looks like two of these regal sorts were slightly less generous than the golden one). But before the season of yule arrives, the attention of those with the power to discern what is truly excellent from what is only marketed to appear superior shall fall upon what is truly the most wonderful time of the year—Bastard Season. As if my birthday (November 7 for those looking to graduate from ignoramus to Worthy) and Arrogant Bastard Day (#BastardDay is November 1) weren’t reason enough to celebrate (it is), the proverbial ante is upped each November when I bring the lesser-seen members of my Liquid Arrogance lineage into the equation, sharing the spotlight just long enough to take the revelry to the utmost level before plunging my spawn back behind the curtain for another 11 months. Given the brief nature of their time at center-stage, I shall throw them—and you—a bone, allowing them to bask in your adoration as you take in their magnificence. Just remember who was first. These Bastards would literally be nothing without Yours Truly.

box_contents