We at Stone count ourselves lucky to have so many fans of what we do and the beers we create. Most of those who’ve tagged along as we forge through this hop-studded journey have taken fandom to new heights. That level of devotion is something we don’t take lightly and work to reward by coming up with new beer recipes and getting those brews into our staunch supporters’ hands and pint glasses. As devotees keeping a watchful eye on us will attest, 2013 was a big year for new Stone brews. But even our most keyed-in fans were probably unaware of just how big. We say this, because after examining 12 months’ worth of brewing schedules, even our jaws dropped to the floor when we discovered that we had delivered 74 new beers outside our not-so-standard standard-issue brews this year. So, join us, won’t you, as we revisit them and other notable Stone happenings from the year that was.
A tradition a half-decade in the making, few happenings pack as much inventive beer, education and sheer enjoyment as the ten-day journey to the center of the country’s craft beer epicenter, San Diego Beer Week. All of the nearly eighty breweries in our extensive home county push the envelope to provide the most incredible events they can, and we are no different. Each year is an opportunity to cull through our cellars for rare and just plain phenomenal beer, collaborate with our brewing friends, invite in our beer-loving fans and put on a show in support of our industry, region and craft beer in general. If you’re planning to take in this year’s festivities, read on for a complete schedule of what we’ll be doing to celebrate, then make time in your beery, breakneck itinerary to spend some time sipping in San Diego Beer Week with us.
In the craft beer universe, there are companies like The Lost Abbey and Cascade Brewing that are considered the masters of blending barrel-aged beers. Count us among the masses who bow to such expert operations for their abilities in this specialty area. Though not widely known throughout beerophile circles, the brew crew at Stone has dabbled in the blending arena over the past half-decade, so we know how much skill it takes to develop oaken masterpieces versus unpalatable wood beer soup. What’s that? You are among the many unaware of our blending forays? Well, let’s change that immediately. Allow us to introduce you to the Stone Mixtape Ale series.
This time of year, the last thing most of us want to hear is the acronym IRS. But, believe it or not, as the Internal Revenue Service’s April 15 draws nigh each year, thousands of beer fans begin emphatically chanting: I-R-S! I-R-S! Granted, most of this chanting occurs via keystrokes on social media, but make no mistake, many an American anticipates mid-April and the annual arrival of IRS. No, not the pencil-pushing bureaucrats from Washington. We’re talking about our IRS—Stone Imperial Russian Stout!
I’m guessing you really don’t care to hear about anything IRS-related now that it’s mid-April, but stick with me here. This is a good IRS. It’s the über-dark, roasty-toasty, decadently rich Stone Imperial Russian Stout, and as of April 16th, it’s back again. For the twelfth time. (And for a limited time.) Originally brewed up in 2000, this was Steve’s tribute to the legendary, and decidedly dark Courage Russian Imperial Stout. Greg had a few bottles of the Courage ’93 vintage that he’d brought back with him from trip to Europe in 1995. When he and Steve gave it a taste, it was a bit of a revelation, to say the least.
What was this delicious motor oil? Where has it been all of our lives? What on earth does it have to do with Russia? Why aren’t more breweries repping this wonderfully decadent style? And when can we make one?