Constants & Variables: The Lupulin Loop

As the Brewing Manager at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. I would like to introduce a new series of beers that will rotate through our central San Diego brewery-restaurant. We at Stone make no secret of our love for hops and are always pushing the boundaries with beer experimentations—especially when it comes to hops. For years, we’ve played with multiple hop varieties, and the impact to our IPAs has been immense. One may ask, with so many hop varieties out there, how we do we continue to develop so many new and successful IPAs? Truth is it’s never as easy as throwing a bunch of hops into our wort and crossing our fingers. Every hop is different, unique and complex with a wide range of flavors and aromas that could be compared to fruits, spices and even vegetables. We spend a lot of time getting intimately acquainted with the myriad of hops in our chilled down lockers, and now it’s time for our fans to get in on that familiarization.

Enter what I have come to refer to as, “The Lupulin Loop.” Why the Lupulin Loop? Maybe I just watched Groundhog’s Day too much as a kid. Maybe it’s because Tom Cruise just came out with that movie Edge of Tomorrow. Or maybe I’m still trying to play through Bioshock Infinite and I learned that when Elizabeth goes through the tears she goes to another dimension where everything looks the same but it’s actually different. Regardless, it’s all about constants and variables. With these beers, they’ll always have the same malts, alcohol, IBU (international bittering units), PH, color…or as close to the same as I can possibly get them. The only thing that will change in the beer is the single variety of hop being used (even for bittering). The base of the beer is the constant (the loop), while the hop (Lupulin…the compound in hops that provides that addictive bitterness we all love) is the sole variable.

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Fans who frequent Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station (you try fitting that on your business card!) have already experienced some of these single-hop beers, and both smelled and tasted how much each hop impacts the beer all by its lonesome. For those that haven’t, here’s what’s spun from The Lupulin Loop so far:

  • Bite the Bullet (Green Bullet single-hop): Tropical fruit, citrus and pine with herbal, dank notes
  • AleBelma (Belma single-hop): Strawberries and grape jam mixed with stone fruits
  • Lost City of Liquid Gold (El Dorado single-hop): Citrus, tropical fruits and lemon Starburst candy
  • Bear Tales From Polaria (Polaris single-hop): Intense garlic and onion, mint and mild citrus
  • Simcoe’s for Sartori (Simcoe single-hop): Citrus-flavored, piney and dank

So why go with The Lupulin Loop instead of coming up with more of these cute, fun names for our single-hop beers. To be honest, I’m a busy man and so is everyone else working at Stone. Each time I create a new beer with a new name I have to do this really fun thing called paperwork (definition: sit a desk longer than I want to when I’d rather be brewing…ha), which in return creates more paperwork for everyone else (when they’d rather be brewing or doing beer-related things, too). The creation of The Lupulin Loop equals way less paperwork, less confusion and easier to remember single-hop beers for everyone. Plus, come on, The Lupulin Loop is an awesome name.

The first creation under the The Lupulin Loop flag features Australian Topaz hops. At 16.4% alpha acid, this hop has great stone fruit qualities mixed with notes of garlic, pineapple and grassy dankness. Those are just the first notes that come through, though. Come out and try it for your-self.

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And Now, Some Hophead Q&A

How do you select the hops?

Sometimes the hops are new hop varieties (e.g., Belma, El Dorado, Polaris) that we have done some small batch dry-hop trials with and found quite exceptional. There have also been instances where we are considering using the hop in a new large-scale beer, so want to get a better feel for it. Other times, I pick the hops to pay tribute to my Team Stone co-workers (Simcoe for Brewhouse Supervisor Chris Sartori and Topaz for Cellar Supervisor Mike Richmond). Other times, we do it just for the hell of it because we think a particular hop kicks ass and want to exploit it (Green Bullet).

What becomes of the hops after the single hop trial?

Depending on if we like the hop variety or not, we will use it for new beers. For example, all of us at Stone were extremely impressed with the El Dorado hop and have used it in a local-release beer called Stone Delicious IPA, and as the exclusive hop used to dry-hop Stone 18th Anniversary IPA. Others like Belma and Green Bullet have been used in various other Liberty Station beers like Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station Sesquipedalian IPA.

What’s next?

There are lots of hops to choose from and I can’t wait to catch them all (ha!). As a little teaser, up next we will be showcasing Comet followed by Jarrylo (Yar-I-Lo).

When can I expect Citra, Mosaic or Nelson?

Shut up! (Just kidding.) Those hops are awesome, but are in extremely limited supply. Our primary focus for these hops is for Stone Go To IPA and Stone Enjoy By IPA…for now.

#PairedWith Wages On: Stone Coffee Milk Stout

When we debuted Stone Saison, we did more than introduce our unique spin on a Belgian-style ale. We also ushered in a new age that allows our fans to get involved with discovering the best-suited edible vehicles for maximum enjoyment of our beers, all thanks to a hashtag—#PairedWith. When Stone Saison came out, we provided a quartet of recipes constructed to pair perfectly with the beer, so fans could prepare them and experience food-and-beer symbiosis for themselves. But we also asked fans to experiment with dishes and ingredients they thought would go well with Stone Saison and share their most successful pairings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest using #PairedWith. It was fun, educational and, at times, even surprising, and lots of people from beer- and food-bloggers to everyday craft beer nuts, got involved. So, we’re moving forward with our #PairedWith initiative, this time with a beer that’s completely different but amazingly well-suited for sidling up beside a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet—our new Stone Coffee Milk Stout.

Smooth, satiny and malt-forward, Stone Coffee Milk Stout is all fans of this style could want…and more. Not only is it rich yet highly drinkable, but thanks to an infusion of coffee beans from our North County San Diego neighbors at Ryan Bros. Coffee, a nice roastiness permeates this quaff, bringing in familiar flavors that sync with a wide-ranging array of culinary offerings from chocolate, caramel, dark berries, nuts, grains, maple and molasses to beef, lamb, bacon, mushrooms, soups, sauces and a variety of charred, smoked, grilled and roasted items. That increased versatility sprouts from Stone Brewer Brian Gallagher’s decision to add coffee beans early in the brewing process when taking his homebrew recipe to the next level as a small batch brew at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. Gallagher studied brewing in the U.K. In the process, he gained a deep appreciation for traditional beer styles and developed a recipe for a spot-on milk stout. It was so good that, upon tasting it, the powers that be here at Stone decided it should be brewed on an even larger scale and distributed nationwide.

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Now that Stone Coffee Milk Stout is on (or on its way to) shelves, it’s ready to not only be enjoyed on its own, but in tandem with a plethora of edibles of our fans’ choosing. Get inventive or stay traditional, but whatever you do, please share it with us using #PairedWith. We’ll be ready to share and retweet your pairings so that everybody out there can get a taste of what works. It’s a team effort and we’re glad to have you on the roster. To get you started, we’ve included some suggested pairings from our in-house bon vivant, Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak, but don’t stop there…get involved and start pairing this beer up with some of your favorite dishes and ingredients, then tell us about it on social media. Or try our recipe for Chocolate Coffee Milk Stout Cheesecake with Espresso Crust, Coffee Milk Stout Ganache and Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Beans (developed by yours truly), then check out Stone Coffee Milk Stout’s webpage for three other Stone recipes developed specifically to succinctly marry with this malt-forward, java-laced brew.

Photo by Studio Schulz

Photo by Studio Schulz

Stats & Tasting Notes by Brewmaster Mitch Steele

  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Availability: Limited 12-ounce bottles in six-pack and draft, beginning August 4
  • Hops Bill: Magnum
  • Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA & Puerto Rico
  • Appearance: Pours black with a thick brown head.
  • Aroma: Dark-roasted malts give off coffee and cocoa, with hints of smokiness.
  • Taste: Pronounced coffee and dark-roasted malt flavors that contain hints of cocoa and licorice, and a lot of fruit esters from the fermentation. This is a very malty beer.
  • Palate: Light-bodied and smooth, with a semisweet but also slightly dry finish.
  • Overall: Several unique things about this formulation make the beer special, including the addition of San Diego roaster Ryan Bros Coffee beans in the mash. We also use British mild ale malt as the base malt and the addition of milk sugar, which brewer’s yeast does not ferment. These components add some body and a touch of sweetness to the resulting beer. At only 4.2 percent ABV, some might expect this beer to be thin, but that’s far from the truth– it is a smooth and satisfying beer.

Suggested Food Pairings by “Dr.” Bill Sysak

  • Appetizers: Bacon-wrapped dates, roasted chestnuts, leek-stuffed mushrooms, beef satay, oysters on the half shell
  • Soups: Cream of mushroom, beef and barley, French onion, split pea
  • Entrees: Prime rib, baby back ribs, blue cheese Portobello burgers, black bean and cheese enchiladas
  • Desserts: Chocolate lava cake, tiramisu, vanilla ice cream, s’mores
  • Cheeses: Aged Gouda, Gorgonzola Dolce, Maytag Blue, Tumalo Farms Pondhopper
  • Cigars: Padrón 3000, Rocky Patel Decade, Gurkha Park Avenue Maduro, Oliva Serie G Maduro

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Chocolate Coffee Milk Stout Cheesecake

with Espresso Crust, Coffee Milk Stout Ganache & Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Beans

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

  • 2 cups Stone Coffee Milk Stout
  • 11 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies, crème removed, pulverized into crumbs
  • 1 ounce instant espresso powder
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1½ pounds cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 6 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 cup Coffee Milk Stout Ganache (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups sweetened whipped cream
  • chocolate-covered espresso beans

Bring the beer to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce by 80% then set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cookie crumbs, espresso powder and butter to form a moist mixture. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch round spring-form pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Cream the cream cheese, granulated sugar and cocoa powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix in the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until smooth. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the flour and mix, slowly at first, until it is fully incorporated. Fold in the melted chocolate, heavy cream and beer reduction. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the spring-form pan and bake until the cheesecake is fully set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and pour the ganache into the pan. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. To serve, slice the cake into individual servings, place a dollop of whipped cream atop each slice and garnish with espresso beans.

Coffee Milk Stout Ganache

  • ½ cup Stone Coffee Milk Stout
  • ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

Bring the beer to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the sugar, reduce to 1½ tablespoons. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir in the beer reduction. Stir in the butter, 1 cube at a time, and mix until it is fully incorporated. Remove from the heat.

—Recipe courtesy Brandon Hernández, beer-and-food journalist / Senior Communications Specialist, Stone Brewing Co.

Top Chef in the House: Amanda Vs. The Arbolcots

We knew Amanda Baumgarten could cook, but once we caught a glimpse of one of her homebrew recipes, it was abundantly clear that her artisanal skills extended beyond the kitchen and into the brewing arena. A former cheftestant on Bravo TV’s wildly popular competition show Top Chef, the talented toque recently opened a thriving gastropub called Waypoint Public in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood. Despite being in one of the most craft beer-centric parts of the city (the community is also home to Toronado San Diego, Tiger! Tiger! Tavern, Mike Hess Brewing Company, Thorn St. Brewery and lots more), her restaurant is known for having one of the best beer selections in town. That clout rose even more this summer when Baumgarten was able to add a beer of her own devising to the tap list—Amanda Vs. The Arbolcots.

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Taste Bud: Meet Our New Chef

It took us years (yep, plural, as in more than two 365-day spans) to open San Diego’s largest operating restaurant in the city’s Liberty Station community. Because of that site’s historic status—the mixed-use development was built on the former Naval Training Center campus, which was formerly the largest U.S. Navy training site on the West Coast—there were many considerations that needed to be taken to maintain the integrity of the structure we took over, especially since we were installing a kitchen and seating for more than 600 diners at a time, but also a 10-barrel brewhouse with a 60-barrel capacity cellar. We put a lot of thought into every single detail at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, and that goes double (if not triple or quadruple…this is starting to sound like a run-down of Trappist ale styles) for the food. We knew we’d need a special talent—someone bold, determined and committed—and that’s just what we found in our Executive Chef Thomas Connolly. liberty-tom-connelly-3

Farm to Fork: Stone’s Farm-to-Tableism

Stone has some pretty strict philosophies when it comes to food. We stand by local and organically cultivated ingredients because we know they’re better for the environment, and they taste pretty darn good, too. You can get amazing items prepared with truly farm-to-table ingredients every day at our three Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens locations, but there are a few nights out of the year where we take it to the next level of freshitude—Fresh Dinners. These feasts are made solely from ingredients procured the very same day, and some of those ingredients come from our very own Stone Farms.

Happy New Beer: Stone’s 2014 Events Calendar

We don’t have a crystal ball, but no bogus future-telling devices are necessary to assure our fans that the New Year holds much promise and a full slate of fun-filled beer-centric events here at Stone. From some of the country’s most highly anticipated beer festivals to educational session and outright gorge-fests, there’s something for every kind of beer lover, and we’re proud to bring as much variety as we will delicious craft ales and lagers. The following is a breakdown of what we have in store for you in 2014!

Beerophiles, Start Your Engines: San Diego Beer Week 2013

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.

Give Us Liberty (& Give Us Beer)!: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station

They say good things come to those who wait. Fermentation has proven this true for us time and time again; however, we are, at our core, pretty darn impatient. We have grand aspirations and want to push the craft beer envelope by providing new ways for people to experience hand-crafted ales and lagers. Grand aspirations require grand gestures. Grand gestures take grand effort. Grand effort mandates a boatload of time, and that equates to a whole lot of waiting for our grand aspirations to be forged into reality. Never has this been truer than in the case of construction of our second farm-to-table restaurant, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. It took us years to take it from the grand aspiration phase to the tangible and absolutely magnificent (if we do say so ourselves, and we just did) brick-and-mortar bastion of good beer and quality cuisine it’s become. The waiting was the hardest part, but, once again, it was all worth it. Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station is open for business and Worthy all of the hard work it took to get it to that point. Allow us to show you around…

The main dining room at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station

Beer, Baseball & Patriotism: Operation Homefront IPA

Craft beer is life here at Stone. In the best cases, however, our beer has the ability to make positive impacts on the lives of others. Such is the case with one of the first beers brewed up on our brand new ten-barrel brewhouse at our equally new second farm-to-table restaurant, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station: Operation Homefront IPA. Liberty Station Brewing Manager Kris Ketcham joined the ranks of several brewers across the country to craft this beer for Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization supporting and bettering the lives of U.S. Military families, as part of their Hops For Heroes initiative. That program was supported not only by American craft breweries including Left Hand Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing and 21st Amendment Brewery, but also Major League Baseball and Louisville Slugger, making for a great example of strength in numbers being channeled into making a big difference through great beer and even better intentions.