On The Curious Subject of Cascade Hops…

It’s apparently mind blowing to some folks that for our first 15+ years, we’d never used Cascade hops in any of our beers. And now, seemingly out of the blue, we’ve gone and used Cascade in our two most recent beer releases: 2012 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and the Bear Republic / Fat Head’s / Stone TBA. Interestingly enough, we got a fair amount of (unexpected) reactions at this news. Some people laughed. Others cried. (Not really. At least as far as we know.) Some made conclusions about what they thought the beers would taste like before even trying them. (Hardly unusual.) Though most just happily went to their local craft beer bar or trusty bottle shop, picked one up and thoroughly enjoyed it without knowing or caring that the use of Cascade hops was a new endeavor for us. Cool.

Then we got a few strange comments scattered about our multiple social media channels. This one in particular made us scratch our heads: “Stone using Cascade hops? What the hell? I thought you guys wanted to stay a Cascade free brewery.” Wait… what? We never said that. At least that we can recall. Clearly, some folks felt we had some ‘splaining to do. Et voilà… here we are.

Fresh Hops

Hops run through our veins, yo.

Your 2012 Itinerary, According to Stone

A few weeks ago we took a walk down memory lane, recounting for you the many accolades and accomplishments Stone achieved over the course of 2011.  We are not content, however, to rest on our laurels.  We’ve now turned our sights to the future and all the amazing things we have in store for you in 2012.  Dates have been set for our annual special releases as well as all of our epic beer fests.  So read on and prepare yourself for a whole year of beer-tastic-ness.  Ale-mazement?  You get the idea…

Buy A Book, Buy A Beer

Jacob McKean

UPDATE 3: The pre-order offer has ended, but every copy of the book, regardless of how you get it, still allows you to buy a bottle of 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels or 2010 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Wine or Bourbon Barrels, as supplies last. Whether you pre-order it or buy it at the book signing on Tuesday, September 27th or anywhere else, bring your book (no receipt necessary) to the Stone Company Store–Escondido to gain access to this amazing beer.

UPDATE 2: The good folks at Warwick’s have found a way to extend the online purchase option through September 9th, 2011.

UPDATE 1: Our friends at Warwick’s Books have graciously allowed us to extend our Quingenti Millilitre offer to encompass online sales through August 31st September 9th. That means that for each copy of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.–Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance you purchase at warwicks.com through 8/31/11 9/9/11, you will be able to purchase one of these very limited bottles. Details on how this whole thing works below.

As loyal readers of this blog, you undoubtedly remember that we’re hard at work on a trifecta of books (here & here.) Well, we are incredibly excited to announce that The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.—Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner with Randy Clemens is on the verge of release.

And because we’re just brimming with ideas, we’ve concocted a rewarding scheme to get the first book into your eager little hands with a brilliant bonus. You’ve probably been following our Quingenti Millilitre release drawing, which raised $15,000 dollars for the Escondido Creek Conservancy and Interfaith Family Services.

Well, the next beers in the Quingenti Millilitre series are:

  • 2010 Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels
  • 2010 Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels
  • 2010 Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Wine Barrels

Pretty frickin’ tasty sounding, eh? Well, they are.

As you may have discerned from the introduction about the book, there’s a tie-in. Folks who pre-order the book at the Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival will get the opportunity to buy the above beers. Here’s how it’s going to work:

  • Come to the Stone Anniversary Fest
  • Pre-order as many copies of the book as you like from the Warwick’s booth (they’re an awesome independent bookstore based in La Jolla.)
  • Each pre-order allows you to buy one bottle from the above mentioned list (as supplies last, some are significantly more limited than others)
  • Starting on September 26th, 2011, you’ll have a little more than a year, until September 30th, 2012, to come to the Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido and purchase your bottle

As an added bonus, each pre-ordered book will come signed by Greg, Steve, & Randy (additionally, they’ll be at the Warwick’s booth on Saturday at 12pm and 4pm.) With the one-year plus purchase window, if you’re coming in from out of town for the Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration and you pre-order the book, you’ll have plenty of time to plan a return visit to America’s Finest City.

Oh, what’s that? You don’t have tickets to the Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival? And now you’re a bit panicked because there are fewer than 10% of tickets remaining? Well in that case, you might want to get your tickets immediately.

Although these beers aren’t bottled yet, we’re expecting there to be about 4,776 of the 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels, and 550 of the two Belgo renditions. We’ll have a similar deal going at the Great American Beer Festival, where the actual book itself will be officially released (Greg & Randy will be there in person to sign your copy and compliment you on your choice of reading material).

Unless an unexpectedly huge number of people take advantage of this little scheme at the Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration and the GABF, we expect to have other opportunities for folks to participate, potentially in a variety of places around the country.

We will also have a book release event at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens on September 27th with the same parameters, with Greg, Steve, & Randy on hand to sign books.

2010 Stone Old Guardian Set To Rock Your Palate

Jacob McKean

Monday marks the 2010 release of one of our biggest, boldest beers: Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine. While the exact recipe for Stone Old Guardian is tweaked every year to fine-tune the flavor of this mammoth mother of a beer, the changes this year are a bit more substantial.

Have no fear, zealous Stone Old Guardian devotees, 2010 Stone Old Guardian is still the beer you know and love. But we like to keep things interesting—especially for those who like to hang onto beers and conduct vertical tastings down the road—so we’ve thrown a couple of compelling new ingredients into this year’s batch.

Mitch and the Brewing Team experimented with a new type of crystal malt made from a variety of British barley called Maris Otter. They were so pleased with the pilot batches made with Maris Otter crystal malt, that they decided to use it in the release version, giving the beer a slightly maltier, nuttier flavor (once again, no reason to fear: with 90 IBUs, it’s still menacingly hoppy.)

A rare photo of 2010 Stone Old Guardian in its natural habitat

A rare photo of 2010 Stone Old Guardian in its natural habitat

To go along with the new malt, Mitch decided to dry hop it with East Kent Golding hops, another traditional British brewing ingredient that wowed the Brewing Team in the trial stages.  I can attest that it does in fact smell like unicorn tears, as scandalous internet rumors have suggested.

So while these changes may push 2010 Stone Old Guardian in a somewhat more continental Anglophilic direction, it’s still every bit the brash, lusty American Barleywine of years past. In fact, we like to think the spirit of adventure exhibited by this year’s version is part of what makes it so frickin’ sweet.

Speaking of adventure, 2010 Stone Old Guardian is on tap at the Bistro this week for 2010 Stone Winter Storm, so if you get here before Saturday, you’ll get a chance to try it before the general release.

The Newest Olympic Event – Synchronized Beer Drinking?!


Wow, just when you thought we were done with our collaboration shenanigans for a while…we bring you the first ever Synchronized Beer Tapping event (at least we think it’s the first–please don’t check that with the Guinness book or anything)! Here’s our grand plan: at precisely 4pm San Diego time and 7pm Boston time, we will be simultaneously tapping our very first kegs of BrewDog/Cambridge/Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner both here at Stone and at Cambridge Brewing Co. (CBC). What’s so special about this, you ask? Several things. For one (and it’s a really big ONE), kegs of this beer are an endangered species, and you may never see it on tap again–although occasional bottle sightings continue to be reported. Reason number two: Will Meyers, head brewer at CBC, tells us they pretty much never have guest beers on tap at their brewpub, so this is quite a rare occurrence. Reason number three: it’s a damn good beer. Duh.

Joining Will at the New England portion of this historic event will be our own East Coast Regional Brewery Representative and general Cool Dude and Nice Guy, Michael Saklad. If you live in the area and haven’t had the chance to meet him, you might want to seriously consider introducing yourself. When is it NOT a good idea to make friends with someone who peddles beer for a living? And to make Saturday even more memorable, Will tells us that alongside this beautiful black collaboration brew, CBC will also be proudly serving up some really stellar beers from the other two members of this team brewing effort. Here’s what lucky Bostonians have to look forward to: 2007 Stone Imperial Russian Stout, wine barrel-aged 2008 Stone Old Guardian Barleywine, BrewDog Dogma, and whiskey cask-conditioned BrewDog Paradox. As Will says, “Obviously, we’re super excited!” So are we, Will, so are we.

And just in case you somehow have not managed to appreciate the gravity of the situation, just in case you’re thinking, “Meh, I’ll try some next time,” ponder this: only 12 kegs of this black sheep of a beer were ever produced. TWELVE. As Ben Lee, our Production Coordinator, pointed out to me, that is the smallest number of kegs we’ve made of any of our beers in the history of us making beer. So this means that after we’ve finished the two we’re tapping on Saturday, the two that will be pouring at CBC, the one we’re sending to BrewDog, and one that some lucky Bastards down in San Diego already got their hands on, there will only be six kegs left in existence. Six. And no, you can’t have them.

-Kathryn Bouscaren