The latest beer from our Stochasticity Project isn’t a futuristic or horizon-trained offering, but instead an ale crafted in the style of medieval brewsters. Sipping this ethereally herbaceous, floral (and, yes, hoppy…we’re still Stone Brewing Co.) beer is evocative of sipping beery, belly-warming nectar in the middle of a dense, misty English forest by the light of a log-stoked fire surrounded by one’s band of merry journeyers. ‘Twas such a fire that was used to boil the wort of beers during that long-gone era, and that lent a slightly smoky character to the finished product. To replicate that, this beer is brewed with peat-smoked malt as well as a lesser-used and most-interesting spicing and flavoring agent, elderberries. When combined with English hop varietals, Target and Goldings, everything comes together to create an ale paying homage to jolly (very) old England while incorporating modern-day, Southern-California hopping. Enter, Stochasticity Project Your Father Smelt of Elderberries.
In the midst of one crazy, geeky night of craft beer celebration and appreciation, Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tsout collaborators…you guessed it…Drew Curtis, Wil Wheaton and Greg Koch, took a (very brief) time-out to film a quick episode of Stonelandia covering minor items such as Drew’s current campaign to become the Governor of his home state of Kentucky, as well as crucial current events such as the rise of strategic googly-eye applications across Southern California (thanks much in part to Wil’s wife, Anne). There’s even a cameo by Aisha Tyler (well, her name, anyway). Check it…
What kind of Hollywood dreamer would stake his reputation and hitch his vocational star to a pair of outlandish Scottish brewers for a U.S. television show looking to introduce craft beer virgins to the glories of hand-forged, far out ales and lagers? Surely there are more straightforward ways to educate and far better ideas for small-screen TV programming that’d be easier to pitch, shoot and promote. But it wouldn’t be nearly as good as the Esquire Network‘s hit show, Brew Dogs. Hosted by James Watt and Martin Dickie, Co-founders of the ceiling-shattering U.K. brewing company of practically the same name (BrewDog…maybe you’ve heard of it), the series, now in its second season, is the love-laced labor of Executive Producer Jared Cotton, who recently visited Stonelandia Co-hosts Greg Koch (Co-founder and CEO of Stone Brewing Co.) and Tyler Graham (Stone’s chief storyteller and GK’s daring if not occasionally semi-reluctant conspirator). Punchiness, sarcasm, awkwardness and laughter ensued, and it was all documented for your viewing pleasure in Stonelandia: Jared Cotton & The Discerning Book of D%&k Jokes…
When most Americans think of Australia, their minds revert to popularized images of shrimps on the barbie, an architecturally magnificent opera house, crocs, koalas, ‘roos both kanga and walla, and scenes from the Outback. But when our Brew Crew’s thoughts venture Down Under, they think of hops. It’s appropriate considering the plethora of amazing hop cultivars being grown in that country. Primarily through single-hop IPAs brewed on our 10-barrel brewhouse at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, our brewers have had the opportunity to really dig into the aroma, flavor and bittering characteristics of a number of Australian hops, using that knowledge to extract the best of what they have to offer into numerous beers brewed at our main facility. These hops have found their way into our regular brewing rotation, so when it came time to develop a recipe for our annual anniversary IPA, it was a quick and simple decision. We endeavored to create a hop-heavy beer celebrating Australia in a uniquely tasteful way. The result is Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA.
Everything about this beer is 100% Australian. From the hop bill, which includes Ella, Vic Secret, Galaxy and Topaz, to the Australian Fairview malts we went to great lengths to import. The result is an imperial IPA coming in at a thunderous 8.7% alcohol-by-volume that provides the necessary heft to support the beer’s massive hop presence. Big notes of citrus and tropical fruit come roaring through, first in the bouquet followed by the taste buds. The taste sensations are similar to Stone Enjoy By IPA, which makes sense considering Galaxy hops are used to dry-hop that beer. Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA finishes dry with a hint of lingering bitterness akin to grapefruit rind, making for the type of all-around sensory experience we aim for when crafting our annual celebratory beers. But we didn’t stop there.
To adequately convey our respectful homage to Australia, inside and out, our graphics artists worked up a bottle design that subtly yet distinctly incorporates elements plucked from Down Under. Most obviously, Australia appears as the jumping-off point for our anniversary gargoyle, but inside the numbers one and nine is a dot pattern inspired by aboriginal artists. And, because thunder is invisible, a slew of lightning bolts adorn the bottle along with text that may or may not reference a band with Australian roots that may or may not exist and may or may not have penned a tune that may or may not share the same name as that of this beer. What is for sure is that this limited-edition imperial IPA is out in the wild like a dingo on the prowl, seeking hopheads with worldly palates ready to celebrate an exciting hop-growing region along with 19 years of bold, exotic Stone ales. But you can’t have a 19th anniversary IPA without 19 years, so accept this specialty beer as a thank-you to everyone who helped get us this far!
Tasting notes, provided by Brewmaster Mitch Steele
- Stats: 8.7% ABV, 95 IBUs
- Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and on draft beginning August 10
- Hop Bill:Ella, Galaxy, Topaz, Vic Secret
- National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, 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 and Puerto Rico
- International Distribution: Australia; Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; Japan; Singapore and United Kingdom
- Appearance: Pours gold color with a white head of foam.
- Aroma: Aroma is amazing; massively hoppy with exotic tropical fruit, peaches, citrus and pineapple character, balanced with a bit of peppery, herbal dankness.
- Taste: Lots of fruity hop notes, ripe fruit, pleasantly malty and lasting, intense bitterness.
- Palate: Medium-bodied, bitter and dry.
- Overall: Over the past several years, we have developed an intense and thorough hop-evaluation program that involves brewing a standard IPA test recipe on our five-barrel pilot system or our ten-barrel brewery at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. With this program, we identify experimental, new or old-favorite hop varieties to evaluate, and these test beers are late-hopped and dry-hopped exclusively using the variety we are exploring. We’ve discovered a lot of great hops via these test brews, and the hops used in this release are perfect examples of the success of our program. We have developed an affinity for hops grown in Australia. Australian Galaxy, for example, is a mainstay dry-hop in our Stone Enjoy By IPA. In the case of Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA, we dry-hopped the beer with two Australian hop varietals that went through our evaluation program—Vic Secret and Ella. Both are flavorful varieties with complex fruit profiles. To make this beer even more authentically Australian, we also imported close to 400,000 pounds of Australian Fairview malt, all in 1,800-pound “supersacks” for use as the base malt. The result is a uniquely Australian beer, Stone-style. Thun-da!
Suggested pairings, provided by Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak
- Appetizers: Barbecue shrimp, chicken satay, kimchi, guacamole, goat cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers
- Soups: Caesar, summer corn, quinoa and vegetable, antipasto
- Entrées: Fish tacos, pad Thai, spicy vegetarian chili, chana masala
- Cheeses: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, manchego, fontina, Keen’s Cheddar
- Desserts: Carrot cake, peach cobbler, white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies, ginger spice cake
- Cigars: Herrera Esteli Piramide Fino, Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story
What do craft beer and the nostalgic confection, Pop Rocks, have in common? Not a damn thing! Seriously. One is pure and all-natural, and the other is mass-produced using who knows what chemicals, stabilizers, dyes, etc. But given the latter’s (admittedly cool) effects on the human palate, Tyler Graham, Co-host of our unpredictable (dare we say, “stochastic”) web series, Stonelandia, decided it was high time to test whether those explosive candies can be paired with artisan ales. He was somehow able to wrangle Stone CEO and Co-founder (and fellow Stonelandia Co-host) Greg Koch and Stone Brewing Berlin’s Director of Brewing Operation Thomas Tyrell into this experiment, which has since been recorded and put onto the interwebs for your enjoyment.
Recognizing the marketing power of slapping a celebrity’s name on a bottle, many are the adult beverage producers who seek out popular, public-facing people to help sell their liquid wares. All too often, it consists of little more than some TV time, and payment of royalties for the rental of a moniker and its associated persona via some “signature blend,” “private label” or similarly shallow ploy to profit off pop culture-obsessed fan-boys and girls. This is definitely NOT the case with Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout, the 2015 edition of which is already well on its way across the nation. Though its handle contains a number of droppable names, there is serious heart and an authentic genesis to what has become one of the most coveted beers in Stone’s proud history.
Imagine an entire month devoted to hoppy beer. Hop cones, humulus lupulus, acids both alpha and beta celebrated with great fervor and the hoisting of many pints of double and triple India pale ales. It’s a most glorious scene for the mind’s eye to survey. Now open your eyes and ready your palate, because things are about to get really real courtesy of Stone Ruination Nation. This month-long, multi-faceted homage to the glory of hops kicked off on July 1 and will carry through the entire month! That’s right, we didn’t go with some lame, 28-day month. We specifically aimed for the first month offering 31 summery days so we could push things to the max under optimal IPA enjoyment conditions. Now all we need is for you to help make Stone Ruination Nation all it can be…and we promise to make it worth your while!
For many, the term “triple IPA” hails from a foreign vernacular—that makes sense, considering IPA stands for India pale ale, a British beer style brewed with enough hops to preserve the quaff during long nautical voyages from England to the Far East. It doesn’t get much more foreign than two distantly situated countries and the traversing of two major oceanic bodies. Since latching on to this historic style, American craft brewers have taken the IPA to new heights. No longer are hops coveted for their preservative powers—now it’s all about those botanicals’ piney, fruity, tropical, spicy flavors and aromas, and raising those sensations to bombastic levels. But what takes an India pale ale to “triple IPA” territory? The answer comes in the form of Stone RuinTen Triple IPA.
You try your best to have a civilized conversation; a cordial back-and-forth where two individuals tactfully and respectfully get down to brass tacks and get real with one another. You rehearse what you have to say in the mirror over and over, searching for just the right words to be sensitive yet firm, considerate yet straightforward. You do this, because you care deeply for the individual who will later replace that mirror. After all, much like that person staring back at you from that pane of reflective glass, the guy you have to have this sit-down with reminds you a lot of you. He is family, after all, and though you don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, there are undeniable bonds. You’ve been through everything together over the past 17 years and, though it sometimes felt like the distance between you was immeasurable, he was always there, the weight of his presence and that insatiable ego of his casting an ever-present shadow over every significant moment in a history that is storied in great part thanks to him. Still, you can’t let that sway you from this inevitable come-to-Jesus moment, so you sit him down and tell him that he’s gotten too big for his britches; enough that he’s soiling yours to a degree. You deliver what you hope is a masterfully convincing dissertation, ending it with an open invitation for your conversational partner to say something for themselves…perhaps even offer an iota of understanding. Heck, with any luck you might even get out of this one with a hug and some shared mistiness. But, no. Not with this Arrogant Bastard…
What does this mean for our sudden anti-hero? He’s hitting the road, but what does that mean? Your guess is as good as ours. We’ve housed this haughty rabble-rouser for the past 17 years and, though he’s always kept his distance, his omnipotence has been undeniable. Given that, one has to ask: What does this mean for us? For the Stone Brewing Co.? We’ll surely get along just fine, but things will certainly be different around here. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s a really bad thing. Again, your guess is as good as ours. We’ll all have to wait and see how it plays out, how this Bastard’s story plays out. It may be a tale marked by victory of the highest order, or it may be a long, winding road ending at a tragic dead-end—or off a cliff. But one thing’s for certain. It won’t be dull. And nothing will ever be the same again…
Long ago, before bottled beer could be purchased at a supermarket–heck, before supermarkets–some clever folks decided they didn’t want to be limited to drinking beer in pubs. After all, enjoying a pint at the bar is fine, but getting home to your family and enjoying a beer with your home-cooked meal is pretty epic, too. So they decided to have additional pints poured into a container (usually a metal pail back then) they could then take home and enjoy. My own grandfather told me his father used to send him to the local pub with a coffee can and the instructions: “Not too much foam.” (Dad must have had a pretty good fake ID.) It’s been a while since the days of filling any old container with draft beer. Somewhere along the way, the word “growler” became common terminology for a glass jug in which to carry home draft beer from a local brewery.