Over the past ten to fifteen years a lot of brewers have released “Anniversary” brews. Some are uninspiring, simply a hopped up version of their regular offerings. Others simply add a random ingredient in an attempt to be funky or unique.
There are other brewers that celebrate their Anniversaries by giving us the consumer and their fans a beer unique to that year. No one does this better that Stone Brewing Company.
Stone Brewing Company has some of the most anticipated offering in the market. Old Guardian Barleywine Style Ale, Stone Imperial Russian Stout and Stone Double Bastard Ale are probably the most sought after seasonal beers available.
Just as coveted as the above mentioned seasonal offering is Stone Brewing Company’s Anniversary offerings. Shrouded in a cloak of mystery these Anniversary releases are kept secret until the final recipe is perfected and then and only then is the bottle art and a description of the beer released to the public.
This year the mystery is over and Stone’s 13th Anniversary Ale is on the shelves. This American Strong Ale is officially called a “Imperial/Double Red“by its brewers. It weighs in at 9.5% ABV ad 90+ IBUs (International Bittering Units).
I could smell the hops the second the bottle was uncapped. The beer pours a clear red with a modest tan head. There is a huge hop presence in the aroma with a delicate toffee, roasted malt and a pine presence. The beer finishes with a spicy hoppy finish. I paired it up with some 3 year old sharp cheddar and sipped away as I became one with my sofa.
This is such a great beer every year we get treated to a new fantastic brew. I feel lucky to be a friend and fan of the brewery. Thank the heavens for Matt Steele and his kindness in bestowing this beer upon me. Congratulations go out to Greg, Steve and The Stone Crew for 13 years of excellence.
I could go on for hours about how great this Stone Brewing Company offering is. I have been doing that for the 6 years that I have been writing this column about every other Stone special release. Instead I would like to close this column with a quote from TMR’s Editor In Chief Steve Tommestti “Stone can do no wrong with me.”