Stone Brewing Releases 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA

22Anni_22ozBottle_Mockup.pngStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced that it is celebrating its birthday with the Special Release of Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA.

Not only has Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA arrived to celebrate 22 years of brewing craft beer at Stone Brewing, but it is also here as the brewery’s first anniversary beer to serve as the winner of the Stone Spotlight Series, “the annual competition that pits Stone’s brewers against one another in friendly rivalry.” Developed by “Stone Brewing Team members Jose Flores, a production brewer, and Jason Smith, who focuses on small batch brewing”, Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA is a proud, “NO HAZE” Double India Pale Ale that utilizes an “arsenal of anti-haze techniques” and a recipe that showcases a “solid malt background . . . complemented with complex hop fruit flavors of cherries, apricot, melon and citrus.”  This approach results in a Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA that is “full bodied with a short, clean and dry finish of ample bitterness and a slight warming from its elevated [9.1%] ABV.”

Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA is available now and has plans to hang around into the month of November 2018.  You can find this Special Release offering available in 22 oz. bottles, 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA from Stone Brewing

Release – Limited/Special, August – November 2018
Style – Double India Pale Ale
ABV – 9.1%
IBUs – 81
Featured Hops – Columbus, Denali, Hopsteiner #06297, Galaxy, Citra & Amarillo
Availability – 22 oz. bottles, 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

 

 

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Tasting Notes: Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing

StoneTIRSPourFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we lay down our hammers and deal the workweek a final, crushing blow with the help of a tall, imposing pour of Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing (Escondido, California).

Released back in March as the successor to the fan-favorite Stone Imperial Russian Stout that was developed in 2000 and discontinued in 2016, Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout arrived with an upgraded recipe boasting “the careful addition of Belma hops and flaked oats.”  Although the beer retains the original recipe’s old-world nature by pouring “jet-black with a fluffy chocolate head and [tasting] of deeply dark fruit flavors with rich chocolate and coffee overtones”, the added flaked oats enhance the beer’s “long-lasting smooth and silky finish” while the new-world Belma hops “[intensify] its berry flavors and aroma while subtly introducing a juicy melon undertone.”  In an impressive show of force, Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout flexes its power with a 10.6% ABV and 65 IBUs.

Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout is nearing the end of its run as a Special Release offering, but it can still be found in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 22 oz. bottles and on draft at many craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.

Now that we are all a bit more familiar with Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout’s heritage and updated tweaks, let’s get into these Tasting Notes and see how it all translates!

Tasting Notes for Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing

Appearance: Totalitarian presents itself as an inky, glossy black brew capped with nearly two fingers of super creamy, dark mocha-colored foam.  Even when held to the brightest of light sources, the darkness holds and this Imperial Stout remains completely opaque.  Head retention is solid, but the top cap does slowly slip down to a chunky ring that leaves sweeping lines of lace across the glass.

Aroma: This party is all about those roasted malts as it jumps off with a strong presence of dark chocolate, smoke and char, and espresso roasted coffee.  These heavier notes are broken up a bit with tones of anise, dark fruit and rich toffee, but the roast is undeniably the center of attention here . . . and that’s pretty alright if you ask us.

Taste:  Deeply roasted malts lead here as well, saturating the palate with incredibly satisfying notes of bittersweet dark chocolate and intensely roasted coffee beans.  That roasty, slightly bitter malt character is quickly balanced by tones of dark fruit, booze-soaked berries (strawberry, black currant and raspberry), toffee, rich molasses, subtle melon, earthy leather, and burnt sugar.  A touch of creamy vanilla creeps in just as the flavor profile closes with a graham cracker and sweet bready character.

Mouthfeel:  Full-bodied with a softer carbonation level, this beer is creamy, smooth and velvety on the palate and lingers a bit to give the flavors a chance to fully develop. To keep things from getting cloying, the malt presence and those sneaky hops work together to find a nice balance between this stout’s roasty bite and sweeter qualities.  The 10.6% ABV provides a slow building heat in the throat and belly, but it is far more reserved than expected.  The aftertaste leaves behind just a touch of smoke, toffee and chocolate.

Final Thoughts:  Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout may be an updated take on the OG Stone Imperial Russian Stout, but it still holds true to what big, beautiful Imperial Stouts were before the rise of the overly-sweet, adjunct-filled Pastry Stouts that are now the norm.  The goal that was achieved here was to coax as much aroma, flavor and complexity possible from just hops, malt and yeast while still maintaining some semblance of balance.  It is all about straight-forward craftsmanship, and it is absolutely gorgeous for being so.

Now this may leave some questioning why would the decision makers at Stone Brewing retire the original Stone Imperial Russian Stout if they were not going to make any drastic changes?  Well . . .we can only answer that question with another: Why not?  It was a completely different world when the recipe for Stone Imperial Russian Stout was developed in 2000. That beer was already considered a viscous monster to those dabbling in craft beer at that time, and the idea of adding oats for more body would have been considered insane. Now, that’s what people want.  On top of that, you have to consider that Belma hops were not even released until 2012. So, who’s to say those hops would not have made it into the original if they had been available?  If trends were different and other ingredients were in the brewery almost two decades ago, there is a good chance that the original could have looked a lot like the Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout that is in front of us right now.

With that said, that is a lot of what-ifs.  What we do know is that Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout is all about showing respect for the past while still keeping an eye on the present.  It is a needed throwback offering that gives veteran craft beer drinkers a chance to reminisce on the days when the Russian Imperial Stout style was at its height of popularity . . . but, at the same time, it gives newer craft beer enthusiasts a chance to have a more educational, streamlined experience with the style while still possessing the body, feel and hop flavors that are more customary today.  Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout wears two hats and it looks damn good in both.  Be sure to check this one out before it begins to disappear from shelves and taps.  Prost!

 

Stone Brewing Celebrates Comic Book Fandom with Release of 2018 Farking Wheaton w00tstout

w00tstoutStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced the release of this year’s edition of Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout, a nerd-fueled collaboration from Drew Curtis of Fark.com, Wil Wheaton, and Greg Koch of Stone Brewing.

Somewhat inspired by the Kentucky Derby Pie that was created in Drew Curtis’ home state, Drew Curtis / Wil Wheaton / Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout is an Imperial Stout that has been brewed with wheat (a nod to actor and web celebrity Wil Wheaton), rye and pecans, and “partially aged in bourbon barrels for an intense thunderclap of unique flavors and aromas.”  Weighing in at 11.5% ABV, Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout ultimately comes together to be “an amazingly delicious massive Russian Imperial Stout” that is a true celebration of “the nerd [that lives] in all of us.”

Arriving just in time for the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, Drew Curtis / Wil Wheaton / Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout officially started rolling out on July 9 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Drew Curtis / Wil Wheaton / Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout from Stone Brewing

Release –  Limited/Stone Collaborations; July 9, 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
Featured Hops – English Target
Special Ingredients – Pecans, Wheat & Flaked Rye
Treatment – Partially aged in Bourbon barrels
Fun Fact – On this year’s label artwork: “Front and center this year is the result of Wil’s creative machinations taking the art direction duties with world-renowned fantasy artist Joe Jusko representing our gargoyle’s triumph over the evils in the world of beer.”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

Tasting Notes: Stone White Ghost Berliner Weisse from Stone Brewing

aviary-image-1529447742379For this edition of Tasting Notes, we get all literal by enjoying a close look at a true Berliner Weisse actually from Berlin: Stone White Ghost Berliner Weisse from Stone Brewing (Escondido, California / Berlin, Germany).

Already established in Europe as a Core/Year-Round offering from Stone Brewing – BerlinStone White Ghost (or White Geist) is an authentic take on the Berliner Weisse-style that “gains its orthodox lightly sour and acidic character from a specially selected historic Lactobacillus strain sourced from Berlin’s cultures.”  Well . . . mostly authentic because you know Stone Brewing had to put its own twist on the style by raising the ABV just a skosh to 4.7%. Rounded off with newer German hop varieties (Calista and Hüll Melon), Stone White Ghost Berliner Weisse’s “aroma leads with lemon, peach and melon and the unexpectedly bold and pleasantly refreshing tart flavor punches above its ABV weight.”

To give their American fans a taste of what the brewery is doing in Berlin, Stone Brewing has decided to import Stone White Ghost Berliner Weisse for a limited time.  Stone White Ghost is already available throughout California and a “broad national launch” is expected to follow in the fall of 2018.  Once fully launched, you can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 6-packs of 0.33cl cans and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution footprint.

Now that we know where it has come from and how we can get it, let’s get into these Tasting Notes to see how scary good this White Ghost is!

Tasting Notes for Stone White Ghost Berliner Weisse from Stone Brewing

Appearance:  Stone White Ghost materializes in the glass as a slightly cloudy, pale golden brew.  When held to direct light, the gold color softens, and the liquid takes on more of a lemony yellow appearance.  Although cloudy, it is by no means opaque and a gentle carbonation presence can be seen within.  The pour built just over a finger of airy, wispy white foam.  Retention is decent for the style, but the head eventually falls to a thin ring that does its best to leave sporadic spots of lace behind on the glass.

Aroma: A distinct note of straight lemon juice absolutely billows from the glass as the beer is being poured.  Clean wheat then moves in to support and mellow the citrus a bit, allowing notes of peach, apricot, melon and tart berries a chance to develop as well.  That lemon quality ultimately returns to close things out with a just a touch of grassiness in the background.

Taste:  Just as it should be, the flavor is nearly all tart, lemony goodness.  Sure, the wheat is there to add a bit of balance and the hops have a chance to offer a grace of apricot and melon, but this is pretty much just a sour, Lactobacillus-driven experience dominated by those lemon notes.  And it is gorgeous.

Mouthfeel:  On the light side of medium in body with a slightly fizzy carbonation presence, White Ghost carries a nice weight while still remaining superbly refreshing and easy-drinking.  This brew works the palate with its tart and acidic qualities, but it cleans up quick enough to keep things pleasant and crushable.  Although the ABV is slightly elevated for the style at 4.7%, it does not really show.  Aftertaste is all lemon.

Final Thoughts:  Given that this Limited Release is meant to give American beer drinkers a glimpse at what Stone is brewing over in Berlin, they really could not have picked a more perfect beer to do that job.  Stone White Ghost reads purely as a clean and true Berliner Weisse.  Other than raising the ABV a touch and introducing some new hop varietals, Stone Brewing left this beer alone for the most part and just allowed it to be what it is: a tart and refreshing brew that is perfect for any occasion.

With that said, if you are looking for the fruit and adjunct-laden take on the Berliner that is so common in the U.S. right now, Stone White Ghost is not that.  It should not be, and the reason why is simple.  Think about it, Stone Brewing is making a Berliner Weisse . . . in Berlin.  They needed to produce a traditional take on the style – with just a touch of Stone Brewing flair – to be taken seriously in that region.  They did just that with this stellar Berliner Weisse, and we are now left itching to try anything and everything we can get our hands on from Stone Brewing – Berlin.  Prost!

 

Stone Brewing Introduces Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA as New Year-Round

2018_DoubleIPA_16ozCanMock_FinalStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced the East Coast release of Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA, the first Year-Round offering developed at Stone Brewing – Richmond.

Named after the what3words address (click here to learn more) for the “three-meter square smack dab in the middle of . . . [Stone’s Richmond, Virginia brewery] in which the recipe was created”, Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA is an East Coast-inspired unfiltered Double India Pale Ale that still retains “a noticeably West Coast-influenced bitterness, and tactfully balanced Richmond-style finish.”  Weighing in at an “amped up” 8.5% ABV, Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA abounds with juicy aromatics of “fresh fruit and fresh hops” along with flavors of “fresh-squeezed fruit juice, strawberry, blueberry, grapes and a hint of white sage.”

“We’re supporting the what3words convention because we think it’s cool, and we see the significant social good in it,” said Stone Brewing Executive Chairman & co-founder Greg Koch. “We’re early adopters of the convention, and while companies like GPS company TomTom, and Mercedes, also believe that what3words is onto something big, we’re the first ones to use the convention to name a beer. In the not-so-distant future you’ll be able to use what3words to get beer delivered to you wherever you are, or to verbally tell your self-driving car to take you to the beer. In the meantime, we can relax and enjoy a Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA and dream about the world of the future.”

Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA will only be brewed at Stone’s Richmond facility and is currently available exclusively on the Eastern seaboard.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round available in 6-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, Virginia, and select other states on the East Coast (full list available below).  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA from Stone Brewing

Release – Year-Round, launching week of June 4, 2018
Style – Double India Pale Ale (unfiltered)
ABV – 8.5%
IBUs – 60
Featured Hops – Magnum, Loral & Mosaic
Fun Fact – On what3words: “what3words provides a precise and incredibly simple way to talk about location by dividing the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares. Each square has a unique three word address. So ensuring that your Uber drops you at the correct entrance, finding your friend at a concert, or bringing emergency medical services to a remote mountainside just got easier. what3words is making the world less frustrating, more efficient, and safer, three words at a time.  Watch the what3words video here.
Availability – 6-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI and WV
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

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Societe & Stone Brewing Stress Freshness with Draft-Only Release of The Skedaddler IPA

SkedaddlerIPA_TaphandleStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced the nationwide release of Societe / Stone The Skedaddler IPA, a draft-only collaboration with Societe Brewing Company (San Diego, California) that represents both breweries’ commitment to freshness and independence.

On a mission to prove that “draft is the ultimate experience when it comes to hop-driven beers”, Stone Brewing’s Senior Innovation Brewing Manager Jeremy Moynier reached out to the folks at Societe Brewing Company – another of “San Diego’s foremost IPA cult favorites” – to see if they would be interested in “brewing a collaboration beer that would be shipped across the country exclusively in kegs.”  They jumped at the chance and representatives from Stone and Societe “started down the long, temperature-controlled road” to brew Societe / Stone The Skedaddler IPA (7% ABV). Boasting a hop bill that features varietals from all over the world, this “massively hopped” West Coast IPA “is full-bodied yet dry on the finish, with vibrant citrus, stone fruit and tropical flavors on the palate; just what a craft-beer fan would expect from two companies renowned for their IPA prowess.”

“We consider Stone trailblazers of the craft-beer revolution. Their vision was so in line with ours that, in the early days of Societe, we reached out to them and they were kind enough to provide some useful advice that helped shape our company,” says Societe co-founder Doug Constantiner. “It was such an honor for Stone to ask us to brew a collaboration beer with them.”

 

“Independence is always in our battle cry, each year we release a draft-only beer in the summer months that reinforces our steadfast commitment,” said Stone CEO Dominic Engels. “Societe is the perfect partner for this occasion. The team maintains incredible allegiance to its fans and its dedication to delivering only the freshest beers. Like us, they’ll never sacrifice quality. Independence is our mutual guarantee to fans that these moral beliefs will never be compromised.”

Kegs of Societe / Stone The Skedaddler IPA are rolling out across the country this week and will hang around until the 4th of July holiday.  You can expect to find this Special Release pouring on draft at craft beer-focused bars, restaurants and growler/crowler stations located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Societe / Stone The Skedaddler IPA from Stone Brewing & Societe Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Special, June 2 – July 4, 2018
Style – India Pale Ale (West Coast style)
ABV – 7%
IBUs – 70
Featured Hops – Mosaic®, Idaho 7, Galaxy, Citra, Magnum, Mosaic, Ella & Southern Cross
Social Media Tag –  #SkedaddlerIPA
Availability – Draft Only
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

 

Tasting Notes: Stone Scorpion Bowl IPA from Stone Brewing

StoneSBIPAPour1000For this week’s installment of Tasting Notes, we track down some tropical fruit refreshment in a tall pour of Scorpion Bowl IPA from Stone Brewing (Escondido, California).

Released as the newest Year-Round offering to join the brewery’s respected lineup of IPAs, Stone Scorpion Bowl IPA is Stone Brewing’s take on those trendy, fruit-forward beers that are so popular right now but “with absolutely no addition of fruit.” Relying solely on Mosaic, Loral and Mandarina Bavaria hops, Stone Scorpion Bowl IPA (7.5% ABV, 76 IBUs) offers a tiki-like experience that possesses “hints of passion fruit, pineapple, tangerine, guava and mango . . . as well as strawberry, blueberry and subtle herbal notes.”

Stone Scorpion Bowl IPA is out now and available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.

With all that background information now out of the way, let’s stretch the weekend out into this Monday and get into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Stone Scorpion Bowl IPA from Stone Brewing

Appearance: This IPA pours a deep golden in color and is capped with almost two fingers of chunky, white foam.  Held to direct light, its appearance brightens and radiates with light orange and brilliant yellow hues.  The beer is impeccably clear and alive with a steady carbonation presence.  Head retention is decent, but the foam does end up reducing down to a thin ring that draws intricate lines of lace across the glass.

Aroma: Tropical notes abound as mango, cantaloupe, papaya, guava, and pineapple are all eager to greet the nose.  In addition to those fruity tones, the hops also offer a subtle musty and earthy quality that hangs out in the background.  This dynamic hop character dominates the profile, but there is just a hint of lightly sweet, bready malt that works its way in to lend some support.

Taste:  Just like the nose, this brew’s flavor is all about that tropical hop goodness.  It starts with a sweet tangerine/orange character (almost candied orange at times) that opens up to welcome notes of pineapple, passionfruit and mango.  Mixed berries then surface and bring with them some subtle floral and herbal tones.  The malts supply some nondescript but balancing sweetness, but this beer is pretty much just straight hoppy fruit punch.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium in body with a lighter carbonation, this beer comes across as smooth and slightly creamy.  Although it is more on the hoppy than bitter side, this IPA is still allowed to retain some West Coast bite that lingers a bit in the finish.  The ABV is well hidden and does not influence the experience really at all.  The aftertaste is a satisfying mix of various tropical fruits.

Final Thoughts: From the first sip to the last drop of this bomber, Stone Scorpion Bowl IPA definitely lives up to its name by conjuring up memories of tiki-themed, fruity drink-fueled good times.  The amount of fruit flavor that Stone Brewing coaxed out of these hops is absolutely staggering and impressive.  With that said, it was refreshing to see that the brewers did buck the low IBU trend by keeping this IPA both hoppy and bitter.  This results in a ridiculously enjoyable combination of fruitiness and hoppiness that is innovative, playful and in your face. In other words, it’s everything that an IPA from Stone Brewing should be.  Prost!

Stone Brewing Brings White Geist Berliner Weisse Stateside for a Limited Time

StoneBerlinerWeisse_GermanCANStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced that Stone White Geist Berliner Weisse will venture over from Germany to make its debut in the U.S. beginning this week.

Available in Europe as a Year-Round offering from Stone Brewing – Berlin, Stone White Geist is an authentic take on the Berliner Weisse-style that “gains its orthodox lightly sour and acidic character from a specially selected historic Lactobacillus strain sourced from Berlin’s cultures.”  Well . . . mostly authentic because you know Stone Brewing had to put its own twist on the style by raising the ABV a bit to 4.7%. Rounded off with newer German hop varieties (Calista and Hüll Melon), Stone White Geist Berliner Weisse’s “aroma leads with lemon, peach and melon and the unexpectedly bold and pleasantly refreshing tart flavor punches above its ABV weight.”

“As global participants in the craft beer community, Stone has the unique opportunity to share beers across locations, highlighting the different local and regional influences along the way,” stated Greg Koch, Stone Brewing executive chairman & co-founder. “Stone White Geist Berliner Weisse features the work of our talented team at Stone Berlin, and we’re truly honored to be among Berlin’s craft brewers taking charge as the revivalists to help return this style to its former glory.”

Stone White Geist Berliner Weisse will debut in California beginning this week and a “broad national launch” will follow in the fall of this year.  Once fully released, you can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 0.33l cans and on draft at select craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone White Geist Berliner Weisse from Stone Brewing

Release – Limited; California in May 2018, national this fall 
Style – Berliner Weisse
ABV – 4.7%
IBUs – 12
Featured Hops – Calista & Hüll Melon
Fun Fact – On the style’s history: “The Berliner Weisse is a style dating back to at least the 16th century, and to this day, European appellation labeling standards require that a beer must be brewed within the city of Berlin to call the beer a ‘Berliner Weisse.’ A complex sour beer, the style was once honored by Napoleon as the ‘Champagne of the North.’ It’s now enjoying a resurgence by small brewers in the US and elsewhere in the world, many of whom are creating amazing variations with fruit and other creative additives. As Stone deepens its roots in the city of Berlin, it seems only fitting that the team would take an interest in exploring the style in its purest and most authentic form.”
Availability – 6-packs of 0.33l cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

Tasting Notes: Aloha! Berlin from Stone Brewing & Maui Brewing Co.

StoneMauiBottleThis week’s installment of Tasting Notes has us fending off the midweek malaise with a very special bottle of Aloha! Berlin Imperial Coconut Porter from Stone Brewing (Escondido, California) and Maui Brewing Co. (Kihei, Hawaii).

Originally released back in late 2016 as the first of fourteen Stone Groundbreaking Collaborations brewed to commemorate the opening of Stone Berlin, Aloha! Berlin is an Imperial Coconut Porter that carries on a long history of collaboration between Stone Brewing and Maui Brewing Co.  Filled with “the welcoming spirit of the Aloha State”, Aloha! Berlin echoes past collaborations between the two breweries as it showcases “ingredients familiar to the islands – rich coffee and pounds of hand-toasted coconut – and introduces hazelnuts into the mix.”  Clocking in at 9.3% ABV, Aloha! Berlin boasts an experience “deeply rooted in Hawaii, San Diego, Europe and friendship, capturing the true essence of the word ‘aloha,’ which also means on a deeper level ‘joyfully sharing life.'”

Although Aloha! Berlin was originally released in 2016 via a special-order campaign, a limited amount of it and six other Stone Groundbreaking Collaborations were re-released back in December of 2017.  It may be a bit more difficult to track them down these days, but a few of these 750ml and 1.5L bottles might still be tucked away on shelves at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s distribution footprint.

That should just about wrap up this beer’s background info, so let’s properly introduce Aloha! Berlin to a glass and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Aloha! Berlin Imperial Coconut Porter from Stone Brewing & Maui Brewing Co.

Appearance: Aloha! Berlin pours a seemingly black in color and wears right at a finger of almond colored foam.  When held to direct light, the color opens – especially at the edges – to reveal that this Imperial Porter is actually a rich, dark brown.  The beer is opaque, but a pulse of carbonation can be seen near the edges of the glass.  Head retention is decent, but it does eventually fall to a lasting ring that leaves behind chunky lace patterns after each pull.

Aroma: Toasted coconut leads the aromatics with a supporting cast of mixed nuts – mostly hazelnuts and cashews.  Coffee rises up to establish a bit of earthiness and a whole lot of roasty goodness.  That roast then draws your attention to the underlying malts that also offer notes of indulgent caramel and bittersweet chocolate.

Taste: A firm Porter base establishes itself first with really nice layers of dark chocolate, caramel and toffee.  A toasted coconut presence that is both sweet and booze soaked then emerges alongside a dollop of cream.  Just before the entire experience becomes awash with a closing flood of roasted coffee, a European influence settles in as hazelnuts ride in on another layer of rich chocolate.  There is a lot at work here, but it is all nuanced and ridiculously tasty.

Mouthfeel:  Sitting on the fuller side of medium in body with a moderate carbonation level, this beer has a great weight that maintains a smooth, easy sippin’ experience. Although it is mostly sweet on the palate, the roast from the coffee brings out a nice bitterness that assists with balance and keeps this thing from getting cloying.  The ABV does bring a touch of heat to the throat and further promotes this beer’s intention to be a sipper.  The aftertaste leaves behind some dark chocolate and coffee.

Final Thoughts:  Aloha! Berlin comes together as a wonderful mashup of a solid but larger representation of Maui Brewing’s respected Coconut Hiwa Porter and Stone Brewing’s love of everything that is unapologetically big and bold.  That combo on its own is more than enough to result in an amazing beer, but they took this experience to the next level by recognizing the establishment of Stone Berlin with the addition of hazelnuts – an ingredient that is often used in German treats and chocolates.  All of these layers result in a sip that simultaneously possesses plenty of tropical goodness, a European quality that has a comforting familiarity, a robust coffee character that serves as some middle ground, and a careful mix of the three that translates as a slightly scaled back, not-so-sweet German chocolate cake note.  It is everything you could possible want when you see a beer label that reads “Aloha! Berlin Imperial Coconut Porter“.  It is all things Maui Brewing Co. . . . It is all things Stone Brewing . . . and it is abundantly clear why this offering served as the first of the fourteen beers in this series.  If you are lucky enough to run across this beer out in the wild, you owe it to yourself to try it.  Prost!

Stone Brewing Expands its Exploration of Hops with Release of VirtuALE IPA

Virtuale_22ozBottle_MockupStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced the release of Stone VirtuALE IPA as an unexpected addition to their 2018 lineup of Special Releases.

Inspired by the literary works of Ernest Cline and meant to serve as “the latest liquid exploration into the world of experimental hop technology”, Stone VirtuALE IPA positions Stone Brewing as “the first to put to use INCOGNITO™, a brand new proprietary technique for processing hops.”  This new process yields “Citra and Mosaic extracts [that highlight] different qualities of the otherwise familiar hops” to give Stone VirtuALE IPA mind-expanding aromatic notes of “berries, resin, floral, orange blossom, grape and grapefruit.”  The experience goes on to showcase “flavors of berry upon grapefruit and hibiscus . . . complemented by a light hint of honey.”  Weighing in at 7.7% ABV and 72 IBUs, Stone VirtuALE IPA comes together to be an American India Pale Ale “with West Coast bitter roots and a dank hop kick that finishes surprisingly tropical.”

“We were fortunate to be asked by one of our hop suppliers, John I. Haas, to participate in an early trial using this new hop product,” said Jeremy Moynier, Stone Brewing senior innovation brewing manager. “We have worked with different people in the industry doing hop trials for several years at Stone. We have played with some hop extracts as well, which can add an exciting dimension to our innovation process. We’ve tested some of these in combination with other hops and in this case, we combined hop pellets with hops from the INCOGNITO™ process. The final beer is definitely unique, adding another dimension to this really cool IPA.”

Stone VirtuALE IPA is available now and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Special Release available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Florida, California, Virginia and in other select states found within Stone Brewing’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone VirtuALE IPA from Stone Brewing

Release – Limited/Special, late March/April 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 7.7%
IBUs – 72
Featured Hops – Magnum, Citra & Mosaic
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Distribution – FL, AZ, AK, CA, CO, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL IN, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA and WI
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready