Beer Alexandria Virginia
By Nick Anderson, the Beermonger
San Diego’s Stone Brewing Co. has a flair for the dramatic. From their hoppy Arrogant Bastard Ale whose bottle proclaims “You’re not worthy” to their Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, with its gargoyle logo out front for the world, Stone doesn’t really do ‘little’. So when they decide to experiment, things tend to get interesting. Such is the case with their Vertical Epic series.
The concept is pretty simple: Ten years worth of one-time-only brews, each bottle conditioned and built to last until all of them are released. Starting with the first release on February 2nd, 2002, the series will end with the last release on December 12th, 2012. Those patient enough and with enough beer storage to hold onto all ten are then encouraged to enjoy a vertical tasting. As we’re now more than halfway through August, it seems more than time for the arrival of the 8.8.08 release.
This years Epic based on a style of beer that’s becoming more popular everyday—Belgian IPA. You see, many of the Belgian brewers who come to visit the States are overwhelmed and overjoyed at the insanely hoppy IPA’s and Double IPA’s that American craft brewers are putting out. When they return to Belgium, they say “Why not us?” and craft a hoppy Ale of their own. The best Belgian IPA’s show both the characteristic bitter feel and citrus notes of hoppier beers as well as the spicy, yeasty notes of great Belgian Golden Ales and Tripels.
So Stone has essentially made an American version of a Belgian Ale inspired by American beers. Whew. Stone describes this years Vertical as “…spicy, hoppy and fruity, with a very dry and a pleasant bitter end.” I’ve gotten reports from one of my blog readers from Tennessee who told me the Ale has a big tropical fruit influence (specifically Mango), likely from the hop addition. I won’t get a chance to try it out until later this week.
If you’d like to check out Stone Vertical Epic, swing by Rick’s Wine & Gourmet this Saturday August 23rd from 12-5 PM. I’ll be pouring the Epic along with some other extraordinary releases like Weyerbacher’s 13th Anniversary Ale and Allagash Fluxus, which is an Imperial Belgian White Ale. If you’re in the neighborhood this Friday night, come by from 5-8 PM to try our most recent Octoberfest and Autumn-themed arrivals. Until next week.
Nick Anderson, the Beermonger
Nick Anderson is the Beer Buyer (Beermonger) at Rick’s Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, VA. He writes a blog that can be read at www.beermonger.net