ESCONDIDO, Calif. – A virtual universe of choices confront the modern brewer when it comes to selecting hops. Stone Brewing encourages its brewers to live in a world of pure imagination… If we can dream it, we can brew it. This week, Stone Brewing presents Stone VirtuALE IPA, the latest liquid exploration into the world of experimental hop technology. The beer incorporates first-use technology, with potential to become rote tradition (by at least the year 2045) if this beer’s hoppy excellence is any indication.
With the release of Stone VirtuALE IPA, Stone is the first to put to use INCOGNITO, a brand new proprietary technique for processing hops. The resulting Citra and Mosaic extracts highlight different qualities of the otherwise familiar hops. While hop extracts have been around for years, new processes for separating the lupulin (that delicious hoppy goodness) from the plant material offer new layers of complexity for brewers to explore.
“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.”
This week’s nearly nationwide release timing may be simply coincidental, or perhaps Stone felt the world needed the 22oz key to an oasis of fresh hops to fall into for two hours and 20 minutes this spring. With West Coast bitter roots and a dank hop kick that finishes surprisingly tropical, Stone VirtuALE IPA is nothing short of a blockbuster release. The beer pours light gold carrying floral, resin and grapefruit aromas. Flavors of berry upon grapefruit and hibiscus give this beer a soft bitter finish complemented by a light hint of honey.
Stone’s inspiration comes from innovative hops, and sometimes even an Ernest Cline (@erniecline) novel-turned major motion picture* helps get the creative juices flowing. No matter the origin, this dankly resinous tropical delight is available in 22oz bottles and draft in select states nationwide.
*While the pairing of this beer and the big screen is an obvious win, don’t miss the joy of reading the book itself. If preferred, fans can even kick back and listen to Stone’s good friend Wil Wheaton’s (@wilw) narration of the audio book! QUICK FACTS
- Name: Stone VirtuALE IPA
- Web: stonebrewing.com/virtuale
- Stats: 7.7% ABV, 72 IBUs
- Featured Hops: Magnum, Citra and Mosaic
- Availability: 22oz bottles and draft
- National Distribution: AZ, AK, CA, CO, DE, FL 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
- Find Beer:find.stonebrewing.com
- Appearance: Light gold, very clear, white head.
- Aroma: Berries, resin, floral, orange blossom, grape and grapefruit.
- Taste: Citrus peel, berry, hibiscus, orange, ruby red grapefruit and a touch of honey.
- Palate: Very smooth on the mid-palate with a soft bitterness on the finish.
- Overall: At Stone, most of our beers are brewed with hop pellets. For this beer, we were fortunate to be asked by one of our hop suppliers to trial an experimental hop extract that we love. The beer is hopped with this all-natural, all-hop extract in the whirlpool, as well as with traditional pellet hops in the dry-hop. The resulting beer is brilliantly dank, resiny and carries big citrus notes of tropical fruit.
- Starters: Vegetable or Shrimp Tempura, Fresh Yellowfin Tuna Poke**, Steamed Mussels**
- Soups and Salads: Albondigas soup, Beet and Goat-cheese salad, Sweet Gems Salad**, The Pungent One (Cheddar, Garlic & Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0 Soup)*
- Main Courses: King Crab legs, Stone Shrimp and Grits*, Grilled Jerk Chicken Sandwich, Fried Shrimp Po Boy, Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs
- Desserts: Prickly Pear Ice Cream, Lemon Meringue Pie, Thai-Rolled Ice Cream with Mixed Fruit, Warm Blueberry Cake with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream***
*Pairings available at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido.
**Pairings available at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station.
Pairings available at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Berlin.
ABOUT STONE BREWING
Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, the groundbreaking San Diego-based Stone Brewing is the 8th largest craft brewer in the United States. Recognized as an award-winning, industry leader, Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 12 times, has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multifaceted company is the first American craft brewer to independently build, own and operate their own brewery in Europe (Berlin, Germany), and also opened a production brewery in Richmond, Virginia in 2016. Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone has earned a reputation for brewing outstanding, unique beers while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing…and pledging to never, ever, sell out to the man. For more information on Stone Brewing, please visit stonebrewing.com or the company’s social media sites: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.