ESCONDIDO, CA – Two decades of innovative craft brewing is a big deal. Only a small percentage of craft beer companies can boast such a tenure. The significance of this milestone is not lost on Stone Brewing Co.’s co-founders, Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, who have decided to spend more than a full year celebrating the big 2-0 in grand style by re-releasing previously brewed fan-favorite beers now through the 20th anniversary in 2016. Enter the Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series. To officially launch the celebration, the encore version of Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale will begin arriving today in 22-ounce bottles and on draft to select retailers, restaurants and bars in markets where Stone beer is sold.
“While we’re immensely proud of the many quality beers we’ve brewed over the past 19 years, it’s our fans’ love of those beers and their support of Stone that has allowed us to do what we do, and do it our way over that span,” said Stone CEO and co-founder Greg Koch. “We’re excited to be closing in on two full decades of craft brewing and are pleased to provide this special way of saying thank you to our supporters.”
The Stone Encore Series will encompass some of the most well-received beers from the company’s nearly 20 years of brewing. From September 2015 through December 2016, Stone will revisit the recipes of a number of fan favorites, beginning with the encore release of Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale. That beer, a strong Belgian-style IPA originally released in 2008 as part of the vaunted Stone Vertical Epic Ale series, will be brewed to the exact specifications of the original so that fans who’ve enjoyed it in the past can relive that experience, and those who are new to the beer (or heaven forbid haven’t tasted it) can find out what they missed the first time around.
Thanks to a Belgian yeast strain used during fermentation, Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale has a complex aroma with clove, pepper and tropical fruit character. These qualities extend to the overall taste, creating a prevalent banana, spice and citrus flavor. Like the original batch from 2008, this beer is ready to be consumed fresh or may be stored at proper cellaring temperatures (55°F or lower) for several years. Over time, it will become a smoother and more refined beer that still maintains a surprisingly bright hop character.
A number of other Stone Anniversary Ales will be brought back, along with past Stone Collaborations and special release beers, all featuring artwork evocative of their first time on store shelves. No single day can contain something as momentous as the 20th anniversary of Stone Brewing Co., but with any luck, part of 2015 and all of 2016 will provide enough time to celebrate this landmark occasion to the fullest.
From the book The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance:
“The Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic has its roots in a trip to Belgium taken by Mitch and I in early 2008. While there, we found Duvel Tripel Hop, which as the name implies, is a Belgian tripel dosed up with American hops. When we returned home, we opened the bottle and became delightfully inspired to brew our own take on it. We tried a few other Belgian IPAs, namely Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel and Urthel Hop-it, and made the Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale a variation on this theme. Spicy and fruity, it has a crisp bitterness that combines San Diego attitude with Belgian sophistication. As it turned out, brewing this beer led to the creation of Stone Cali-Belgique IPA around the same time. We also brewed AleSmith/Mikkeller/Stone Belgian Style Triple Ale and another batch of Sawyer’s Triple, leading (Brewmaster) Mitch (Steele) to declare Summer 2008 as “Summer of the Triple.”
– Steve Wagner, Stone president & co-founder
- Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale
- Name: Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale
- Style: Strong Belgian-style IPA
- URL: stonebrewing.com/encore080808/
- Stats: 8.9% ABV, 45 IBUs
- Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning September 21
- Hop Bill: Ahtanum, Amarillo, Simcoe
- 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; Sweden; and United Kingdom
Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co. is the 9th largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc.500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 11 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multifaceted company will be the first American craft brewer to own and operate its own brewery in Europe, and is also building a production brewery and destination restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. Brewing at both locations is anticipated to begin in early 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. For more information on Stone Brewing Co., please visit stonebrewing.com or the company’s social media sites: Facebook, Google+, Inst