ESCONDIDO, CA – Some things just go together. Kittens and yarn. Snakes and airplanes. Hipsters and misuse of the word irony. For us, it’s Stone Smoked Porter with whole Madagascar vanilla beans. Ah yes, the famously delectable combination by Stone Brewing Co. is making its yearly appearance as a limited winter edition creatively named Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Bean. Available in 22-ounce bottles and on draft, the fan favorite is now making its way to bars, restaurants and retail outlets in all states and territories where Stone beer is sold.
Back in 2006, Stone Small Batch Brewer Laura Ulrich became inspired to develop a beer that tasted similar to Stone Smoked Porter poured over a scoop of high-quality vanilla bean ice cream. As an experiment, Ulrich filled a cask with the classic year-round beer and added freshly split Madagascar vanilla beans. Because Ulrich’s creation gained instant popularity among Stone fans, the beloved concoction continued to make all-too-brief appearances in casks and kegs until 2012, when it was finally packaged and released nationally for the first time.
“To this day, the Brewer’s Cask program at Stone serves as a creative outlet for trying out new, unconventional brewing ingredients and developing recipes,” explains Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele. “With rich chocolate and coffee flavors and a subtle smokiness, Stone Smoked Porter has been a great beer for blending and enhancing with a wide range of flavors from spicy to sweet.”
Following Ulrich’s tasty innovation, the special release has (not surprisingly) become a cult favorite among fans. The natural flavor of the vanilla beans marries seamlessly with the malt-driven chocolate- and coffee-like nuances of the beer. The result is something that, even with its hints of savory peatiness and smoke, comes across as a semisweet liquid dessert.
To maximize enjoyment of Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Bean, fans should enjoy the beer within 120 days of the “bottled on” date stamped on the bottle neck. And it might not be a bad idea to pour it over a scoop of organic vanilla bean ice cream. Just sayin’.
- Name: Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Bean
- URL: stonebrewing.com/porter/vanilla
- Stats: 5.9% ABV, 53 IBUs
- Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning December 15
- Hops bill: Magnum and Mt. Hood
- 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, Puerto Rico and Alberta, Canada
- Find beer: find.stonebrewing.com/
- Appearance: Pours deep brown with a rich tan head.
- Aroma: A nice blend of vanilla and cocoa, with hints of yeast esters, coffee and smoke. As it warms, the roast character increases.
- Taste: Vanilla starts off, and then mid-palate the cocoa and smoke come in. The finish has a slight vanilla astringency and a malty fullness.
- Palate: Incredibly balanced and complex; smooth with a slightly dry finish.
- Overall: Ever since Brewer Laura Ulrich suggested making a cask of Stone Smoked Porter with added vanilla beans back in 2006, this beer has been both a fan favorite and a Team Stone favorite. We’ve brewed many small batches of it over the years, and we’re always happy to make more!
- Appetizers: Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with cream cheese, coconut shrimp, sugar-glazed pecans
- Soups: Butternut squash
- Entrées: Espresso-rubbed filet mignon, scallops over vanilla mascarpone mashed potatoes, sesame-honey tempeh
- Cheeses: Aged Gouda, Lake’s Edge (Vermont Goat), Constant Bliss, Pleasant Ridge Reserve
- Desserts: Maple-walnut cake, chocolate chip cookies, profiteroles, pumpkin pie
- Cigars: Paradigm 262, Gurkha Evil, Alonso Menendez (Nearly any cigar with a Brazilian wrapper will impart nice chocolate notes perfect for this beer.)
Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co.is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 10 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multi-faceted 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 late 2015. 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+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and The Stone Blog.