Beer Wednesday: Stone Brewery Anniversary

This last weekend I attended Stone Brewery's 14th Anniversary Celebration held at Cal State San Marcos. It was not as brutally hot as expected and the beers were fantastic.

We had a lot of good beers. Two red/amber ales deserve special mention: the Red Rose Amber Ale by Baird Brewing and the Jamaica Red Ale by Mad River Brewing. Both were smooth, flavorful, and a little malty. In other words, right up my alley.

It's no secret that Stone produces some of our favorite beers, including their collaborations and the Ruination IPA. I made a point to visit their collaborations tent and try everything I haven't had. The Juxtaposition Black Pilsner and San Diego Session Lager underwhelmed; the Bashah with Brewdog was pretty darn good; and the Triple Ale with Alesmith and Mikkeller as well as the Saison du BUFF with Dogfish Head and Victory were standouts.

Try the Triple Ale and Saison du BUFF if you can. Interestingly, the Saison had two versions on tap - one brewed at Stone's facility and one brewed at Victory's. Tasted side by side you could taste a difference; I preferred the Victory-brewed effort because it was crisper and slightly lighter in body, letting the flavors come through more cleanly.

Two other notables were Brother Thelonious trappist ale by North Coast Brewing and the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti imperial stout by Great Divide Brewing. Brother Thelonious is malty, sweet, rich, and very drinkable at the same time. It's a Belgian trappist style strong ale, and at 9.4% ABV reminded me a bit of the Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van de Keizer Blue, except not as potent. Like the Keizer's little brother; similar genes, not as big. Espresso Oak Aged Yeti is very strong, has notable but not overpowering coffee and chocolate flavors, and balances it with a finish that feels like it melts into your tongue rather than punches it on the way out, like lots of imperial stouts do. I really liked both of these.

Finally, I am a little sad that I missed two beers I wanted to try - the Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean by Stone and Mephistopheles by Avery. Both ran out before I got there. Maybe next time. Do you have any of these beers on your list? What else is on your beer wish list right now?


  1. I intended for this to be a quick-hitting post just sketching out my notes from the event, but clearly I tasted more than I realized. The celebration was a blast and I can't wait to go to another one.

  2. I would write a longer comment, but I am too jealous.

  3. My jealousy knows no bounds! The best I could come up with was, "I liked the eight beer sampler at Steelhead Brewery."

  4. Agreed - that was not very quick-hitting. I'm super interested in Ambers you mentioned as I'm a huge fan of that style (can we create a cool term such as "varietal" for beers? does one already exist?).

    I'll have to make a trip to BevMo soon to stock up and taste many of those reviewed here!

  5. Ooh I wish we had a term like varietals. But alas, I just call them styles. Booooring.

    Nat - Just to clarify, they had the El Camino (un)Real Black Ale was there in the collaborations tent. As was the Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter, which is one of my favorite beers I've ever had.

    Aaron - Steelhead Brewery was there too. I had their stout and enjoyed it. I want to visit their brewery sometime and try the sampler. They have one in Irvine it looks like.