Eighteen years ago, beer geek entrepreneurs Greg Koch and Steve Wagner launched Stone Brewing Co., selling the first keg of Stone Pale Ale to San Diego County brewpub Pizza Port. Since unleashing that inaugural brew, Stone has earned a reputation for making bold, flavorful and hop-centric beers. What better way to celebrate yet another year of grand-scale accomplishments (and announcements) than by releasing an elegantly hoppy beer? Stone 18th Anniversary IPA is an imperial IPA dry-hopped exclusively and abundantly with El Dorado hops. Beginning today, this one-time specialty ale will start arriving in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at retailers, restaurants and bars in select markets nationwide.
Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele fashioned a malt bill that would deepen the hue of the beer to a golden brown color and contribute subtle cocoa, coffee and roast flavors. Six different hops were used during the brewing process, but the standout variety is El Dorado, which provides the beer with herbal, lemongrass, tropical fruit and lemon candy flavors. The medley of malted barley and hops make this India pale ale a unique version of the style. To fully enjoy the glorious hop presence, Stone 18th Anniversary IPA should be enjoyed within the 90-day “enjoy by” date found on the bottle neck.
“For this year’s Stone Anniversary Ale, we wanted to showcase one of our favorite new hop varietals, El Dorado,” explains Steele. “We’ve been experimenting with this hop quite a bit within the last year, adding it to special one-off beers brewed at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station and our main brewery in Escondido. We decided to dry-hop the beer with two pounds per barrel of El Dorado. The result is a beer with a very distinctive lemon aroma and flavor that is balanced by roasted coffee and toffee flavors from the malted barley.”
The past year has already been one for the history books. With a record amount of beer brewed, an eastern U.S. location soon to be determined, the recent announcement that Stone will be the first American craft brewer to own and operate a facility in Europe and the launch of a successful Indiegogo campaign (STONE GROUNDBREAKING COLLABORATIONS: The Campaign for Cross-Planetary Brewing), the company is ready to usher in a brilliant new era and explore new territory, both geographically and creatively.
“We invite craft beer enthusiasts and our brewing compatriots to raise a glass of Stone 18th Anniversary IPA and honor the collective progress made toward driving awareness to craft beer,” said Koch, Stone CEO and Co-founder. “Because of them, the industry and Stone’s growth throughout the past 18 years has been possible. Cheers!”
Of course, no anniversary is complete without a stupendous level of celebration. On August 15 and 16, Stone will host the Stone 18th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival just four miles from the brewery at California State University San Marcos in northern San Diego County. This festival, the company’s largest annual charity event, brings Stone fans an epic array of craft beers, all in the name of celebration and charity. One hundred percent of the profits from the festival will be donated to the local charities Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, Fight ALD, Palomar Family YMCA and Surfrider Foundation. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit stonebrewing.com/anniv.