Stone Brewing Co. has two new exciting bottle releases – their 18th Anniversary IPA and Coffee Milk Stout both of them are hitting Oregon shelves and tap now. Having tried both of these beers in advance of their release I can report they are worth seeking out and as such reporting on.
Stone Coffee Milk Stout is a unique one for the brewery, not known for dark beers or low alcohol brews and this brew is both. The recipe stems from a homebrew by Brewery Trainer Brian Gallagher and at 4.2 percent alcohol-by-volume, brewed with lactose and whole coffee beans it makes for a terrific breakfast beer. Also of note, unlike most of Stone’s specialty releases this one is in 12-ounce six-packs and on draft at retailers, restaurants and bars in select markets nationwide.
“Brian did a wonderful job developing this recipe and was able to artfully overcome the challenge of brewing a low-alcohol beer without it tasting too thin or watery,” explains Steele. “Because of the positive response from Team Stone and those lucky enough to taste the small-batch brew, we decided to brew it on our 120-barrel system and make it more widely available for craft beer enthusiasts across the country.”
To produce a full-bodied and silky mouth-feel, lactose was incorporated, creating a creamy sweetness that balances with the mild coffee flavors made possible by adding whole coffee beans from San Diego-based artisanal roaster Ryan Bros. Coffee. Mild ale malt was used as a base grain to help create a rich, roasty character, while other specialty grains contribute cocoa, licorice and subdued coffee flavors. Magnum hops bring a clean bitterness, brilliantly contrasting with the beer’s malt-forward qualities. Together, the ingredients make for an easy-drinking beer that is robust yet smooth.
“I was thrilled to find out that my ‘little beer’ would go on to be part of the Stone lineup and be distributed nationally,” said Gallagher. “To make this beer stand out from others, I added coffee beans at a very early stage in the brewing process, which helped bring out the roast character from the coffee, while eliminating bitter acidity and astringency.”
Fitting for the brewery who has made their name on IPA’s Stone 18th Anniversary IPA is an imperial IPA dry-hopped exclusively and abundantly with El Dorado hops. This beer is available now in Oregon in 22oz bottles, 1/6 barrel and 1/2 barrel kegs.
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.”
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