As you may know, Stone Brewing is one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed craft brewers in the world. Previously, Stone’s beers had only been available in Australia as grey imports and their founder had been particularly outspoken against the distribution of these unauthorised beers.
On Saturday April 5 in Melbourne, the Local Taphouse in St Kilda, and East Bruswick’s The Alehouse Project, said founder was on hand during a one-off opportunity to try the full range of Stone beers sanctioned by the brewer. Needless to say, it was an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass up.
The Local Taphouse was my venue of choice to partake in the drinking of Stone, mainly due to their advantage of having tasting paddles (hopefully this is something the Alehouse Project are looking into for future events).
The first paddle didn’t disappoint with a range of fresh sessionable and tasty ales. Well balanced, drinkable and flavoursome, I’d be happy to grab any of these as six-packs. With simple names like Pale Ale and IPA, these were just classic rounded beers.
The Smoked Porter had a slight twist with its peat-smoke that worked well. The Cali-Belgique IPA was a highlight too, reminding me just how good this style can work.
That moment all beer geeks wait for came soon after, with the taste of something new and brilliant that left me smacking my lips in satisfaction – the Cali-Belgique IPA aged in Red Wine Barrels. The Belgian yeast, the hops, the red wine, the sourness from the barrels, all blending in beautiful harmony. Complex and refreshing.
The Arrogant Bastard Ale, that brashest of names, a delicious malty strong ale that is fairly no-nonsense, but it was the Oaked Arrogant Bastard worked perfectly for me. That vanilla from the oak smoothing out the sweetness of the malt. On the other hand, the Double Bastard was more like a barleywine and a bit too sweet for my tastes.
Old Guardian was a barleywine and I enjoyed the one that has souped up with smoked oak that added to level out the sweetness of the malt.
Another a-ha moment came in the form of the 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale – I was sniffing this one like a chromer. It includes cinnamon stick, allspice and cloves. It’s base is a dark strong beer and it needs to be to hold to all these spices in check. It’s one of those beers that is amazing to taste and sniff but you’ll also never need/want more than one.
The Russian Imperial Stout was brilliant in my books, the flavours were familiar but rarely do they come together so powerful and harmonious.
The Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking wOOtstout, had a lot going on, rye, wheat pecans, bourbon – but the whisky flavours were a little bright in the mix and it was just a bit too sweet for me.
Finally, a shot of the barrel aged Lucky Arrogant Bastard spiked with peppers… and it’s hot. Like real hot. Like there’s a fire in my mouth and that’s all I can taste rather than the awesome beer lurking underneath.
An enjoyable day of top notch beers rarely seen in these parts. I wish these beers were more readily available near me all the time but you’ve just got to be happy with what you have sometimes. These were some special beers and I was just thankful I had the chance to try them, and also that there’s a lot of other special beers out there that are available here too.
Beers for the day…
- Stone Levitation Ale
- Stone Go To IPA
- Stone Pale Ale
- Stone Smoked Porter
- Stone IPA
- Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
- Arrogant Bastard Ale
- Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale
Stone Reason Be Damned
- Stone Ruination IPA
- Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
- Stone Cali-Belgique IPA aged in Red Wine
- Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale
- Crime (chile beer)
- 2011 Stone Imperial Russian Stout
- Matt’s Burning Rosids
- 2012 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
- 2013 Double Bastard Ale
- 2013 Stone OAK-SMOKED Old Guardian Barley Wine
- Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking wOOtstout