Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, California) has officially launched the Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series this week with the first release in the series being the resurrection of Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale.
There are not many craft breweries out there that get to lay claim to two decades of innovative brewing, but Stone Brewing is about to do just that with their 20th anniversary coming up on the horizon. To celebrate this pretty significant milestone, the brewery has launched the Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series as a means to re-release some of their greatest hits from their storied 20 year past. From September 2015 through December 2016, a number of past Stone Anniversary Ales, Stone Collaborations, special releases and fan-favorite offerings will return for a limited time in packaging bearing the Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series logo and “artwork evocative of their first time on store shelves.” The Stone 20th Anniversary Encore series officially launches this week with the re-release of Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale.
Originally brewed and released in 2008, Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale is a Strong Belgian-style IPA that was a part of the legendary Stone Vertical Epic Ale series. For the Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale, the folks at Stone Brewing stuck with the exact recipe specifications of the original to allow their fans to relive the experience that they enjoyed those many years ago. Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale employs a Belgian yeast strain during fermentation that provides the beer with a “complex aroma with clove, pepper and tropical fruit character.” Those notes carry over into the flavor experience along with added nuances of banana, spice and citrus. This beer can either be enjoyed fresh or it can be cellared at 55°F or lower. It may seem odd to cellar an IPA, but the last batch proved that age will create a “smoother and more refined beer that still maintains a surprisingly bright hop character.”
“The Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic has its roots in a trip to Belgium taken by Mitch and I in early 2008. While there, we found Duvel Tripel Hop, which as the name implies, is a Belgian tripel dosed up with American hops. When we returned home, we opened the bottle and became delightfully inspired to brew our own take on it. We tried a few other Belgian IPAs, namely Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel and Urthel Hop-it, and made the Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale a variation on this theme. Spicy and fruity, it has a crisp bitterness that combines San Diego attitude with Belgian sophistication. As it turned out, brewing this beer led to the creation of Stone Cali-Belgique IPA around the same time. We also brewed AleSmith/Mikkeller/Stone Belgian Style Triple Ale and another batch of Sawyer’s Triple, leading (Brewmaster) Mitch (Steele) to declare Summer 2008 as “Summer of the Triple.”
– Steve Wagner, Stone president & co-founder
Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale was officially released yesterday in 22 oz. bottles and on draft. Look for this limited release offering at select retailers, restaurants and bars in Alabama and throughout Stone Brewing’s national distribution footprint. Due to this beer’s level of nostalgia and past acclaim, you can fully expect for this one to disappear quickly once it hits the market. Be sure to grab yourself a bomber or pour whenever you see it because there is no telling if you will ever get the opportunity to try it again. Prost!
Vital information on Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series: 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale:
Style – Strong Belgian-style IPA
ABV – 8.9%
IBUs – 45
Hops – Ahtanum, Amarillo, & Simcoe
Packaging availability – Limited 22 oz. bombers and on draft
National distribution – AL, AK, 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 and Puerto Rico