If Stone Brewing Company has proven anything over its nearly two decades of existence, it’s that Greg Koch and Steve Wagner know how to go big on a special occasion. While a 19th anniversary may not seem like a big deal for some people, the folks at the Escondido brewing behemoth decided to use it as the kickoff for a year of celebration as the company hurtles towards that twentieth year. The first event of this year-long party took place on Monday when Stone released its 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA.
The last year has been a period of rapid-fire announcements coming out of Escondido, as Koch and Wagner unveiled plans to build new facilities in Richmond, Va. and Berlin, which will make Stone the first American brewery to own and operate a facility in Europe. While the new building plans garnered a lot of attention, Stone’s move to distribute beer to foreign countries like Canada and Australia were significant developments for the company.
Of those two countries, the former may be geographically closer but the latter gave Brewmaster Mitch Steele and Lead Brewer Jeremy Moynier the opportunity to experience ingredients from Down Under like exotic hops and malted barley. After using the 10-barrel pilot brewing system at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station to experiment with Australian hops like Vic Secret and Ella, Steele and his staff decided to create a beer inspired by their foray into Australia. By combining those Aussie hops with 400,000 pounds of imported Fairview malt, Stone’s brewers have created a truly international brew that’s worthy of the outback.
Thunderstruck IPA pours a bright golden yellow with a head of white foam that bursts forth with fruity and herbal aromas from the hops. The taste profile falls along the same line with flavors of stone fruit, pineapple and citrus with that characteristic bitterness that has come to define a Stone beer over the course of 19 years. Koch and company are famous for bringing the flavor on a year-round basis, but they always seem to find a way to crank it up a notch for the anniversary brews.
As for the beer’s name, a brew that celebrates all things Australian wouldn’t be complete without an appropriately Aussie handle, and nobody wants to drink a beer named Crocodile Dundee or Yahoo Serious. If you’ve ever toured a brewery, you know that brewers like their music, so what better choice than the name of one of the most famous songs to come from Down Under.
With Thunderstruck 19th Anniversary IPA leading the way, the annual Stone Anniversary Celebration & International Beer Festival is right around the corner at Cal State San Marcos. The festivities kick off on August 14 with the Friday Brewers Reception and the party starts back up again on Saturday for the main event. Tickets are still available for of Saturday’s sessions, and proceeds benefit local charities like the Surfrider Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, Palomar Family YMCA and Fight ALD.