ESCONDIDO, CA (Jan. 25, 2016) – This year marks Stone Brewing’s 20th year of brewing bold, flavorful and memorable craft beers and with this monumental occasion comes a tribute to fans for their two decades of steadfast support. The Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series will reintroduce previously brewed fan-favorite beers, each for a limited time, throughout the anniversary year. The first in the celebratory series for 2016 is Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, making its comeback this week in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at select retailers, restaurants and bars in markets where Stone beer is sold.
In 2008, as the 12th anniversary approached, hops were in scarce supply. The brewing team embraced the worldwide hop shortage and brewed something rich and malty, pulling bitterness from pure cacao added at the end of the boil in place of hops. At the time, it was a rare venture into a realm explored less often by our brewers, and the outcome was highly acclaimed by fans (and still is to this day). Eight years later, Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout has been rebrewed to the exact specifications of the original recipe and features artwork evocative of the first time it hit store shelves. The onyx-colored, malt-forward stout offers a thick, rich, roasty mouthfeel and sensual chocolate flavors and aromatics.
“Tasting Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout fresh again after eight years is a real treat,” said Stone CEO & co-founder Greg Koch. “This beer became an instant classic that shares space on the top shelf of our liquid trophy case and we owe it to the fans who clamored for more to bring it back alongside a handful of other favorites this year.”
The Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series lineup can be found online here. In addition to rereleasing eight fan-favorite beers this year, Stone Brewing will salute its 20 years with commemorative bottle caps and online stories designed to inspire the public to reminisce about their own Stone moments at Stone20th.com. The historical timeline will develop throughout the year, chronicling the company’s two decades, and fans can share their personal Stone memories throughout the year using #Stone20.
Just like the original batch, Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout may be enjoyed fresh or stored for several years. With age and proper cellaring temperatures, the bitterness will subside, resulting in a more refined beer that showcases sweet chocolate flavor.
Name: 20th Anniversary Encore Series: Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Stats: 9.2% ABV, 55 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning January 25
Hop Varieties: Summit, Willamette, Galena and Ahtanum
National Distribution: AK, AL, 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
International Distribution: Australia; Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; Germany; Japan; Korea; Singapore; Sweden; Thailand; United Kingdom
Tasting Notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele
Appearance: Deep black with a thick brown head.
Aroma: Wonderful blend of cocoa with roasted malt flavors such as coffee coming through right after. Then there’s some nice alcohol warmth, and fruity esters from the yeast.
Taste: Lots of cocoa and roast malt character, with elements of anise and coffee. There are some fruit flavors developed by the yeast during fermentation and a pleasant bitterness (from both the cocoa and the smidgen of hops we used).
Palate: Full bodied and silky smooth.
Overall: We first brewed this beer in 2008, the year the “hop crisis” hit us hard. Although we normally brew pretty hop-forward beers for our Stone Anniversary Ales, we decided to brew a beer that got its bitterness from something other than hops (because we were running out of hops). This beer is the result of two great recipes. The first was an oatmeal stout that current Lead Brewer Jeremy Moynier formulated and brewed on our 20-gallon “More Beer!” brewing sculpture, and the second was an imperial stout with Oaxacan chocolate hombrewed by fellow Team Stone member Jake Ratzke. (As a side note, I’m happy to say I was at Jake’s house for that brew day brewing my own batch. That’s also the last time I homebrewed!) We loved both beers and Greg suggested combining the two recipes. This is the result. It tastes just as fantastic as I remember from 2008, and this stout can be cellared a long time. I still have some of the original version at home, and I look forward to trying them side by side. Because the beer was an instant hit and craft beer enthusiasts kept asking for more via online forums and social media, we couldn’t resist bring it back as part of Stone 20th Anniversary Encore Series.
Suggested Pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak
Appetizers: Coconut shrimp, blue cheese-stuffed mushrooms, caramelized onion crostini, oysters on the half shell
Soups: Chili con carne, beef stew, French onion, potato leek
Entrées: Wild mushroom risotto, macaroni and cheese with truffles, coffee-rubbed filet mignon, rack of lamb
Cheeses: Stilton, Rogue Smokey Blue, Maytag Blue, aged Gouda
Desserts: Chocolate lava cake, tiramisu, brownies, chocolate chip cookies
Cigars: Padrón 3000, E.P. Carrillo La Historia E-III