Some of my favorite San Diego Beer Friends are present in this photo which was taken Sunday morning February 7th in the Stone World Bistro around 9 AM. You might be asking yourself what would possess these folks to turn up at a brewery so early (8:30 am) in the morning on Super Bowl Sunday? Well all you need to do is take a look at the beer list on the Stone Brewing web site to get your answer. Stone releases some fantastic kegs and bottles from their library collection for this week long event and those of us lucky enough to live near by made the pilgrimage to Stone to share our complete love and devotion to these amazing artisan beers. Matt Dolman & I headed over to Stone to meet up with pals Kevin Hopkins (@cajonkev), Stephen Johnson(@datrhweef), John Holzer(@johnholzer) and Renee & Jordan Rounds. We were greeted by good friend Dr. Bill Sysak (@BistroBeer), one of the most knowledgeable craft beer experts in the industry, who immediately gave us the scoop on what was a must try! The twitter community was out in full force also. @IPABev and hubby @BrewMark were already at the door when we arrived. Others like @mikedashg, @stonepurist and @nocturne1 were there also. Greg Koch, CEO & Founder of Stone Brewing Co showed up with a grin and a couple of rare bottles from his collection to share!
The first and most important beer of my day (and most of the others also) was Stone Wall! This 12.2% ABV Barley Wine was brewed in 2005 to honor participants in the Stone Wall Charity Fundraiser. It is, I believe, one of the strongest, or perhaps the strongest beer brewed by Stone and getting to sample this beer is a true pleasure. The aroma from this beer is so incredibly beautiful. It drinks amazingly smooth with yummy carmel and ripe dark fruit with a malty finish. In my humble opinion, the alcohol level is not noticeable at all. This is one of those beers that I drink with my eyes closed so that I can tune out everything except the sheer pleasure my taste buds and nose are experiencing. SOME people may have over-endulged on this beer! #justsayin or #justquackin
The 2001 Imperial Russian Stout was probably my second favorite beer of the day. I am consistently astonished by the complexity of this beer as it ages and the 2001 is no exception. The collaboration beers are all aging nicely. The Ken Schmidt, Maui Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter was fantastic. As a reward for my recent achievement passing the Cicerone Certified Beer Server test, Dr. Bill Sysak bought me a Juxtaposition Black Pilsner, the collaboration between BrewDog, Cambridge Brewing Co & Stone Brewing Co. that was released in July of 2009. I fell in love with this beer when it was released but have to admit that age is making it even better. Cheers to Dr. Bill for treating me like a Princess – gosh I love the attention 🙂
There were many other samples floating around and just an amazing group of people there sharing special beers. I think it is the spirit of sharing and camaraderie that makes the craft beer world so fabulous. Rarely will you meet more friendly and generous group of people than you do at events such as these. Seeing and experiencing is believing so regardless of your geography, check out a future Craft Beer Event in your area and plan on attending. I’ll bet a great beer on the fact that you’ll meet some amazing folks while enjoying a stellar Craft Beer!