Monday, July 13, 2009
Perhaps thirteen is an unlucky number for some. But for Stone it is just another chance to break from the norm as their ever creative and tireless mission of challenging our taste buds and palettes to aspire to new craft brew heights is furthered with this latest celebratory creation.
Pouring surprisingly dark with a moderate head, number 13 has an unexpectedly bright and rich aroma that one would expect to see with a much lighter or amber colored beer. The taste brings a level of complexity and creativity that leaves you feeling inspired and in awe. The front end tingles with bright juicy hops that act like a quick sting before settling into the darker tannins of a more cascade like hop that is rich with hop flavor. A lifetime seems to pass as the hops evolve into a roasted, toasted grain, which asks like that beautiful librarian, who in your dreams is far more reckless and much less concerned with silence: "chocolate?" Finally, that sweetness turns bittersweet to give one last arrogant kiss before parting adieu.
What can I say? Stone is all growns up. Not only have they entered into their teenage years, they have become a force to be reckoned with in the craft beer world. Perhaps most impressive is their unfaltering dedication to the quality and consistency of their beer while recognizing the transforming world that we live in. Even their trademark novela, which adorns all of their bottles – and yes, I read every one – references the fact that they respect beer-o-philes' decisions to drink locally in a troubled economy such as this one. Bravo and mazeltov, hats off to you for this one Stone.
Thirteenth Anniversary Ale: *****