On a fine spring afternoon, Stoutmeister, Mrs. Solo, and I, Franz Solo, went to Jubilation for a tasting event featuring a strong selection of beers from Stone Brewing Co. The offerings included the brand new Go to IPA, Stochasticity Project: Grapefruit Slam IPA, Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean, Matt’s Burning Rosids, and finally, Old Guardian Barley Wine 2014.
Now that Stoutmeister is done with high school basketball coverage, he has finally added his thoughts on the beers we tried. (Mrs. Solo is too busy with midterms)
Go to IPA
Franz Solo: As a “light” version of the amazing Enjoy By series, this does not disappoint in the slightest. The aroma is fantastic, a veritable jungle of hops blast the nose with grapefruit from Mosaic hops, with hints of orange and pine. The flavor is clean like the Enjoy By beers, crisp and full of wonderful hops with a wonderful pine finish. I am quite amazed at just how much flavor this beer packs with only 4.5-percent ABV. Stone is really on to something with “hop bursting” at the end of their boil! I rated this a 4 at the tasting, but a 4.5 from the pint I had later in the evening. I foresee many of these in my future.
Stoutmeister: This was not bad, it had a lot more flavor for a sub-5.0 beer than I expected. I found the hops to be a tad more bitter than I usually like. I feel like I need to try this beer again before I make a final judgment call. Good thing Franz has some in his beer fridge, right?
Stochasticity Project: Grapefruit Slam IPA
Franz Solo: I have adored Ruination for many a year and the addition of loads of grapefruit peel to this incarnation was a wonderful addition. If you love bitterness and grapefruit then this is a beer for you. Due to a prescription of mine for seasonal allergies, I cannot (for the sake of my health) have much of this beer. I do however recommend Stochasticity for IPA lovers of all ilks. (4 stars on Untappd.)
Stoutmeister: Yeah, a beer full of grapefruit would be liable to kill me. OTC allergy meds would not protect me.
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
Franz Solo: The first time I had a bomber of this was with a pot of crawfish and habañero sauce, and it stood up to all the spice and was simply delicious. As for the present incarnation, this beer has come in to it’s own, well balanced and supremely worthy of the title: Self-Righteous. I love black IPAs, and this is certainly one of the best. (4.5 on Untappd.)
Stoutmeister: I do enjoy black IPAs as well, though this one I found a bit different than most. The hops were a little muted compared to what I expect from Stone. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I always lean toward the malty over the hoppy, so this one finds a nice balance between the two. This almost felt like more a hopped-up porter than a true IPA. (4 on Untappd)
Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean
Franz Solo: Long have I pined to try this delight, and it most certainly lived up to my imagination. hese two were a match made in heaven. The smoked porter alone is quite good, and the addition of strong vanilla flavor is simply divine. Grab a bomber (or two) of these before they disappear, they are marvelous. (5 on Untappd)
Stoutmeister: My Untappd review was summed up by one word, “Dessert.” This is a sweet, wondrous beer. The balance between the smoked malts and the vanilla bean works very well. It almost works better than a more standard vanilla porter. Some people might find this a little too sweet at the outset. You almost want to let this beer breathe for a bit and warm up. Then it finds a happy medium. (4.5 on Untappd)
Matt’s Burning Rosids
Franz Solo: I stand by my previous review of this tribute beer. It is just awesome, not only in concept but in depth and balance of flavors. (5 on Untappd)
Stoutmeister: I skipped this one at the tasting, not because I did not like the sample I had a few weeks earlier, but because I was running short on time. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not a saison kind of guy, but I actually found this beer to be fairly drinkable. (3.5 on Untappd)
Old Guardian Barley Wine 2014
Franz Solo: The first version of these I had was over 10 years ago and my appreciation of beer was in its infancy. As the years have passed and I have tasted a good number of bombers of Old Guardian, my appreciation for barley wines in general has been forged. This particular year’s offering is bold and full of sweet, malty goodness. I liken this beer to one of our state’s own, Bourbon Barrel Aged Chicken Killer from Santa Fe Brewing. I aged a bomber of Chicken Killer for the better part of a year and I would like to do the same with Old Guardian ’14 to get the best possible flavor. (4.5 on Untappd)
Stoutmeister: Big, burly, kinda mean, but with that deceptive sweetness you expect from a barley wine. This beer basically met my expectations for a big beer from Stone. Like Franz said, I would like to age one of these and try it in a year or two. Malty beers work best for aging. (4 on Untappd)
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Thanks as always to Jubilation for another excellent beer-tasting event. These events are great to meet brewery reps and try old favorites and some wondrous new styles.
I will have a review of Stone’s Punishment up soon on our site. We are also having the Irish Red Challenge on St. Patrick’s Day, plus look for more beer reviews later this week. It is a great time of year for beer!
— Franz Solo