I wouldn't call myself a big beer drinker because I don't settle for just any beer. Instead, I prefer craft or specialty brews and lucky for me, craft brews are all the rage right now. Ryan and I have tried many beers here at home and out at bars and restaurants and found that we both prefer dark beers such as porters and stouts.
Recently, I learned that a brewery from San Diego, Stone Brewing Company, planned to launch in the Minnesota marketplace. They sure know how to make a splash with over twenty events/tastings planned for this week, otherwise known as "Stone Week". I got my hands on three of their beers before the official launch and couldn't wait to try them with my beer brewing brother-in-law.
First, I got a beer cheese soup going on the stove using the Cali-Belgique IPA. Since it required an hour of simmering time, that gave us ample opportunity to sample the beers.
The Cali-Belgique IPA was sweet and light in the mouth providing citrus notes and a little bite. Since most of this bottle went into the soup, we only got mini tasting glasses and enjoyed our taste.
Next up was the Stone Ruination IPA. Considering the name and the IBUs (International Bitter Units) of over 100, we were slightly intimidated by the possible bitterness. Turns out we had nothing to worry about. While it is bitter, it is quite smooth with well balanced hops, perfect for hopheads according to my brother-in-law. With an alcohol content of 7.7%, it's sure to get your head buzzed quickly.
I was most thrilled for the Stone Smoked Porter because I love smoked beers and porters and this one exuded smokiness from the moment I cracked it open. Dark in color, but light in taste, it had a nice creaminess that left "legs" up and down my glass (either that or my glass wasn't squeaky clean).
The beers from Stone Brewing Company were fantastic and I can't wait to try some more varieties…I wonder if I can get my hands on the Kona Coffee, Macadamia Coconut Porter. The three I tasted are standard year round releases, making them quite accessible at the liquor store. Check out the events and get a taste for yourself.
Tomorrow I'll talk about the wonderful beer cheese soup I made using Stone Brewing beer.
Disclosure: The beers tasted here were sent to me by Stone Brewing Company. I was not obligated to write a post and all opinions are my own (with the help of my tasting partners, Ryan and Danny).