Beer Review- Stone Vertical Epic 11-11-11

Happy Veterans Day everyone. Special thanks go out to all who have served our great country. I raise a glass to you all. Now on to the beer....

Far starters, I like Stone Brewing Co. They brew good beers and have great branding and marketing in the arena of craft beer. Plus they have one  of the most impressive headquarters I have ever seen in my beer travels. If you are ever near Escondido, CA, I highly recommend you check out Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. Since it's November 11, 2011, I figured that the new Vertical Epic 11-11-11 would be the perfect beer to review.

Stone Vertical Epic 11-11-11
Stone Brewing Co. -Escondido, CA
ABV: 9.4%  

Smitty's Review: Sampled at 50 degrees. Pours copper amber with a dissipating beige head. The aroma was nice, which smelled like cinnamon red hot candy and banana-esque esters. Medium bodied with average carbonation. The Belgian malt backbone is toasty with a hint of chocolate, but cinnamon and Anaheim chiles really take center stage here. They blend really well and do not overpower with spice or heat. Yeasty and warming finish, but perhaps too heavy on Belgian phenols that come across  as medicinal and musty. While this beer is complex, I don't find the ingredients to be harmonious. I am probably going to be in the minority here, but this beer is sort of a letdown. It's more odd than it is enjoyable. I still think that any adventurous craft beer drinker should give this a try. It's only going to be around this one time, and they are flying off the shelves pretty fast to collectors. Feel free to comment on your impressions.

• Rating*: 6.75 out of 10
• Recommended Food Pairing: This would ruin a meal for me, perhaps some mild white cheeses.
• Value: Moderate at $8.49 per bomber
• Beer Audience: Adventurous craft beer drinkers
• Where to buy: Craft beer specialty stores like Midtown, Frugal MacDoogal, J Barleycorn, Red Dog, Graces Plaza, etc.

* rating system based on aroma (1 pt), appearance (1pt), palate (2 pts) flavor (3pts), comparison to other commercial examples of the style (3pts)

New Brews & Other News - November

First the bad news. If you have not heard, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. eliminated Tennessee off their short list. Doug Brumley over at Fledgling Brewer broke the news. I have no hard feelings toward Sierra Nevada. Business decisions are not always easy to make among finalists. They have not released any explanations or listed factors that led to the elimination. Hopefully this will be a lesson to lawmakers that antiquated beer laws need to be changed because they are hindering economic growth. Speaking of Sierra Nevada, Celebration should be hitting the shelves any day now - how ironic.

On the high gravity side: Abita has released 25th Anniversary Vanilla Doubledog. It's basically an imperial version of Turb Dog with vanilla. I think I may need to try this one. Sweewater's winter spiced beer Festive Ale is also on the shelves, and very tasty. I know that this is a little late, but there may be a few bottles from the Samuel Adams Small Batch Series releases floating around. Look for  Vixen Choclolate Chili Bock, Tasman Red IPA, Griffin's Bow Oaked Blonde Barleywine, and Third Voyage Double IPA.

On the low gravity side: Look for Yazoo Fall Lager anywhere Yazoo is sold. If you like a lager with an extra hop kick, you want to check this out. I also spotted Hop Project 60 on the shelves.

The Music City Brewers Brewoff is this weekend. It is being held at the Mariott in Goodletsville. For more information, visit the website here.

12 South Winter Warmer sold out in about 3 hours! Sadly, there are people scalping these tickets on Craiglist. I know that it's the norm for sold out events, but selling tickets for a CHARITY EVENT to line your own pockets is not cool. Matt Leff from Rhizome Productions really knows how to put a beer festival together. He is bringing in lots of special and limited release kegs, including an offering from Jackie O's (Athens, Ohio).  Christmas will be coming early for the beer geeks and tickers.

For those of you attending, be sure you have a designated driver or take a cab home. Many of the beers will have a higher alcohol content and will impair your ability to legally drive, in addition to threatening the safety of others on the road. A DUI in TN is very costly and will be on your record for life. Be responsible. End of public service announcement.

That's it for now. I will try and find a beer to review in the next week or so.