Category Archives: Stone Brewery

The Beermonger Review: AleSmith Decadence Imperial Porter

AleSmith 2007 Decadence Imperial Porter

AleSmith 2007 Decadence Imperial Porter

I recently had to say goodbye to a friend of mine. My best friend (‘Mother’) moved his narrow ass back to L.A. (again). Before he left, the two of us got together at Our Cute Friend’s place for a night of beer, Guitar Hero, more beer, loud music, more Guitar Hero and a ton of great beer. I took the opportunity to bring a few beers out that otherwise I probably wouldn’t crack open for myself. We drank a 2006 bottle of Dogfish Head Fort (a favorite of My Cute Friend). We drank a bottle of Avery Maharaja (one of the Holy Trinity of Weed-Smelling and Tasting Beers). We drank one of my last bottles of Stone 11th Anniversary (the instant classic; they need to bring this beer into regular production now). We pounded beers like Dale’s Pale Ale and Loose Cannon in between. We even cracked some Miller Lite for the hell of it. Thankfully we avoided the 2002 Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout I’d brought, otherwise someone may have been injured.

While we were at it I figured I’d break out a super-special Scooby Snack: A bottle of AleSmith Decadence 2007 Imperial Porter (with great thanks to Alpha-level Beer Minion Doug, who was kind enough to bring it back from one of his San Diego excursions).

We can’t get the AleSmith beers out here in VA, so don’t even ask. I’ve had their Speedway Stout before and enjoyed it immensely before realizing I was at the bottom of the (12% ABV 750mL) bottle and completely hammered, causing me to rant and rave about how amazing the beer was to my fiance who just shook her head and informed me that she indeed knew that I was drunk. As if I didn’t know.

Anyhoo, I had this bottle of Decadence and thought this would be a good time to crack it. Not only could I try out the beer, but I could get opinions of friends who aren’t in ‘the business’. Mother and My Cute Friend are into beers, so they know a thing or two about a thing or two. The ’07 Decadence is a 10% Imperial Porter, rich and malty, pouring a dark reddish-brown. Smells roasty to me at first with hints of dark fruit (very subtle, that) and the expected notes of chocolate and caramel. Expected doesn’t mean boring, though. I could’ve smelled the beer all night. That would’ve been boring. I moved on and started to drink the beer.

What an experience. Not unlike the Speedway (Imperial) Stout, the Decadence is very drinkable for its alcohol level (10% ABV). Blind, I might have never guessed that it was as strong as it was. The malts were front and center—sweet, cocoa, caramel, more of those dark fruits I’d noticed on the nose (less subtle on the palate, surprisingly) and slightly smoky. My Cute Friend was impressed, which caught me a little off-guard since he’s a die-hard HopHead usually. I guess that’s by choice, though; I’ve seen him enjoy many types of beers but I think he just gravitates to the hoppy stuff. We all came away wishing we could get more of this good stuff.

That always kills me, knowing I can’t get certain beers. That will always bother me. If there was only one great brewery out there that I couldn’t get, even if I had all others, it would still piss me off. I’d be bothering every distributor in the area to sign them up. I guess that’s what keeps me in a job. I’m off on a tangent, aren’t I? Sorry.

In the end, boys and girls, I think it comes down to this: This all happened about 6 weeks ago. This was one more night with ‘the boys’; a send-off to a guy who’s like a brother to me. Good friends hanging out like stupid kids all night—like none of us had a care. Among all of the memories of that night (admittedly there aren’t that many), the AleSmith Decadence stands out.

Forgive me if this isn’t much of a review. If you’re reading this, you’re likely into beer and you have a fairly good idea of how this beer is—it’s a fantastic, outstanding example of a type of beer that we don’t see too much of. It’s powerful, richly flavored but perfectly drinkable. The point I think I’m trying to get to is that every now and then, it’s not about the greatness of the beer. It’s about the moment and the friends you share that beer with.

I give it a 10.

Beermonger

A Little Too Much Weekend

So I’m a little run-down today. It was a long weekend for me. Working both days in addition to keeping a full drinking schedule can wear you out. Friday night was at Bailey’s Pub & Grille in Ballston Common. They’ve put a very interesting line of taps on, including Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale. i myself very much enjoyed the ‘Large’ glasses of Bastard.

Saturday night I had a couple friends over for the UFC event. The fridge was a murderer’s row of beers with Bell’s HopSlam, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale, Ten Fidy and Gordon, Bear Republic Racer 5 and some of the new Clipper City ale (more on that when it arrives). Needless to say, Sunday was not a good day.

Beers of the weekend: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA on tap, HopSlam and the Arrogant Bastard on tap.

This week’s column should be up tomorrow. I’ll link to it as soon as it’s up.

Cheers,

The Beermonger

Stone Anniversary and Vertical Epic News

Not too long ago the label leaked out for Stone’s 12th Anniversary beer. It will be a Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and we’ll be seeing it in the area sometime in June.

Now today I see the info for Vertical Epic 08.08.08. For those not in the know, Stone started this back in 2002, releasing a different style beer every year on a different date (02.02.02, 03.03.03, etc.). The series is scheduled to continue until 12.12.12., when Stone encourages you to line ’em up and drink ’em down. Sounds like ’08 is going to be a take on the hoppy Belgian Ales that are becoming more popular all the time. I can’t wait to see how this comes out.

The Beermonger Review: I’m an Arrogant Bastard (and you should be too)

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single sip.

Ok, so they don’t say that, but I do. In fact, I just did. It was about ten years ago ( I won’t say how old I was exactly; I’ll just encourage young people everywhere not to drink illegally). I went to visit my best friend in Tucson. At this time I was but a novice Beer Geek: Aware of better beers but not exclusive. I’ve always managed to find an interest in the finest of all crafts, be it in music, art, writing, or beer. I was already a regular Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams drinker. I’d discovered the joy of Pete’s Wicked Strawberry Blonde. On this initial trip to Arizona (which I thoroughly enjoyed and have made myself a promise to live in for a couple years in this life) I enjoyed many new experiences. Most of those I won’t name here. Among those I will are pints and pool at the Red Garter, a 1/2 sandwich and bread bowl at Bisonwiches and Fat Tire Ale (more on Fat Tire in the near future).

At some point in my trip, my friend, knowing I was into good beer, told me there was something I needed to try. It was a beer from an at the time new brewery called Stone. That beer was Arrogant Bastard Ale. I don’t know what to say about that night except that Arrogant Bastard is the beer that got me into craft beer.

For the uninitiated, Arrogant Bastard is a full-on assault on the senses. It smells of bitterness, is bright angry red in color and tastes like sharp earthy goodness forcing you to wake up and know that the truth is out there. It literally changed my life. From then on, I went looking for the next, the new, the different.

I had an Arrogant Bastard tonight for the hell of it, knowing I was going to write about it. It’s still the same angry red. It’s not an IPA: Rather a strong ale, with an alpha acid hit that leaves you a slight bit cotton-mouthed. It coats the glass with a sporadic, ominous lace. The flavor is that of a different type of hop; earthy, almost smoky. There is enough malt to support the hoppiness, and enough hop to make you reconsider every beer you’ve ever had in your entire life.

I’m a comic book geek, and I read something in a book recently that definitely applies here: I’ve had bigger, I’ve had better (though not many), but you never forget your first. Arrogant Bastard was my first true craft beer experience, and after all these years it seems we just know each other better. Every move, every twist and turn. This is truly a beer for the ages.

Long live the Bastard.

’till next time,

The Beermonger