Escondido’s Stone Brewing Co. is turning 20 years old in 2016, and to celebrate it’s planning a yearlong parade of special releases, including all-new beers, the return of past favorites and new twists on some of its most popular brands. For the first time, the brewery has announced a schedule of all the special beer releases for the coming year.
The craft beer company will brew 25 different specialty beers in 2016. The whole schedule, broken into five series, including seasonal brews, specialty release and the 20th anniversary encore series of reissues of past favorites, is now available on the Stone Brewing website. Here are a few of the highlights. Prepare to have a serious beer geek-out session.
Stone joins the craft canning movement (with a blonde ale, of all things)
There will be a summertime introduction of Hoppy Blonde, in a can. Stone doesn’t yet can any of its brands, and this is perhaps the first indication that the company will jump on the increasingly popular trend of offering craft brews in aluminum cans. If anyone can turn the blonde style, which is most often described as “approachable” and “unassuming,” into a brew that gets beer geeks excited, Stone Brewing can. Expect this new brand to get a big push from the brewery in 2016.
New seasonal brews for 2016
Stone has six seasonal beers on the schedule for 2016, and the only returning brands on the docket are the winter/fall release of Stone Coffee Milk Stout and the return of the popular cocoa-and-chile-infused Xocoveza. February will see the launch of a Red IPA and a new Espresso Stout inspired by the Americano beverage, and in June, a witbier and a new “mysterious” IPA will help usher in summer.
Expect to see the once-yearly favorites Old Guardian Barley Wine and Stone Imperial Russian Stout along with the herbaceous Saison du BUFF (the beer is a collaboration with Victory Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head Brewing, with the brewing responsibilities rotating among the three each year). Stone’s 20th Anniversary IPA will launch in August, though the brewery is keeping the details of that hoppy brew under wraps for now.
The brewery is revisiting some past specialty brews, including re-creations of their sixth-, 12th- and 14th-anniversary brews, and in September, Stone will introduce a variety pack commemorating its second decade. The four-pack will contain 22-ounce bottles of their 5th Anniversary IPA, 10th Anniversary IPA, 15th Anniversary Black IPA and the new 20th Anniversary brew. The exceedingly rare 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale (only 300 cases were made back in 2002) will be reissued in July, and an updated version of the Unapologetic IPA — a sleeper-hit from 2014 that was a collaboration with Beachwood Brewing and Heretic Brewing — will hit shelves again in August.
More Enjoy By IPA
Stone’s popular take on the double IPA style, released in late 2015, will see four more releases next year. Two new variants will also be bottled, including Enjoy By Unfiltered IPA and Enjoy By Tangerine IPA. The unfiltered version will drop in January and again in August, and the tangerine-spiked bottles will be released in April and September. Two bottlings of the Enjoy After variation (which are bottle-conditioned with a strain of brettanomyces yeast and meant to be carefully aged for a year or more) are also scheduled in 2016 as well.
Visit Stone Brewing’s website to see the complete schedule of 2016 releases.