Beer Syndicate Blog

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Month: December 2015

Stone Brewing Co.: A Perfect Place to Ring in the New Year for Beer Lovers

Stone Brewing World Bistro and Garden Escondido (Stone Brewing Co.)

With New Year’s Eve quickly approaching, you may already have plans.  But if you left things to the last minute, and also happen to be a beer fan, Stone Brewing Co. might be just the place for you come December 31st, 11:59 pm.

More on that in a second.

To be clear, Stone’s brewing facility located in Escondido, California is much more than just a brewery.

It’s  a full-blown modern restaurant that offers eclectic cuisine utilizing locally grown, small-farm ingredients with special chef-selected dishes for New Year’s Eve in addition to the regular menu.  

Interior at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Garden Escondido (Stone Brewing Co.)

Reservations are recommended especially for New Year’s Eve at Stone Brewing Co., but even if you skip the food, there’s still a posh open-air patio and nature-inspired one-acre beer garden to enjoy.

And if your schedule allows for it, consider going for a brewery tour of what our associates at BeerAdvocate call the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth”.  It’s only $3 and includes a souvenir tasting glass and four 4 oz samples of tasty Stone brews, including one Special Release beer.  You can sign up in advance, but walk-ins are welcome.

Tour hours:

Monday – Friday: 12, 2, 4, & 6 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 PM

Brewery at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Garden Escondido

So what’s so special about ringing in the New Year at Stone Brewing Co. aside from the food, atmosphere, and live music?

The beer, of course.

But not just any beer.  And not just Stone brews.

We’re talking rare beers and special releases beginning at 4:00 pm, with something new and incredible offered every two hours after that up until midnight when the final spectacular Stone-exclusive keg is tapped.

And unlike Stone’s New Year’s Eve celebration at their other location at Liberty Station in San Diego where tickets will run you upwards of $125 [as of 2016], there is no ticket or cover charge required at the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. (1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, CA 92029)

Many of the night’s special releases are finished off before the evening’s out, but some make it to the next day in case you’re thirsty for more or miss the event altogether.

But just what wonderful and amazing beers await you?  Only one way to find out.

Although, if the 2015 draft list at Stone Brewing Co. is anything like 2014’s, you won’t be disappointed. 

And just in case you’re the curious type, below is what the 2014 lineup looked like:

Stone Brewing Co. New Year Beer List_2014

Almost forgot.  Even though you won’t see the ball drop at Stone at midnight, you will see something else drop.

Here’s a hint:

Keg Drop at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Garden Escondido (Stone Brewing Co.)

For more information about Stone’s New Year’s Eve in Escondido, check out Stone’s website.

Cheers and Happy New Year from the good fellas at BeerSyndicate!

* BeerSyndicate received no compensation from Stone Brewing Co. or any other party to produce this article.

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Hi, I’m D.J. Pander.  I like beer.  I also blog.

Samuel Adams Utopias 2013 and 2015: A Side-By-Side Review

Samuel Adams Utopias 2013 and 2015

Samuel Adams Utopias has been described as one of the most sought-after beers on earth.  World-class. On the “lunatic fringe” of craft beer.  Radical.  Extreme.  Challenges the idea of what beer can be.

Released in very limited quantity and only typically every other year, this rare beer is not just extreme in strength (with one vintage exceeding as much as 29% alcohol by volume), it’s also relatively extreme on the cost side of things with a single 24 ounce bottle retailing upwards of $200.

Samuel Adams Utopias Receipt

First produced in 2002 with an ABV of 24%, at the time Utopias achieved the Guinness Book of World Records title for ‘World’s Strongest Beer’, although there have since been stronger beers on the market, with at least one beer from the Scottish brewery “Brewmeister” reaching an ABV of 67.5%.  But the intention with Samuel Adams Utopias is not to create a high strength beer for the sake of showing who can win an ABV contest, rather to produce a masterfully blended unique tasting experience.

But at more than $200 a pop, the question naturally arises: Is it worth it? 

It depends.  From an intrinsic value point of view, the answer is yes in the sense that about $200 fairly reflects the amount of time, craftsmanship, and effort that went in to making the beer.  But if the question is: ‘Will every person find the experience of consuming Utopias personally worth about $8-$10 per ounce?’, then the answer is probably going to be no for a variety of reasons.  For example, someone might argue that it’s more “worth it” to buy ten 30 packs of Bud Light for the same price of one bottle of Utopias, not to mention Bud Light is frightfully easier to come by.

Then again, you get what you pay for.

So let’s talk about what you get with a bottle of Utopias, assuming you can get your hands on one.

Samuel Adams UtopiasTo be clear, each vintage of Utopias is unique because each vintage is a different blend of various individual beers (even other vintages of Utopias) that have been aged in differing barrels going as far back as 22 years in the case of the 2015 vintage.  And as an integral ingredient itself, Samuel Adams has quite the library of flavorful casks to choose from including bourbon, port, Scotch, sherry, rum, Hungarian oak, Madeira, Carcavelos, cognac, and Armagnac to name a few.

Utopias attains its high ABV through natural fermentation with the use of highly alcohol-tolerant Champagne yeast, not by distillation, fractional freezing, or any other such method.

The beer is flat and bottled in unique ceramic decanters modeled after the copper brew kettles used by brewmasters for centuries.  Per the brewery, Utopias has an infinite shelf-life, getting better with age, even after opened and exposed to oxygen where subsequent oxidation is viewed as adding desirable complexity to the brew.  Specially designed drinking glasses were also created for serving Utopias by world-renowned glassmaker Georg Riedel, and one can be redeemed complimentary from the brewery with the purchase of each bottle (upon request).

So how does the Utopias 2013 vintage stack up against this year’s release?

Quite well.  In fact, our tasting panel preferred the 2013 over the 2015 in a side-by-side tasting, but it was close.  To be fair, the 2013 was originally opened in December of 2014, and therefore has aged a bit more, which may have smoothed out some of the edges.  And of course the 2013 and 2015 are two differently blended beers, so this isn’t exactly an apples to apples comparison which is why we refrain from calling this a “vertical tasting” like when two vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted.

Nevertheless, here’s the rundown of a truly rare and unique experience…

Utopias 2013 & 2015 Attributes and Tasting Notes

10 Beer Names You Might Be Saying Wrong

10 Beer Names You Might Be Saying Wrong

The pronunciation of some words is regional like tomato (t’may-toe) and tomato (toe-mah-toe), and basically equally correct.  Other times, the pronunciation of a word is just flat out wrong, like pronouncing the word “supposedly” as “supposably” or “specific” as “pacific”.

But why on Earth would you ever correct somebuddy who pacifically says “supposably”?  Please don’t, because correcting people is one of those Catch-69 situations, like when somebody has ketchup on their face: If you tell them, you embarrass them by pointing it out, but if you don’t say anything, then you embarrass them because you let them walk around with ketchup on their face.  Not to mention, maybe the person is intentionally wearing ketchup on their face.  Like I said, Catch-69.

Likewise, please don’t go around correcting people who say the words on this list incorrectly.

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