Monday, October 11, 2010
Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale has arrived!
What could possibly redeem yet another Monday? The arrival of the 9th in a limited release series of 11 one-off creations from Stone Brewing Co. This installment doesn't disappoint, and provides enough depth and layering of flavors that multiple tastings will be required for a complete examination of this unique ale. The beer is brewed as a Belgian-style triple, with the addition of chamomile. Adding to the layers of flavor are not one, but three distinct varieties of grapes harvested from South Coast Winery in Temecula. Muscat, Gewurztraminer, & Sauvignon grapes join the party and provide a complexity that threw me off at first. I was greeted by a slightly tart, almost sour nose and first sip. The three grape varieties blended with the sweetness of the style to give me the sour-like first impression. Although the flavor was still present as the brew warmed, I was then able to discern the style from the trio of grape types. The chamomile weaves through the beverage so well that it is hard not only to distinguish it from the rest of the ingredients, but difficult to even tell how and where it is integrated in the final product. Complex and imaginative ingredients combined with a 9.5% alcohol content create an environment for exploration and discovery. I garner 3.5 stars to this annual offering although, as mentioned before, I plan on finding myself before a glass of this playful, mysterious concoction before I set my final thoughts in "stone". Procure a bottle, tuck in, and share your thoughts on this "epic" brew!