Stone Brewing Stays Authentic to Techniques with Anniversary Re-releases

When it came to celebrating its past, Greg Koch stayed authentic. Stone Brewing’s Executive Chairman & co-founder said that the re-release of the brewery’s 5th, 10th and 15th anniversary IPAs (marketed as ’20th Anniversary Encores’ and released in a four pack with its 20th anniversary Citracado IPA) show how craft beer has changed over the last decade and a half.

“Someone drinking the Encore version of the Stone 5th Anniversary IPA gets to have an authentic time-machine experience of one of the original west coast double IPAs,” Koch told Brewer Magazine. “I just enjoyed a bottle myself the other day, and it was fun to note how really awesomely old school it was. We made sure to remain authentic in our brewing techniques to how we brewed them the first times around.”

Using the original brewers notes and brewing the same way it did in 2001, the 5th Anniversary IPA may have been the biggest challenge since it wasn’t brewed on the same brewhouse as the 10th and 15th, which were made on the current system that also produced the 20th’s IPA.

It’s the first time these recipes have been remade since debuting on the anniversary year and Koch said it is nice to be able to do this, especially for fans that have only recently began to get into craft beer.


That especially came into play when Stone decided to make the 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale this year as well. Koch said only a limited number of cases of the Imperial Belgian-style Wit was made, so to be able to produce more was on the list of beers to make to celebrate 20 years of business.

“We considered several factors when selecting what to rebrew,” he said. “We started with what we craved the most. No surprise that some of the most memorable beers for our team were also those that our fans loved and asked for too.”

It did take into consideration the success of the beer in the past, but Koch added that sometimes that’s not the best indicator.

“Styles have evolved over time and the preferences of our fans have changed as well,” he said. “With “Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale,” not only was it one of my favorites, we only brewed 300 cases the first time. Only a very tiny fraction of our current fans ever had the chance to enjoy this beer. We’re excited not just for ourselves, but to present some of our newer fans with encore slices of Stone history.”

Koch added that everything ever done at Stone has been built upon its prior knowledge and experience. Being able to exploit that experience and improve year after year has been building blocks to success.

He pointed out that the Stone 2nd-5th Anniversary IPAs spawned the birth of Stone “Ruination” IPA, which was the first full-time brewed and bottled West Coast-style Double IPA. Similarly, the Stone 10th Anniversary IPA was early in the curve of Triple IPAs.

“Folks enjoying them today will note their citrus and pine-driven bitterness and aromatic overtones as opposed to a lot of today’s big IPAs that feature very low bitterness and tons of tropical fruit characteristics,” Koch said. “It’s quite a contrast.”

He added that Stone IPA was originally brought forth on the brewery’s first anniversary.  Today, a “version 1.1” of that beer bridges that gap from the 1997 recipe with updated dry-hopping techniques.

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