Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ruinaton 10th Anniversary – Stone Brewing

                Ruination was quite possibly the first year round Imperial IPA, now 10 years later Stone released a special 10thAnniversary brew, so if you are counting backwards that means the first Ruination came out in 2002, which is quickly confirmed on the back of the bottle, a full 6 years after Stone was founded.  Their first beer, Stone Pale Ale; and their first keg was sold on July 26, 1996 to Vince Marsaglia at Pizza Port.

Since 1996 Stone Brewery has grown to be one of the largest craft breweries in the country, from 400 barrels in 1996 to a projected 180,000 barrels in 2012.  Back in 2005 they topped out at the maximum capacity for their original brewery, and moved into a considerably larger brewery in Escondido; opening the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in 2006.  In 2008 and 2009 Stone was named the “Most popular and highest rated brewery – ever!” by BeerAdvocatemagazine.  In December of 2009 they announced the intention of opening a brewhouse in Europe and have since narrowed the new location to Berlin or Bruges, down from an initial list of 79 locations.

Stone’s explosive growth is expected to continue with plans to open a second Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station later this year and break ground on the Stone Hotel in early 2013.

                Stone’s founders Steve Wagner and Greg Koch met in 1989 when Steve’s band rehearsed at Greg’s music studios; then met a few years later in a “Sensory Evaluation of Beer” class at US-Davis.  Over the next three years the two kept in touch until they came to a revelation that they had to open a brewery.  With Steve brewing and Greg focused on the business aspects the two obtained the support of private investors, found a building and moved in on February 1st, 1996; built a stainless steel brewhouse; and officially opened on July 26th.

                I had been moderately aware of Stone after I graduated with my undergraduate degree and picked up my first bottle of Stone beer probably in the early-mid 2000s when I noticed an interesting new beer with a gargoyle for a label on the shelves at my local liquor store.  To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan back then because I had yet to develop a taste for super hoppy IPAs.  It wasn’t until I visited the Stone World Bistro and Gardens during a business trip to the San Diego area in 2008 that I started to fully appreciate Stone Brewing.  If you have never been and find yourself in Escondido, it is well worth the trip.  The food is fantastic, the beer list is unbelievable and the gardens are gorgeous.

I met Mr. Koch at the GABF last year and found that he was very nice and extremely approachable (picture to come, if i can find it).  The book that he wrote with Steve Wagner and Randy Clemens, “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.” is a great read with recipes for 18 Stone beers and a handful of the dishes on the menu at the Stone World Bistro.  I would go on, but you are here for a review of Ruination 10th Anniversary, so on to the review.

                On Beeradvocate the Ruination 10th Anniversary has a score of 96 and an 87 from the Bros.  Over at ratebeer it has a score of 100 Overall and 99 for style.

They Say:

10.8% ABV
110 IBUs

On the bottle –
                In June 2002, we released Stone Ruination IPA.  Bigger, hoppier, & much much much more bitter than the popular beers of the day.  In fact, back then it was on the outer fringe of craft brewing.  So, in a bid to warn folks of the bitter impact of our “Liquid Poem to the Glory of the Hop,” we named it Stone Ruination IPA, for its extraordinary bitter, “ruinous effect” on the pallet.  People thought we were nuts.  Nobody would want such a bitter beer.  You see, in June 2002, only a tiny handful of breweries either had bottled a double IPA as a limited release or had one on tap at their brewpub.  Without realizing it, we’d made a bit of history, as our new beer proved to be the first full-time brewed & bottled double IPA on the planet.  How things have changed.  Today’s double IPAs are brewed by literally hundreds of craft breweries all over the world.  Incredible.  Delicious. And incredibly delicious.

                No, we didn’t create the double IPA style.  That honor’s been attributed to our old friend Vinnie Cilurzo, who produced his Blind Pig 1st Anniversary IPA in 1996 in nearby Temecula, CA (the same year Stone opened).  We then picked up the double IPA baton with our successively-ever-bigger-and-hoppier Stone 2nd thru 5th Anniversary IPAs (1998-2001).  Ultimately, in 2002 we blended those recipes to create Stone Ruination IPA, if for no other reason than we simply wanted that big, hoppy character available to us all year ‘round.  Turned out you did, too!  Today Stone Ruination IPA is one of the best selling double IPAs in the world, thanks to you, so we brewed this special version to celebrate.

On the website –

                Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA was created as an homage to the almighty hop. As the celebrated Stone Ruination IPA approached its 10th birthday this June, we knew we had to do something special, so we cranked it up from 7.7% to 10.8% and used twice as much hops–a whopping 5 pounds per barrel, including a pound each of Citra and Centennial in the dry hop. The results were GLORIOUS, but don't take our word for it. The only people more bitter than those who don't get any... will be those who do.

Suggested Pairings by "Dr." Bill Sysak

Appetizers: Kimchee, ceviche, bacon-wrapped jalapeños (or habaneros)

Main Courses: Salt and pepper shrimp, jambalaya, roasted pork chops with apple sauce, pineapple curry

Desserts: Apple pie with caramel sauce, toffee bars, spiced carrot cake

Cheeses: Aged Cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Roquefort, Mimolette

Cigars: Ashton Classic Majesty, Litto Gomez Diez, Don Pepin Garcia Blue Label Invictos Corojo Robusto

I say:

                Stone Ruination 10th Anniversary IPA pours a brilliant reddish amber.  It has a thick, creamy off-white head that holds excellent retention with great lacing in the glass.  The aromas popped as I was pouring, filling the room with pine and tangerine notes.  In the glass the aromas were piney and resiny, with tons of citrus (tangerine and pineapple).  The aromas were amazing, and characteristic of the great hop characteristics I have come to expect from a Stone IPA.

                The flavor was surprisingly crisp and full of strong tangerine and piney character, a forceful push of hop bitterness, with caramel notes as part of a strong malt backbone.  The hops were like a punch to the face, and the malt a nice soft pillow to fall back onto.  The finish was unbelievably smooth with just a hint of bitterness.  There was little to no noticeable alcohol in the flavor, surprising given its 10.5% ABV.  Ruination 10th Anniversary was medium to full-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

                Stone certainly pulled no punches in the release of the 10th Anniversary, it was everything that I love about Ruination and then some.  It had way more hops, and way more malt producing an excellent beer that was a pleasure to drink.  My only regret is that I was only able to find one bottle of this exquisite elixir, because I would have happily bought a case worth.  Hopefully this is a recipe that Stone will brew again soon.

                That’s all for today, check back tomorrow for a review on the Dark Depths Baltic IPA from Samuel Adams.

                Happy Drinking!!

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