It is rarer to discover that sort of sage advice when you're beer hunting. Fortunately, my senpai of suds Doc Downs is usually holding court behind the bar to point me in the right direction when I'm seeking a new brew. His latest suggestion is Stone Vertical Epic Ale. Perhaps he pointed me in that direction because I told him I only wanted "one quick beer before heading home," and he knew that a 22-ouncer would help to prove that old Ben Franklin saw: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." On second thought, if you've ever read Doc's blog, I'm pretty sure that it's Doc who wants us to be happy.
Like with fine wines, the brewers at Stone Brewing Co. encourage drinkers to compare their offerings from year to year, hence the concept of a "Vertical Epic Ale." To facilitate this, they release this particular brew every 13 months like clockwork. I enjoyed the 10/10/10 bottling and anxiously look forward to November 11 this year. You may know of the brewery from their more popular Arrogant Bastard Ale.
An extremely complex beer brewed in a Belgian style near Escondido, Calif., Stone Vertical Epic Ale pours with a thick creamy head. As the beer warms in the glass, the aromas and flavors evolve from a syrupy malt to touches of bananas and vanilla. The mad scientists at Stone actually added grape juice from a nearby winery to the batch during secondary fermentation to contribute a dryness and acidity to the final product.
Though you may recoil at the thought of a beer that costs more than 10 bucks, consider that it's actually almost as much beer as two regular drafts, with more going on in the glass than a sixer of most other beers. Try it with some of the exotic cheeses and house-made charcuterie offerings on Flyte's bar menu for a great happy hour experience.