Beer of the Week: Stone Collaboration Highway 78 Scotch Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Next up in the Stone Collaboration series is the Highway 78 Scotch Ale brewed in conjunction with Green Flash and Pizza Port – making this one an all-California affair. This one came in a 12 oz. bottle for $4.99. I couldn’t find the product page on the Stone website, but I did find their press release, so here is what they say:

Green Flash/Pizza Port Carlsbad/Stone Highway 78 Scotch Ale (named after the 18 mile stretch of asphalt that unites us) is an atypical creation for all three breweries. It’s a very malty (read: NOT HOPPY) style of beer that we formulated with three different crystal malts, chocolate malt, and English pale malt to provide a rich, bready body. East Kent Goldings and Target hops provide a very modest backbone of peppery hops, but the flavor is unequivocally malt-driven. Scotch Ale yeast and a touch of raw sugar called sucanat add a distinctive complexity to this hefty 8.8% abv beer.

SONY DSCI should make the disclaimer now that I am really not a big fan of the Scotch Ale style of beer – I tend to find them heavy and syrupy and not really all that enjoyable. That being said, I really did review this beer with an open mind.

The beer pours ruby in color, lighter than I was expecting from a Scotch Ale. Lots of malt and slight notes of peat and smoke show on the nose – this beer is definitely not going to be confused with any other style. The beer is very malt forward, as you would expect, with a slight sweetness and a long finish with notes of smoked malt and grain. Not as overpowering as many Scotch ales and lighter on the malt than I was expecting, I just wish that there was more hop character present than I got – the hops were barely noticeable. There was balance though and the beer did not drink like the 8.8% ABV that it is. Overall, this beer was pretty darn tasty, especially for the style.

Stone Collaboration Highway 78 Scotch Ale drives down the road to the pizza shop and flashes us with a solid 3 kilts out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Stone Collaboration TBA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Another Stone collaboration beer, this time with Bear Republic and Fat Head’s Brewing to produce a beer style known as a Texas Brown Ale. What is a Texas Brown Ale you might ask? Well I have never heard of the style, so I will let Stone’s press release talk about it:

This particular beer pays homage to a relatively little–known beer style called Texas Brown Ale, which, strangely enough, has its roots in California. It originated as a hopped up version of a brown ale recipe, and it got pretty popular with a group of NorCal homebrewers in the early 1980s.

“These California guys were tweaking an English-style brown,” explains Matt Cole, Head Brewer of Fat Head’s Brewery. “They added some Crystal and Chocolate malts, and supercharged it with a bunch of Cascade hops to get a bigger version with more hop forward aromas and flavors.”

While delicious, these beers failed to fare well in homebrew competitions, since there was no recognized category they could be entered in. They were far too hoppy and bitter to be considered a traditional brown ale. But when a competition in Houston, TX, accepted entries for what they named the “California Dark” category, the American Homebrewers Association followed suit soon after, though they perplexingly changed the name to Texas Brown Ale.

The beer was sampled out of a 12 oz. bottle and this review is for the 2012 version of the beer – Stone is getting together with the same breweries to brew this beer again in 2013. The skinny on the beer:

Stats: 7.1% abv, 81 IBUs
Malts: Pale 2–Row, Crystal 60, Toasted Wheat, Victory, and Chocolate Malt
Hops: Bravo, Brewer’s Gold, Cascade, and Columbus

tba_collab_2This beer is reddish amber in color with a tan head, not the brown you might expect from brown ale. The nose is a pleasant conglomeration of hops, malt, sugar and molasses. A smattering of light hops appear on the first sip, but fade quickly into a pleasant nut brown profile. The sugar and molasses are there but don’t dominate and subtly compliment the nut brown characteristics of the beer without overpowering it. The finish is like drinking a liquid pecan pie with hints of hops; which makes for a fun and very interesting beer. Considering the hop levels on this beer, I thought the use of them was restrained and very balanced, so much so that occasionally I found myself wanting a slightly bolder hop flavor profile.

I really like TBA and wish there were more breweries doing a style like this.

Stone Collaboration TBA saunters in with an excellent 4 Lone Stars out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Stone Collaboration Saison Du BUFF

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Collaboration beers can be fun and produce some interesting stuff. Stone has been running a collaboration series for a couple of years now working with brewers from around the world to produce some interesting beers. One of the first ones from this series that I tried was the Saison Du BUFF, collaboration between Stone, Victory out of Pennsylvania and Dogfish Head out of Delaware. This bottle was from the second brewing and was a 12 oz. container which ran about $4.


From the Stone website:

Appearance: This beer pours a beautiful pale gold with a white head of foam.
Aroma: Pronounced herbal characters, a wonderful blend of sage, lemon thyme, rosemary. It has some very pleasant citrusy notes, perhaps from the lemon thyme and the Citra dry-hop. And the Belgian yeast strain contributes low level banana esters and a hint of clove.
Taste: The taste starts with the herbal blend in the forefront, and then is backed by a clean malt balance and a very nice citrus and tropical fruit-influenced finish. The finish has a substantial, but balanced hop bitterness and hop flavor. It is a very dry beer, and has a nice refreshing quality that makes it wonderful for this time of year.
Overall: This is the second time that Greg, Sam, and Bill have brewed this beer here at Stone Brewing Co., and this time we were able to get all the herbs from Stone Farms! How cool is it to brew with ingredients from your own farm? Very, very cool.

Stats: 7.7% abv, 52 IBUs

Malts: Pale Malt, Pilsner Malt, Wheat Malt, Flaked Rye
Hops: Centennial & Citra


BUFF pours hazy yellow in color with a white head. Lots of lemon and herbs on the nose with hints of grain and yeast – basically this beer smells like a saison should.  The initial taste starts with notes of lemon followed by a medley of herbs and a hint of hops. The finish is dry and lacking direction – some of the time it is green and unbalanced and other times it is even with a distinct progression through the herbs. It is a beer that relies heavily on the olfactory senses as well as taste and it reminds me of a liquid herb garden. The alcohol is there but it is hardly noticeable, I just wish the flavors from the herbs were more consistent throughout the beer.

Saison Du BUFF was interesting but uneven and definitely not a beer that someone who was a casual beer drinker would remotely enjoy. I had higher expectations for this beer and was unfortunately let down.

Saison du BUFF lifts into your fridge with a somewhat disappointing 2 Thymus citriodorus out of 5.