Beer review: Stone Brewery 13th Anniversary Ale

First of all, I want to thank all of you who have been writing in with suggestions. I promise you that I will do my best to try them all and write reviews on as many as possible.

A reader named Brandon made a great suggestion to me that I need to write more reviews on beers available in cans. Cans are typically more tailgate friendly. Although beers that come in a can are USUALLY not as good as the bottled brothers, a great point is made. Bottles are not the best vehicle for a parking lot that may have tight restrictions.

Let me also go on the record and say that I have nothing against the major domestic brews. In fact, I’m sure that my drinking alone kept Pete Coors in business for many years. When you’re out in the sun in front of your Freedom Grill (make that a Margaritaville Tailgating Grill although it will always be a Freedom Grill to me) nothing is more refreshing than a domestic light beer. Not only do they go down easy and light, but they are less expensive and popular with just about everyone.

The reason I don’t review them is simple. We’ve all had them a thousand times and have already developed our own opinions on which is the best and why. Who am I to tell you about a beer that you’ve tried before? The beers I review are either favorites like Piraat or new beers suggested to me by you, the readers. One other type of beer that is always reviewed is the one that is FREE! Today Dave from dropped free beer on me and sent me off to work…..Since this was free beer Brandon, I hope will give me a pass since it doesn’t come in a can.

Today’s beer of choice is once again from the fine folks of Stone Brewing Company and is their 13th Anniversary Ale. A while back I reviewed a beer called Arrogant Bastard, also brewed by Stone, and loved it. Let’s see what these folks have going on the 13th anniversary, shall we?

Appearance: Dark…not black but a sold deep red color. This passes the first test of never trusting a beer you can see through. The head was about half an inch when poured into a glass beer mug.

Smell: This beer has a strong smell of hops which lets you know from the opening sniff what your in for. Warning – If beers with lots of hops scare you off then just smelling this one may hurt you.

Taste: Well, no shortness of hops in this beer. If you have heard about the recent hops shortage and were wondering why…..perhaps the folks at Stone Brewing Co. had something to do with that. In fact according to the brewer they used a new double dry hops process for the first time with this one. The taste is deep in both hops of course as well as a toffee flavor that is the true surprise with this beer. The beer has a bitter finish that will only be satisfied by another sip.

ABV: This bad boy brings with it a nice little 9.5%

Availability: It is available in 22oz. bottles and limited draft.

Cost: For me….nothing! Thanks Dave but I suppose this is my form of payment since I have yet to get a paycheck! For you it will cost 5.99 at Bevmo.

Final Thoughts: No surprise that I like this one. Let the record state that Stone Breweing didn’t send me this beer…. Although after two great reviews you would think they would kick me down something. When I asked Dave what he thought of it, he felt that it was a bit harsh tasting off the bat but about mid-beer warmed up to him. Whether that was his taste buds adjusting or the 9.5% ABV kicking in, I don’t know.

My suggestion to you is to leave this one out of your tailgate cooler. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like it…..because I really do. This beer has the exact opposite description as the domestic light beer that I talked about in the opening. I would not say this beer is refreshing, it doesn’t go down light and easy, it isn’t cheap and not everyone will like it. This I’m sure will not bother the fine brewers at Stone. This one is great for the bold of taste bud like myself but may not be for the faint of hops.