Years in the making, Stone Brewing announces a new series of beers unlike any released in the brewery’s 21-year history. Known most commonly for its aggressive and hop-forward beers, Stone dives enthusiastically into the world of funk. The first of the year’s quarterly releases, Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc, launches with online presales February 23, 2018.
Steve Gonzalez, Stone Brewing small batch senior manager of brewing and innovation, has been managing Stone’s barrel aging program since 2012. All the while he’s been experimenting with sours at the nearby off-site barrel warehouse in Escondido. Stone’s base sour is true to the traditional European sour, brewed with malted wheat, un-malted wheat, malted barley, three strains of Brettanomyces yeast, Lactobacillus and aged hops. Fresh fruit and blends of other barrel-aged beers will make each release unique.
“We live in California, one of the bread baskets of the world,” said Gonzalez. “Fruit has a traditional place in sour production so it feels good to use what’s local. This project is near and dear to my heart. It’s an ode to traditional sours, but with new-world elements and the same do-it-your-own-way mentality that Stone brings to its approach with every beer.”
Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc was brewed with California Sauvignon Blanc grapes alongside red wine barrel-aged Stone Cali-Belgique IPA. The base brew was fermented with juice of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes, Lactobacillus bacteria, Belgian yeast strains and wild yeast. This blend was then combined with the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, which had been foudre-aged for two years with three strains of Brettanomyces yeast.
The traditional techniques alongside unique blending methods creates a complex sweetness and mild tartness with lots of soft oak complexity. The grape flavors come through powerfully. The funk was intentionally limited to make for a cleaner tasting beer. Flavors will evolve over time, with some mild funk increasing with age. This beer is appropriate to drink now, and to cellar for years.
The first Stone Mission Warehouse Sour released quietly in 2017, selling out its very limited-volume stash in a matter of days. Stone will release only 400 four-packs of its debut release of 2018. Fans can expect quarterly sour releases throughout the year. A distinct fresh fruit will be the highlight of each, with some seasonality at play. Four-packs of 330ml bottles are priced at $32, which includes all taxes, service fee and CRV (if applicable). Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc bottles can be picked up from March 11 – 25, 2018 at select Stone Brewing locations.
“I’ve been into sours for 25 years,” said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing executive chairman & co-founder. “I first visited the famed Cantillon in 1995, just before founding Stone Brewing. Since then I have been enjoying the trial beers that our brewers have been quietly experimenting with. A LOT of planning and experimentation has gone into this program and we think the outcome is something really interesting, authentic and pleasantly unexpected of Stone.”
Name: Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc
Blend: 12% Foudre-Aged Stone Cali-Belgique IPA (2 years old), 88% Sour Base
Availability: Presale only with pickup in San Diego, Pasadena and Richmond
Appearance: Clear, deep gold.
Aroma: White wine, floral, estery-berry notes, honey-crisp apple and orange blossom. There’s a hint of wood and vanilla in the background.
Taste: The flavor spectrum of this beer has amazing complexity. Strong, up-front white wine is complemented by citrus, orange, honey and hints of vanilla from the barrel.
Palate: Mild with juicy sweetness up front. The finish is dry with complementary funk notes alongside underlying oak and vanilla tones.
Overall: This beer is made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes, which are known for making amazing white wines. We have a few people at Stone who spent some time in the wine industry. Their influence has been showcased in our barrels selection of beers past, and now in this unique sour offering. It’s been said that, “It takes a lot of good beer to make good wine.” Now you can see how aspects of the two benefit each other when combined in this very amazing, limited beer.