A beer for today

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on

12112012stonevertical For a decade, Stone Brewing Co. has annually released a brew in its Vertical Epic Ale series, starting with 02.02.02 for Feb. 2, 2002, and 03.03.03 for March 3, 2003, and so on.

Today's the day for 12.12.12

For what the acclaimed San Diego-area brewer is calling "the final chapter," it earlier this month released  12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale.

The bottle describes this year's version as an "Ale Brewed with Spices," but the brewery elaborates that it includes cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, rosehips, sweet orange peel, and a dash of clove, plus a Belgian yeast strain.

But it is not overly sweet like some Belgian-style ales. The bottle I tried poured almost black and had a deliciously deep malty taste, with enough spiciness to feel holiday-ish without being cloying or over-the-top.

Of course, this is Stone, so it's big -- 9 percent alcohol by volume.

But all the beers in the series were brewed big and meant to be cellared, so people with the forethought to tuck away at least one big bottle of each unique recipe could break them out and savor a "vertical" tasting of all 11 vintages today. 12112012stoneverticalepiclabel

At exactly 12:12 p.m. Pacific time today in Escondido, at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, they're holding the Stone Epic Festival: The Final Chapter, where people can exerience all 11 Vertical Epic Ales, plus barrel-aged variations, with food pairing stations featuring dishes created to pair with each vintage.

Locally, look for 12.12.12 in 22-ounce bottles and in limited draft. Vecenie Distributing's Tony Knipling says the ale is getting around to local bottle shops and watering holes.

One place marking the occasion is Hough's in Greenfield, where tonight they'll not only be tapping some 12.12.12, but also some 11.11.11 that they've been aging for a year. As they note, "It's going to go fast." (Matt Hough emails, "We'll tap them at 11:12 a.m. tomorrow so they'll be ready at 4 p.m. when we open.")

Vintage Estate Wine and Beer in Boardman, Ohio, also will be pouring the draft.

If you're having an event today, email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. all the detaills and I'll post them here.

Mr. Knipling notes that Shadyside's Harris Grill will be pouring the '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11 and '12 Vertical Epics during a blowout ticketed event at 7 p.m. on Jan. 9. You read it here first.

Stone Brewing Co. photos

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