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The Perfect Crime

” The Perfect Crime” is described as a Black Smoked Saison, and is yet another collaboration beer from Stone Brewing, this time with Evil Twin Brewing and Stillwater Artisanal Ales.

I picked up this bottle in early December, and it’s time to crack the cap and get down to investigating this criminal collaboration.

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Stone brewmaster Mitch Steele joined with Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Denmark’s Evil Twin Brewing and Brian Strumke from Stillwater Artisanal Ales (of Baltimore) in scheming up a plot to hijack tastebuds and blow minds.

Saisons are traditional farmhouse ales from southern Belgium, and have gained tremendous growth as a popular style among U.S. craft brewers over the past 4 years or so. If you’ve ever had one, you can expect a golden-to-copper colored ale of a medium body, not too hoppy, not too high in alcohol, and usually not too “yeasty” although certainly distinctive in flavor from most beers.

As you can see, this one pours really dark, almost black, but not heavy like a stout. On first taste, immediately noticeable are the roasted/smoked coffeeish flavor and a hint of dark chocolate…but wait, there’s more! The hops kick in, just a small bite of bitterness, but the bark is bigger than the bite and in this case the bark is a lingering herbal/floral finish. Very nice, seems like a “big beer” for a saison but everything balances out. Wish I had picked up a few more of these bottles…I believe it has sold out by now but I’ll take a look around some of the local shops.

6.8% ABV, 60 IBUs
Hops used: East Kent Goldings, Chinook, and Cluster

Stone MixTape, Vol. 1: fill it up and turn it up to 11!

20120314-175003.jpg“MixTape”, as a nod to those artfully and thoughtfully put-together music experiences of yore, is a unique blend concocted by Greg Koch and Laura Ulrich of Stone Brewing Co., and includes their Levitation, LeVariation, Sublimely Self-Righteous ales, Smoked Porter, Cali-Belgique, 2011 Imperial Russian Stout, and 2011 Belgo-Anise Imperial Russian Stout…they seemingly just put all those beers in the blender with some added peppers, sage, lemon thyme, and Citra hops (as if Stone beers need any ADDED hops!)…and voila! Pop this one in the tape deck of your ’91 hooptie for a trip into a zone forbidden to sippers of fizzy yellow beer !

As you can see, the MixTape pours dark, with a thick head of foam from all that ale and stout interaction. Surprisingly to me, it drinks quite well…this is not just some evil dare handed down from the Stone gods to college fraternity brothers looking for something new to push on recruits. A little on the smoky side, some of the character of those herbs and spices definitely coming through….reminds me a bit of the Stone 15th Anniversary Black IPA with a touch of Belgian malts….but there’s more going on here. Basically a complex dark ale, heavy but not overwhelming on the hops, with some spice. Something for the stout and porter drinkers (which I’m not particularly) and something for the hoppy ale and Belgian lovers (yeah, that’s me!). Nicely balanced, just like those TDK high bias 90-minute cassettes I used to fill up with my own patented blend of alt-college rock, punk, new wave, hip hop, funk, reggae, and Jerky Boys prank phone calls.

20120314-175408.jpgRight now (as far as I know) Stone MixTape is only available at the Neighborhood bar, located at G Street and Eighth Ave. in downtown San Diego.

And for a limited time, you can also pick up this handsome pint glass with the saying of the week, “Don’t Bro Me If You Don’t Know Me”…a Neighborhood exclusive, and a quote which I shall not speculate upon since that’s already been done by fellow bloggers. Cheers, and keep mixing it up!