After 20 fantastic years of production, Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, California) recently announced that they plan to retire Stone Smoked Porter by the end of the year.
Stone Smoked Porter first debuted back in 1996 and was the second beer to officially bear the name of Stone Brewing. During a legacy spanning those two decades, Stone Smoked Porter easily secured itself a reputation of being a world-class craft beer that even those who did not enjoy “dark beer” fell in love with. This is not difficult to believe since Stone Brewing President and co-founder Steve Wagner gained the inspiration to create this beer after sipping his first draft pour of Alaskan Brewing Company’s Smoked Porter, a beer considered to be the industry standard for the Smoked Porter style. The brew he developed after that experience turned out to be a 5.9% ABV Porter that is “dark, smooth and complex, with chocolate and coffee flavors suffused with subtle smokiness from the addition of peat-smoked malt.” Subtly complex, the accessibility and beautiful flavor development within Stone Smoked Porter has also made it an effortless pairing with almost any cuisine whether it be sweet or savory.
“I’ll always remember that a lot of people told me they never liked “dark beers” until they had this one—that’s pretty special,” said Stone Brewing President and co-founder Steve Wagner.
Some may think it is insane for Stone Brewing to even consider retiring a beer on the level of Stone Smoked Porter, but our current craft beer landscape often calls for breweries to make difficult changes to their lineups to make room for exciting new releases. Although many of us will be sad to see Stone Smoked Porter go (I am definitely one of these people because a bottle of this beer is in my fridge at all times), the folks at Stone Brewing ask that we take the year to “celebrate and pay tribute to its storied 20 years.” If you have never had the pleasure of enjoying this offering, you should remedy that situation as soon as possible. If you are already familiar with the excellence that is Stone Smoked Porter, be sure to partake in a pint as often as you can before it fades away into retirement. I certainly know that will be my course of action throughout the rest of the year. Here’s to an amazing beer and hopefully a quick/regular return as a special release in the future. Prost!
For more information on Stone Smoked Porter, its inspiration and a Q&A with Steve Wagner, click here.