Happy Friday Panthers fans!
Are you ready for a Sunday afternoon game and a cold beer? I know I sure am. Last weekend had to be one of the most epic beer drinking odyssey's in my life as a fan of craft beer. A friend informed me of a specialty beer store here in Greensboro, NC that I had never heard about and after a visit I walked out with five of the most adventurous, strangest and most wonderful brews I've ever had. So, since being a Panthers fan I love the little guy and need to give a HUGE plug to Pete and the folks at 'The Pipe and Pint' in Greensboro, NC. If you're in the Triad and are in search of good beer there is literally nowhere else you should go... they are the best.
One brew I bought there last week is something I'd been dying to try for a while, but had a hard time finding it. However, after a bottle I knew it was going to be our Brew for the Game. So won't you join me as we explore this wonderful beer...
After the jump
Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
The Brewery: I believe I've mentioned the folks at Stone no less than two times on this beer odyssey, but they deserve it. When it came to this widespread craft beer revolution across the United States a few breweries were at the forefront, Stone Brewing Co. were one of them. Now, by their own admission the revolution has become an epidemic as the big brewers are frantic to brew new styles, get a little more adventurous or buy micro brews in an attempt to stop the bleeding of their market share. When it comes to Stone they level their sights on the big boys with statements like this (taken from their bottles):
You also likely understand the importance of our fight at Stone against accepted 'norms' over the last 15 years. We believed that America was ready to embrace things made with artistry and passion. You have spoken. Your response has been clear. We are not merely consumers to be spoon-fed whatever commodities need to be unloaded for a profit. We have only just begun to move the needle of this revolution, & mediocrity still reigns.
Sounds more like a manifesto than a beer label, but it's just that which makes Stone so great.
The Brew: One sip of this beast and you'll feel like Clay Matthews- left on his ass while Cam Newton scampers for a first down. It's a beer that punches you in the mouth with big flavors, then dances on your taste-buds with nuance and poise. In terms of taste it has a roast coffee/dark chocolate forefront, but then moves into a realm of citrus and finally finishes with some sweetness and of course being an IPA, hop bitterness. This is sold only in pint bottles, and it's probably a good thing because at 10.5% ABV there's a good chance you'd be laid out if it came in a 6-pack.
How it relates to the game: First off, look at that bottle? This could be the most Panther-centric bottle on the beer scene. When full it's straight up black and electric blue with that toasting gargoyle staring right at you. In terms of why this beer this week it's simple... anniversary's, homecomings and revisiting are in the cards on Sunday. On the one side we have former Carolina Panthers, Julius Peppers and Chris Harris playing for Chicago, on the other side we have former Chicago Bears, Ron Rivera and Greg Olsen on the side of Carolina. I get the feeling this is going to be a knock-down, drag-out and what better way to watch than with a beer that's strong, and visibly black and blue?
Price Point: Right around $9 for a pint bottle... a lot I know, but trust me it's worth it.
Where to buy: This is definitely a craft beer/specialty shop kind of brew. It's available nationally, but you'll need to seek out somewhere that carries the more unusual stuff.