Today is a special date: 12/12/12, the last such “triple date” notation that can be claimed for this century, so it’s only fitting to pick a special beer brewed just for this day: Stone Brewing’s 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale. And I didn’t select this beer just because of the Vertical Epic story; it is fittingly brewed to a Christmas theme as well.
Crafted in the style of a traditional Belgian Noël beer, it’s dark, big and hearty… Brewed with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, orange peel and rosehips (which turned out to be so sturdy we had to roll over them with a forklift to pulverize them for the brew), it’s a complex beer with many layers. The spices come on strong along with a nice bready malt character. That said, Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale is rather dry on the finish, making it a beer that should do a great job as the last beer in the rotation at fans’ Vertical Epic tastings.
This the final beer in Stone’s Vertical Epic series, the first of which appeared on 02/02/02; the idea behind the series being big Belgian-influenced beers released each year on the triple-digit representation of that year’s date, with the intent (if you were that patient!) of have an, er, epic vertical tasting of all 11 beers.
If you’ve managed to collect the VE beers over the years and hold a tasting, or even just attend a tasting, my hat’s off to you—what a fabulous Christmas present! And even if you just go for the 12.12.12, you’ll still be rewarded with a wonderful Christmas beer.