It’s the week for getting beer: today I received a bottle of Stone Brewing‘s latest once-yearly masterpiece, Vertical Epic 09.09.09. It’s so-named because the official release is on September 9th; the “Vertical Epic” part comes from the overall scheme: since 2002, Stone has released a Vertical Epic on the month, day, and year that numerically match up. 02.02.02, 03.03.03, etc.
Each beer is a one-off, a unique addition to the VE line, and somewhat strong in alcohol. They plan to release a Vertical Epic all the way to 12.12.12, and then—this is where the “Vertical” comes in—for those of you that have faithfully bought and kept a bottle every year from 2002 to 2012, you will have an “epic” vertical tasting of unique Stone beers.
It’s rather brilliant marketing, actually. And brilliant beer making, too; Stone makes good beers and has always been fairly extreme and cutting-edge. This 09.09.09 is 8.6% alcohol by volume and is a “Belgian Porter brewed with dark candi sugar, chocolate malt, tangerine peel, vanilla beans, and aged on French oak.” Past VEs have been similarly creative.
Also in the picture you’ll notice the DVD-sized item leaning against the bottle: yes, it’s a DVD, which is a neat piece of marketing too, the first such I’ve received with beer. It contains about two hours of features, most of which actually look pretty interesting. Perhaps I’ll watch it while drinking the beer.
Yes, I do plan on drinking it at some point, I’m not going to save it until 2012. If I actually had a bottle from each year, that might be a different story; I do have a bottle of the ’06 or ’07 (I don’t remember which) that I will probably drink as well. Plus there’s actually reviewing the beer. Which is part of the point.