It’s a fine day in craft beer land, because today Stone Brewing Co. has released its Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean and Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers in limited edition 12oz bottles.
Both have been around for years, but only in a “hey, it’s suddenly on tap at the local beer bar so we’d better get down there fast and maybe bring a growler before they’re out” sort of capacity. But now that’s all changed. “Look who’s finally here,” reads the Stone Brewing Co. blog. “In bottles. Yes, we’ve carried these liquid treats as special growler fills from time to time, and they’ve made their way to the occasional special event, but now they’re here in convenient single-serve 12-ounce receptacles, perfect for taking home (or to the office… we won’t tell!) to enjoy.” (Don’t tempt us!)
Having had both on multiple occasions, we’re not even sure we can tell you which version we like more. The Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers packs a fair amount of heat, making it a beer to savor slowly rather than one to knock back in a hurry (of course, that goes for most dark beers). Stone recommends it with sharper flavors like aged Cheddar, mole negro, or flourless chocolate cake, and we have to agree. The suggestion of pairing it with jalapeño poppers, however, sounds a little too intense for even our heat-craving palate – you wouldn’t want to lose the smoky nuances in all those combined Scoville units.
As for the Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean, let’s put it this way: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens offers a Real Beer Float, which is like a root beer float except that it’s scoops of Niederfrank’s vanilla bean ice cream in a mug of Stone Smoked Porter.
Yeah, that's the one. In short, it’s phenomenal. Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean is pretty much exactly that, only cutting out the dairy middleman by adding the creamy vanilla flavor directly. Stone recommends pairing it with seared scallops, Gouda cheese, maple-glazed donuts or cream puffs, all of which sound like fine choices. It’s a perfectly dessert-ready beer, but no so heavy that it can’t be enjoyed with dinner. (Or breakfast if you are so inclined, we certainly wouldn’t blame you.)
The only bad news is that it’s a limited release. Stone Brewing Co. is calling it a one-time-only deal, but the brewery is also encouraging fans to sound off on whether they’d like to see either (or both) of these become a repeat bottle occurrence. So if you want to stock your refrigerator with vanilla bean porter on the regular, you might want to drop them a line.