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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024
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A Word of Caution About Beer

The most infrequent beer brewed at Stone Brewing Co. in San Marcos is once again available, just like it is for the first quarter of every year.

Only this year, brewery CEO and co-founder Greg Koch has advice for would-be consumers of the Old Guardian brew.

“Words of wisdom: Be careful,” he said. “I never recommend it to most people” not because it’s bad, “but because it’s beyond most people.”

Although Old Guardian is technically a beer, Koch said it is more of a barley wine. It takes longer to brew than the firm’s other beers , two months for barley wine vs. two weeks for regular beers , and it ages like a wine or a port.

It also has the alcohol per volume of a wine at 9.443 percent. Stone’s four main beers are in the 5 percent range, Koch said.

“Even though the term barley wine suggests a wine, there’s not really any connection to wine at all,” he said. “You can say as port is to wine, a barley wine is to beer. It’s just a much more intensive version.”

The Old Guardian brew took second place in the Barley Wine Style Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival in October in Denver. There were 65 entrants in the barley wine category.

Alesmith Brewing Co. of San Diego, Pizza Port in Solana Beach, Stuft Pizza & Brewing Co. of San Diego, and Rock Bottom Brewery of La Jolla also won awards at the annual competition.

Koch said Stone brews Old Guardian just once a year for a variety of reasons, but the main reason is the allocation of resources at the 4-year-old brewery.

“Instead of brewing the Old Guardian all year-round, what we do is release it once a year which allows us to use that brewing time and capacity to brew other specialty, big character beers like that at other times of the year,” he said.

Old Guardian is available in 22-ounce bottles at retail locations listed on the firm’s Web site (www.stonebrew.com).

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