We decided early on that we wouldn’t do seasonal beers for the sake of doing seasonal beers. Summer ales and winter lagers certainly have a ring to them. Big-beer focus groups prove consumers get a kick out of them, and macrobrew marketing analyses suggest they sell well. But for us, beer comes first, much as Stone Smoked Porter came first. Actually, it came second—oddly enough, in the form of a seasonal. Our co-founder and original brewmaster, Steve Wagner, thought it would be an innovative, warming creation suited for winter…and it was. Legend has it Greg’s mom agreed. But rather than relegating fans to nine peat-smoked-porterless months and building revenue-generating fervor for the cold season, we made it a year-round release. Nowadays, we brew a trio of tasty takes on this smoky, sultry vanguard. But the closest they come to being “seasonals” is that they are enhanced with seasonally driven ingredients such as vanilla bean and chipotle peppers. This version, released in the literally gray area separating sunshine and snowfall, incorporates dark chocolate and dried orange peel, making for a semisweet, citrus-nuanced porter that comes across like a break-apart chocolate orange enjoyed by a campfire. It’s not a seasonal—it’s just a phenomenal beer, regardless of the time of year. Throw out the calendar and enjoy.
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