Beer Review: Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale
This evening, I cracked open the coveted Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale. This particular ale is a witbier, created by Stone Brewing Companyin February of 2002. According to Stone, at one time, this beer was ‘easily the rarest and most highly sought-after beer they have ever brewed’. It’s hard to come by the original, but Stone re-released the 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale as a part of its 20th Anniversary Encore Series last year.
The beer poured a beautiful honey-like, pale golden color. It was transparent and moderately carbonated, with a very frothy and large white head. On the nose I detected that famous Belgian Yeast scent which is a staple in witbiers. Along with that yeasty smell came notes of banana and clove. In addition, I detected a slight sweetness, almost citrusy flavor. Lastly, there was a faint hoppiness detected at the conclusion of the smell.
The beer definitely did not disappoint in taste. It was definitely a crisp witbier, having that muted wheaty taste with notes of banana and clove. In addition, faint notes of orange and coriander were tasted which I feel complimented the standard witbier flavor very well. I couldn’t help but taste a subtle hoppiness in this witbier as well. Now, this was not the hoppiness you would taste in an Pale Ale or IPA—this was much more subtle. It almost served as a unexpected compliment, presenting itself at the end of the taste to enhance the flavor of this great brew.
Stone Brewing did an incredible job with this brew. It was not a standard witbier by any means. The brewers definitely took a risk on this one, and you can experience it with each smell and taste. Cheers to a great witbier and the innovation that made it all possible!