Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Letters: Stone Anniversary XI, Finding Cask Ale

By William Brand
Sunday, October 28th, 2007 at 7:04 pm in Uncategorized.

Bill .My brother-in-law Mark’s one and only Law of Barbecue is that if you are barbecuing you have to have a beer in your hand. Usually when I’m not feeling very well Currently I have a mild cold, but I was barbecuing some lambkabobs so in order not to violate Mark’s law I poured myself a Stone XI anniversary IPA.

IPA. It stands for India PALE Ale. Pale, but this beer is black. How much more black could it be? A black IPA. Illogical. Illogical.

But just so. It is true. This beer is very different from the Xth Anniversary IPA which was a full bodied bang you over the head double IPA with tons of grapefruit overtones. This beer, although it appears darker, is lighter in body and very smooth. I can’t comment on the subtleties of the aroma as I have a cold, but I did smell hops.

And this beer has hops aplenty. They don’t even list the international bitterness units (IBU). They just say “Lots.” It’s a very dry, very bitter beer–in the ilk of English bitters I’ve had but more. More of what? If you know Stone, it’s just “more.”

Although even though it’s black you can still totally tell that this is an IPA base. But the blackness adds subtle dry roasted malt flavors and it is terrific. But only get it if you are a serious IPA fan. If you are a sweet beer or light lager fan–skip this one. 4 stars. — Stuart.

Thanks for the review, Stu. It came out in September, it’s 8.7 percent and the brainchild, apparently, of Stone’s headbrewer Mitch Steele, who came to Stone from Anheuser-Busch where he headed their craft brewing section.


Bill,alt=’stone-anniversary-xi.jpg’ /> I read your column in the Oakland Tribune regularly and enjoy it. The New York Times on Wednesday had an article on cask-conditioned beers. Do you know of any bars in the east bay that serve them? Thanks, Tom K

Sure Tom. Triple Rock in Berkeley taps one, I believe, every Thursday. Barclay’s in Oakland often has one; so does the Bistro in Hayward and Jupiter in Berkeley.
The Toronado in San Francisco does. Magnolia’s on Haight in San Francisco usually has a whole array from a British-style mile to IPAs and even stronger. Emil Caluori at Steelhead at Burlingame Station on the Peninsula regularly has a beer on cask. By the way, this is a nice place to visit and you can get there via BART/CalTrain. It’s literally across the street from the Burlingame CalTrain station.

Lots of these places are accessible by BART. Check out for more info.


The Times piece last Wednesday by Eric Asimov was an excellent review of cask beer. You can find it here.

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  • cole bruce-keyes

    Thirsty Bear in SF puts on a weekly cask as well.