Stone & Sierra Nevada NxS IPA
A California collaboration blend of dry-hopped IPA and barrel-aged IPA
For many, California is considered an epicenter for brewing innovation, particularly where hoppy IPAs are concerned. We teamed up with longtime craft compatriots and mutual hop admirers Sierra Nevada to create a truly one-of-a-kind IPA. This special-edition beer conveys the true character of collaboration with touches of inventiveness and creativity. Two batches of an IPA were brewed and expertly blended to craft this multilayered beer. The first batch was split down the middle, with 50% being aged in gin-infused bourbon barrels and the remaining half aged in rye whiskey barrels. These beers were blended with the fresh second batch of IPA, which was generously dry-hopped to impart rich aromas to accompany the citrusy, piney, woody, herbaceous flavors achieved from this truly one-of-a-kind collaboration.
As Stone as grown over the years, we have all looked at Sierra Nevada as an example of how to do it right. We consider them role models for the way they approach technical brewing, their sustainability, the beauty of their majestic breweries, and their innovation. And gladly we have become friends and collaborators.
When we first started talking about collaborating, at the 2014 CBC Craft Brewers Conference in Denver, we developed a plan that involved brewing the same IPA at both breweries, doing a treatment unique to each brewery (in our case it was barrel aging with gin-infused barrels, and in their case it was dry hopping with fresh or wet hops), then Stone shipping our version to Chico for the Sierra Nevada team to blend with their version and package. However, the logistics and legalities of this process proved to be too cumbersome to overcome, so the decision was made to brew all the beer at Stone and have Danny from Sierra Nevada join us on brew day.
We brewed the first six brews of the IPA in early summer and sent the beer to our barrel warehouse, where it was put into a combination of gin-infused bourbon barrels and rye whiskey barrels. Then in October we brewed the remaining six brews, allowed them to ferment out and dry-hopped the beer with a blend of Centennial and Mosaic hops.