From the Beer Writer: When it comes to OG San Diego County breweries, few have been around so long and accomplished as much as Pizza Port and Stone Brewing. The former celebrated three decades in operation last year, while the latter will turn 22 this summer. During the entire span that both have existed, they’ve been helping each other grow and succeed. First, Pizza Port tapped and sold Stone beers from their brewpub, and later Stone began selling and distributing Pizza Port’s liquid wares. Theirs is an authentic and respectful friendship that is celebrated by a recently-released collaboration beer dubbed BFF (Beer Friends Forever). Brewed at Pizza Port’s Bressi Ranch facility, it’s a 6.2% alcohol-by-volume pale ale that, like many of the fun-and-beer-fueled memories made by these powerhouse breweries, is a little bit hazy. Aromas of lemon and orange candy segue to tangerine zest, peach skin and lemon thyme on the palate, plus a dry scone-like biscuitiness that dries the beer out nicely. Six-packs of 16-ounce BFF cans are currently out in the wild waiting to nourish the endless summer they’re themed after.
From the Brewer: “We wanted to brew a beer to celebrate the special relationship that Pizza Port and Stone share. Starting from Vince picking up the first-ever keg of Stone Pale Ale and tapping it at Solana in 1996, to our sister company, The Lost Abbey, moving into Stone’s original brewery, to Stone Distribution taking amazing care of our beer in the market. I could keep going but I can’t imagine what Pizza Port would be today without Stone. For the beer itself, we wanted to try to thread together elements of the original Stone Pale with some current IPA brewing trends. For the malt on BFF, we used a lot of English heirloom Maris Otter to tie in Stone Pale’s rich malt background with the sweet malt character you find in Northeast-style IPAs. The hops we used in BFF are Mosaic, Citra, NZ Rakau, UK Target and NZ Southern Cross to give the beer a modern, tropical, citrusy profile with a touch of earthiness that was found in the original Stone Pale. For yeast, we went with London III. You could characterize Stone Pale as a ‘super ESB’ of sorts, and the brewery that put ESB on the map was Fuller’s in England. London III is supposedly a Fuller’s strain, and it’s the strain we like to use here at Bressi Ranch for our NEIPAs. You put these ingredients together and you get a very drinkable, hoppy, malty pale ale.”—Sean Farrell, Director of Brewing Operations, Pizza Port Brewing
“Sean hit me up about doing a collaboration beer and of course I said ‘yes’ right away! We’ve been friends for a long time and I actually first met him when he was on the bottling line back at Mata Way at the original Stone brewery in 2004. There are a lot of friendships and connections with both of our companies through the years. We’ve grown up together as companies through the years, helped each other out in so many ways, and continue to innovate into the future as brands like ours have to do to stay relevant. But that’s really part of our DNA anyways, just like being fiercely independent. And that was really the inspiration for the beer; to play off of that original Stone Pale Ale by combining some established ingredients with some newer ingredients and making something really new but with some ties to that past. The fact that the pilot was brewed at Solana Beach and then the official collaboration was brewed at Bressi Ranch is another example of tying together the past and present. This was a true collaboration, right down to the very cool artwork on the can. People are going to love the mix of English, New Zealand and some newer-American hops propped up by a crisp, solid malt background. I can’t wait to have a few with these guys!”—Jeremy Moynier, Senior Innovation Brewing Manager, Stone Brewing