Tasting: September 7, 2013
Beer #: 489
Gotterdammerung Stone 17th Anniversary
A few years ago, Russian River Brewing and Avery Brewing realized they both had an offering called “Salvation” – rather than fight over who would keep the moniker, they teamed up to create a Belgian-style ale called “Collaboration Not Litigation”. Times certainly have changed as the booming craft beer market doesn’t appear to be all that friendly these days. There has been a steep increase in the number of trademark lawsuits and in today’s Denver Post (9/6/13), there was a story about a start up Colorado brewery that made a preemptive move to change the name of four beers in its lineup. One of these beers from Odyssey Beerworks – Helios Hefeweizen, was too similar to the name Helios Ale that was trademarked in July by Victory Brewing. There were also ten different non-alcohol trademarks on their title “Ghost Rider” and at least four beers with the same name. Odyssey didn’t want trouble with any of them – including Marvel Comics so, they opted for a change to “Ghost Drifter”. While there is a shortage of shelf space, add one more issue to the craft beer bubble – cool names.
Speaking of cool names – Stone gives us a great name in Gotterdammerung – especially when you get the definition From Merriam Webster: Gotterdammerung: (n) collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder. Maybe this is Stone foretelling the rupture of the craft beer bubble. Regardless – a damn or a gotterdammerung cool name.
When I heard Stone was undertaking a German-style ale, I pictured the signature sweetness of pilsner malts and the subtle earthy bitterness of Germany’s noble hops. Silly me, a split second later I come to my senses and realize that Stone doesn’t do subtle. This one is a hefty 9.4% ABV and an estimated 102 IBU – ouch. My first impression is surprising, I get some of that pilsner sweetness up front, but I’m totally enchanted by a bold floral flavor. For a 9.4% ABV – any sign of booze is nicely muted. The black pepper/earthy bitterness rise as I work my way through the bottle. I can’t say that you can can call this the hip grandson of a traditional German pilsner – that all went out the window with the alps-sized avalanche of hop bitterness. I also can’t say that you can easily discern this beer from a California-style imperial IPA. It’s a nice IPA – I’ll put Gotterdammerung at 86 points.
I’ve had the pleasure of commenting on Stone’s previous anniversary offerings…check them out: