An early Valentine.

So there I was earlier this afternoon thinking about what interesting beer I might sip as I watched tonight’s VillanovaRutgers game (with its terrible although incredibly exciting ending) and realizing that the drastically depleted beer closet (it snows a lot, I stay in a lot, I drink a lot) had nothing that fit the bill. Then the doorbell rang, UPS calling, and there appeared on my doorstep (among other goodies) the bottle you see to the right.

Highway 78 Scotch Ale, a collaboration between Stone Brewing, Pizza Port Carlsbad & Green Flash (talk about your combination of brewing royalty) will not even be officially released until Valentine’s Day, but here it was.  It’s like the Stone PR folks were reading my mind several days in advance (a scary concept, admittedly, but when it results in beer, I can handle it).

Highway 78 is named for the highway that connects the three San Diego breweries involved and was a  co-brew between Mitch Steele (Stone),  Jeff Bagby (Pizza Port) and Chuck Silva (Green Flash).  It is  “a less-than-traditional 8.8% Scotch Ale and was brewed and bottled at Stone (the brewery’s first Scotch Ale).

This one is marvelous (granted it plays into my wheelhouse, concentrating, as such ales should, on the malt rather than the hops), rich and tasty and sweet, with minimal carbonation. As Bagby writes on the typically almost unreadable Stone bottle label (especially for these ancient eyes), “You won’t find any bells or whistles. No crazy ingredients or strong techniques. Just a straight up big ale. ”

Just as you would, I double checked after I read that and, yes, it really is a Stone/Pizza Port/Green Flash product. It’s not clear if it will be coming to Pennsylvania or not (I’d assume so, since I was sent the sample) Highway 78 will reach the Philadelphia market within the next month in limited quantities (see Comments). If you find it, it’s worth a ride.

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