Recap of the juxtaposition collaboration between Cambridge Brewing, Stone and Brew Dog

On Friday afternoon, when all I can think about is the weekend — the following email arrives in my inbox:

We can finally share all the pertinent info on this till-now double secret event. This Saturday at precisely 7pm we will be tapping two kegs of Juxtaposition, an “imperial” black pilsner collaboratively brewed last March by Stone Brewing Company, BrewDog, and CBC. Even cooler, our brethren at Stone will tap their kegs at exactly the same time (4pm Pacific)! In all likelihood you will never see this beer available on tap beyond this event, and bottles will be hard to find. Hot damn!

Not enough you say? Well even cooler than that, in honor of the collaborative spirit we’ll be tapping two kegs of extra-special beer from each of our cohorts at 6pm. We’re psyched to be showcasing Stone 080808 Vertical Epic which has been specially aged in wine barrels, plus 2007 Stone Imperial Russian Stout. From our friends across the pond at Brewdog we’ll have a keg of Dogma, plus a cask of Paradox Imperial Stout aged in whiskey barrels from the Isle of Arran distillery. These beers are hard enough to find on their own, and we’ve got ’em. If you’ve been to CBC you can appreciate the fact that guest beers are an anomaly to say the least, so this event will be something not to be missed.

……Will Meyers, Brewmaster CBC

I was excited. Not only was this the weekend of my 5 year anniversary, but we did not have any firm plans for Saturday night. Could it be fate? Naaaa – maybe just some luck.

I made a few calls in attempt to round the troops and most everyone was busy — except our good friends George and Kat. On Saturday, we ventured into the city at about 5:00. We planned ahead and brought along some yummy subs for the ride.

Upon our arrival at the Cambridge brewing company, we were surprised to see the light crowd. The bar was almost full, but the exterior seats around the perimeter were empty. We grabbed a place and chatted with a few friends.

At 6:00, the Brewdog Cask Paradox (Isle of Arran), Imperial Stout aged in Scotch whiskey barrels from Isle of Arra (10% abv) from Scotland,  was “released” — well, made available for consumption. It was nice and dark with a large creamy head. The temperature was just right (slightly warm). It was very complex in taste with a mouthful of burnt malts and chocolate, but dominated by the alcohol presence. As you drank more and more, it warmed you from the inside out.

Also available on draft, Stone 2007 Russian Imperial Stout (10% abv), Stone 2008 W.B.A Old Guardian – Barleywine (12.5% abv), and Brewdog Dogma – Strong Scottish Amber Ale (7.8% abv). Guest beers are not a common place for CBC, so this was a very unique night.  As you could image, the Dogma was the most drinkable beer.  Amber in color and very smooth.  Delicious.

At 7:15, Synchronized Toast to Craft, Integrity, and to the Collaborative Spirit (Cambridge Brewing Co. – Stone World Bistro and Gardens). Mitch Steel and the folks celebrating at Stone Brewing Company in California called. A countdown from 10 began and the Juxtaposition celebration began. The bar area was pretty crowded at this point. Will gave a quick speech and thanked everyone for attending the release. He also expressed his joy for this partnership with Stone Brewing Company.

Commercial description:

The Juxtaposition was coined the “worlds best” (and only) Imperial Black Pilsner, collaboratively brewed in March 2009. Stone’s first lager, and one of the hoppiest beers they’ve ever made, it begins very rich on the palate with full maltiness and hints of cocoa and caramel and a firm bitter finish. As it warms, hops take over the palate and contribute a very balanced dryness and complex hop flavors and aroma. A one-night-only event, you will likely never seen Juxtaposition on tap again, and bottles are guaranteed to be hard to find.

The Juxtaposition was dark and had a medium size head.   We were surprised by the initial taste.  Amber’s exact words were “It tastes like Christmas morning!”  Our friend Allister agreed and George added that it tasted like blue spruce.  As dark as it was, you would expect it to be full of burnt and roasted malts dominating the taste, but the hops were so dominant — and interesting.   As you would expect, the alcohol presence was very warming.    We were glad to be part of this experience.

Brewers: James Watt of BrewDog, Scottland, Will Meyers of Cambridge Brewing Co., Massachusetts, Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Co., San Diego

Alc/Vol: 10%

Style: Black Pilsner (and at 10% abv, one might be tempted to call it a Double Black Pilsner)

Other notable items:

  • First lager ever brewed at stone.
  • A Bohemian lager was used.
  • First time using Japanese Sorachi Ace hops and Motueka hops from New Zealand (there are no American hops in this beer).
  • First time both mash-hopping and mash-wort hopping a brew.
  • First time using more than two kettle hop additions (there were 9 hop additions throughout the wort boiling process).

All in all, only 12 kegs of this beer were ever produced, and 6 kegs were used for the special release party..


Also on draft was the seasonal beer named Cerise Cassée – Barrel-fermented Sour Wild Ale.  It was soooo tasty.  I really enjoyed the sourness and how smooth it was to drink.

Cerise Cassée is a complex beer in both process and palate.  It begins with a unique, 3-day long sour mash of 100% of the malted barley. This very tart wort is barrel-fermented and aged along with 300 pounds of sour cherries when sent downstairs to the infamous CBC barrel cellar, where it ages for several years in French oak wine barrels.

Throughout this mysterious process a long, slow fermentation takes place with microflora such as Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. Don’t let those things scare you, though, because these barrels and wild beasties of beer contribute a smooth acidity and significant complexity which could otherwise not be attained by “traditional” modern brewing methods.

In the U.S. craft brewing world’s first true Solera-style fermenting and aging program, a portion of each of the Solera barrels (the oldest barrels, which contain a blend of between one and six year old beer) is blended for service annually. Beer from the Criadera (literal trans. – the nursery -barrels containing one year old beer) is blended into the Solera, and the year’s fresh production of new wort and cherries are sent down into the Criadera to begin the process anew.

The resulting tart, effervescent amber-red ale combines aromas and flavors of sour cherries, malt, vanilla and oak tannin, with a finish that defies description in its funky-yet-balanced uniqueness. OG:1.075 FG:1.010 ABV:8.5%

If you have not made it to the CBC to try the Cerise Cassée, you really need to stop in for a pint.  This is not your typical beer.  Expect it to be very sour.  If you can’t handle sour – it’s not for you!!



Drink Craft Beer, You’ve Earned It!!!

Juxtaposition 2009 Stone 2007 Rusian Imperial Stout
Amber with the Porter Cake George with the Cask
Kat, Mike from Stone, Sean, Amber and Allister George, Kat, Amber, and Sean
Toast Toast 2
CBC Moziac Sean and Allister
Cerise Cassée Empty
  • sean

    So, what exactly makes Juxtaposition a pilsner *at all*? It sounds more like a lagered barleywine.

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