Cellaring beer has been around since the invention of beer. Storing it for the year was a requirement, with no refrigeration and a growing season that wasn’t all-year-round for most of the places beer as we know it was brewed, cellaring beer was the norm. It had to taste good now, and it had to taste good later when it was pulled. Belgians are the undisputed King of making this work – the Belgian monks continue this tradition and their system of casking beers or bottle and wire cages is still in use today on almost everything worth drinking. I personally have a growler brewed last year of my Mad Elf clone, and I plan on brewing it again this year and drinking it at exactly the one year mark.
Some beers are only sold aged. Orval is at minimum one year old, most belgians have yeast which makes crazy tastes and if you drank them fresh, it would melt your face (or at least not be delicious). Some people cellar these more to further change the flavor profiles, and some beers just die when you do this. Dogfish, for instance, isn’t supposed to be aged. It’s a really good beer, but it falls apart if you cellar it. It comes out of the fermenter ready to drink.
Stone, on the other hand, makes beers which stick to tradition. Not only are they supposed to be aged, but they also should be served from the cask with a beer engine. IF anyone knows how to build one, I want to know. I love stone.