I had a very fresh version of Great Divide 17th Anniversary last year and the beer was almost too “oaky” for my liking. With a little age on the 18th Anniversary, I found that the oak had calmed down a bit and from my perspective, this beer tastes better with a little age. I understand that the hop bitterness and aroma with fall out and the beer will be closer to a barley wine - I am fine with this for 18th and I very much enjoyed it.
The Stone 16th Anniversary IPA is unique and I have never had anything like it before. Stone uses Amarillo and Calypso hops with the addition of lemon verbena and lemon oil and you can tasted the ctirusy, lemony focus of this beer. It is very good and Stone has been producing some very good double / imperial IPAs. The Ruination 10th Anniversary IPA was fantastic and one of the best of the year.
Both of these beers were very good and I would drink them again. I think the a brewery’s anniversary ale should be something special and Stone and Great Divide provide excellent examples of some special with these beers.
Double / Imperial IPA - http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/140 - BeerAdvocate
Great Divide - http://greatdivide.com/beer/seasonal/18th-anniversary-wood-aged-double-ipa/
Stone - http://www.stonebrew.com/anniv/ale/