If one peruses this blog (and I hope one does) one may notice that I have an unabashed love for all things malt. Dark, syrupy, inky stouts and porters are my forté. While many beer enthusiasts consider such dark fare to be “winter beers,” I enjoy them all year round. That being said, i’m also “hip to hops.” I enjoy a bitter, hoppy brew as much as the next guy. That’s why this week, I’ve searched out a hip, hoppy beer to review. Luckily, Stone Brewing had me covered.
While my earliest wanderings in the world that is Craft Beer had me avoiding hoppy beers like the plague, years later I find myself seeking out the hoppiest beers I can find. One of those that I was most impressed with is Stone Brewing’s IPA. First off, their labeling is just COOL – painted on graphics give their bottles a “cool” factor that most labels lack.
It pours a gorgeous orange/gold that one could mistake for honey, a really gorgeous hue. The aroma of pine, citrus, pine, hops, and … uh … PINE. Seriously, I thought I was in a damned pine forest by the time the bottle cap hit the counter. The aroma of this beer would make a frasier fir Christmas tree blush. The head was a generous 2 fingers deep when first poured (the photo above is after a sip or two, I couldn’t contain myself) and left some lovely, glorious lacing as I imbibed. The first sip punches you in the taste buds with a ubiquitous tsunami of citrus and pine, which was well balanced with a caramel maltiness finished with a just a tad of heat. A moderate amount of carbonation gives way to a smoothness that is not unlike the slickness of an infant’s backside. Seriously, has to be one of the smoothest liquids I have ever had the joy of quaffing. A perfect rating of 100 at ratebeer.com may very well convince you that I am not making this up … it’s truly a great beer.
All in all, one of the best (if not THE best) IPAs I have ever had to revel in. If you’re a hop head, give it a go.