Posts Tagged With: Stone Go To IPA

Everybody Must Get Stone(d)

With compliments to Bob Dylan, I have to say that every beer fan should sample Stone Brewery ales (sample=guzzle). The classics are the big IPAs like Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA and Stone Ruination IPA. One has to respect beers with Attitude that can back up their swagger.
Josh Matt, their Upper New England Regional Brewery Rep, came to the Growler & Gill on July 3 to present the latest and greatest, and in fact bypassed the established big guns to present newer and less known items.
Stone-Go-To-IPA-6-PackOnlyHe led off with the new (March 2014) Stone Go To IPA. This is a wakeup call to those–like me–who associate Stone with high alcohol, high hop IPA, keeping the hops but relaxing the alcohol to produce a session IPA. They tout a “hop bursting’ technique which blasts in hops at the end of the brewing process, yielding 65 IBUs. Josh told us that there are 11 different kinds of hops, producing great complexity; I found citrus and pine and herbs and everything. It’s also very fresh, perhaps ideal for hot weather as well as a “more the merrier” approach to the number of brews per unit session. I have to say that the first time I tried this, some months ago, I found it a bit too light and less complex; I wonder if the recipe has been tweaked since March. Perhaps I was just in a heavy-hitter mood that time, or conceivably a bottle that wasn’t up to snuff, or up to hops.
For those who complain that Stone only makes heavily hopped (as well as high alcohol) brews, Stone Saison is an answer. It’s even newer than the Go To, debuting in April. Mind you, this still delivers 45 IBUs at 6% ABV,so it’s no lightweight, it’s a solid farmhouse ale delivering citrus and herbs. I found it very smooth and slightly fruity.
EnjoyBy_070414_bottleNext was Stone Enjoy By 07.04.14, an emphemeral beer and you’re already too late for it! This Double IPA deliberately does not last and whacks you over the head with its expiration date, five weeks after its “bottled on” date. I found this to be nice and piney, even a little light, and “light” isn’t an adjective that I associate with a Double IPA. I attribute this to the sheer freshness of the ale, a stylistic thing rather than implying that their other ales stay on the shelf too long, I think they move out promptly! I had already had the April version, and Josh mentioned that this is the same recipe and that it’s not the normal habit to repeat the recipe. Naturally I grabbed a bomber on the way out to enjoy the next day, slipping in under the wire. With more time and more quantity, I pick up a nice shot of orange in the hops in the nose. The next edition will be Enjoy By 08.16.14 and will be bottled two days from now . . . but it won’t taste the same!
2014_Ruinten_web_smallI mentioned the heavily hopped, high alcohol IPAs? The next was Stone Ruin Ten IPA, the Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA. This is the third annual release celebrating the ability to ruin palettes everywhere. This strikes hard at 110 IBUs and 10.8% ABV. If that was a session beer, it would be for a very short session! Speaking of fresh, this beer was released less than a month ago. The nose hits with heavy hops but with a surprising bready note, and somehow a hint like cinnamon. My palette is tough enough to handle this, finding rich, piney hops and a complex, mouth-filling brew. After a few gulps a malt core emerges and also a nice caramel. I really didn’t get this with just an ounce or two tasting, but it became clear as I worked on a full glass. Sometimes a tasting registers as “complex” without all the details.
2014_StchPrjct_Quadro_BottleIf I wanted a complex, mouth-filling brew–and I love them–the final entry in the tasting is one that you can practically chew: Stone Stochasticity Project Quadrotriticale. [Hmm…do you think there are any Star Trek fans in Stone’s house?] Stone has visited Belgium and conquered the place. As you might gather from the name, this is a Quad, delivering 9.3% ABV and 40 IBUs, hoppier than the Trappist version. It’s super malty with a lot of yeast and only a hint of the classic dried fruit sweetness. There was something spicey going on that I couldn’t quite place, and John told me that this comes from rye as well as the triticale. By the way, Josh gave us a challenge to pronounce the name, and I failed miserably, showing that my brief fling as a physics major did not take.
All in all, a most satisfactory tasting which did require a taste for hops, though much less so than expected from Stone, especially the Saison. I also have to say that the richness of the malt muted the hops of the Quadrotriticale making it approachable for anyone who loves a Belgian. @StoneBrewingCo
I followed up the tasting, crossing the continent from San Diego to Maryland, going to a Flying Dog Single Hop Double IPA. I confess that I don’t know which one; I think they ran out of room on the blackboard and I didn’t know to ask. I could claim that this was because of the 10% ABV, but the reality is simple ignorance. My palette is not yet educated enough to distinguish among Citra, Amarillo, and El Dorado hops. In any case, this was super hoppy with a big head fading moderately leaving a coating and a big collar. It gave malt and caramel, starting sweet and turning dry as the herbal hops arrive. Hmm . . . herbal . . . probably not citra. Good stuff. @flyingdog

Images courtesy of Stone Brewing Company
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