Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stone IPA

Stone Brewing Company©
Stone Brewing Company's India Pale Ale is a fine example both of what a true IPA should be and why exactly Stone is among the industry leaders.  IPAs are supposed to be heavily hopped, and as the label quite immodestly states, this beer has "[B]ig hop flavor and big hop aroma."  It's strong and bitter, but with a smoothness and easiness of drinking that belies the hefty 6.9% ABV in this beer.  With a pale, golden appearance and a good head, it's an attractive beer when served from a tap, but it certainly doesn't lose much out of the bottle (plus, out of the tap you don't get to enjoy the Stone Gargoyle!)

For me, the typical measure of how good an IPA is comes from the balance of the hops (massive) and citrus; Stone's is an oddity however, in that there isn't any citrus in it.  In fact, there are exactly four ingredients in this beer:  barley; hops; water; and yeast.  The huge amount of hops, and the truly sharp taste of them in this IPA, means that you taste what feels like citrus, though without the fruitiness that can sometimes come through (I'm looking at you, Harpoon) and can ruin it.  No such concerns here.

I've said previously that Stone is among my favorites, but as good as this beer is, it's got nothing on the Ruination, Arrogant Bastard, and Sublimely Self Righteous Ales; it is, however, a great alternative to the headache inducing genius that are the Dogfish Head 90 and 120 Minute IPAs.  As far as an option that holds up well to both the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter, not to mention the moderate (aka nice) temperatures of the spring and fall, this is a wonderful beer.  Highly recommended!


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