I’ve been wanting to try Stone IPA from Stone Brewing Company in San Diego for nearly a year, and I finally found it about a week ago…I’m not disappointed! I bought it at the liquor store, but I’m sure you can find it in most stores that carry a lot of interesting beers.
It’s got kind of a neat label and an overly dramatic description on the back. The kind that goes on and on about the “Big-Hop Aroma” and how it moves you to “Rejoice Aloud”. It would be laughable, but the first thing you notice when you crack it open is that the hops actually reach out of the bottle, grab you by the throat, and punch you in the face! The (relatively) high alcohol content (6.9%) helps with that as well.
Unfortunately, I’m currently living in a hotel room, so I can’t show you a proper picture of the beer in a glass. You’ll have to make do with the one I grabbed off of Google.
It’s a not-quite opaque, orangey-yellow color…About par for most IPAs. Once you get it into a suitable glass, take a moment to shove your nose in. Many beers that are so hop-heavy sacrifice a bit on the ever-important flavor balance, but you’ll definitely catch several distinct fruity and floral aromas in this one. If you aren’t a fan of hoppy beers, you’ll make an ugly face at this point.
On to the part you actually care about…The taste! Like I said before, I’m impressed by the balance in this beer. It’s definitely on the hoppy, strong, bitter side of the beer world, but as long as you don’t hate these types of beers, you’ll like this one a lot.
The first thing you’ll notice as it hits your mouth is the hops. Once you let it sit for a moment and finally swallow, you’ll taste a fruity flavor that I can’t quite place. It seems to be an apricot/pear type of flavor, but I can’t say for sure. The typical flowery flavor that most hoppy beers have is also present. The alcohol is hidden well, but not perfectly…Especially after you finish your second or third one.
The only real negative I can come up with is that all of the flavors seem just a bit underpowered for what the beer is trying to do. Almost like they dialed the quantity down a bit so they could get the balance right. This isn’t necessarily bad though, it makes the beer that much easier to session (binge) with.
There are other IPAs and Pale Ales that do a better job of showing off one certain characteristic of hoppy beers, but this one puts them all together very well. I would recommend it to anyone, as long as they like hoppy beers (This isn’t the one to start with if you’ve never tried them). If you want to try it with a meal, I would recommend a somewhat spicy, lighter meat. It would probably overwhelm the flavors of a dark, heavy meal.