Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Microbrew Review of Stone Brewing Company's IPA

Picked this one up this evening at my local mix and match six pack shop. I'll admit having sampled Stone IPA previously, but only now am I finally getting to the down and dirty of reviewing this craft beer.

For those of you who don't know, Stone Brewing Company is a wonderful brewery based in Escondido, San Diego County, California. This is a storied brewery with a history of producing many aggressive beers and microbrews since its inception (maybe the most famous and memorable being the Arrogant Bastard Ale).

First off, the brown bottle presentation is beautiful. An ominous, croutching gargoyle is menacingly painted on as the label. I'm not sure what it is about a painted label on a bottle, but I love them as opposed to the old pasted on paper label. It just gives a more painstaking, handcrafted feel to it I guess. There is no brewed on or best by date however, one of the downfalls to the painted label I would say.

Pouring my Stone IPA into a standard 10 ounce glass beer mug, the beer pours a bright, goldenrod orange with a subtle haze and many, many energetic bubbles abound everywhere. A respectable 1 1/2 finger billowy head graces the surface for a few minutes but settles down with little coaxing.

Aroma screams grapefruit and floral. A little bit of spiciness gives a zest to the beer and orange hints just graze in on the fringe. Kinda interesting. I'm a little surprised at the haziness, but not deterred in the slightest.

Sipping my way casually down the mug, this is a quite refreshing beer. Hoppy, citrusy and alive. It goes down smooth with no bit or choke to it. Easy mouthful and a fairly crisp and clean finish with very minor coating or aftertaste. I like it alot folks and I'm not afraid to say it. Halfway through the serving, this craft beer is lacing all the way still up to the top of the mug. It's a spiderweb of lace all the way down to the orangey liquid level.

I'll be the first to admit this is a quick review, but one I stand behind wholeheartedly. Stone Brewing Company IPA is a great craft beer and one I'd love to have stocked in my fridge anytime, all year round. It's hoppy, citrusy and extremely refreshing, especially on a warm summer day. This is one of the most consistently produced microbrews I've had in all my years. I've sampled quite a few of these Stone Brewing IPA's and quite honestly have never had one that disappointed me. I can't tell if the one I'm drinking is a few weeks young or a year old but they've always tasted, smelled and looked great to me. You just can't go wrong with this microbrew.

I will tell you that although Stone Brewing Company's IPA is very delicious and very easy drinking, the alcohol by volume rating on this one is 6.9% which doesn't make it easy to imbibe more than maybe 3 at a sitting. I don't know that I'd classify Stone IPA as a "session" beer per se being it's a little stronger than I'd like to serve that purpose.

Synopsis: go out an pick yourself up a six pack of Stone Brewing Company's IPA if you live in an area where you can. You won't be disappointed, especially if you're a microbrew hophead and enjoy the bitter style beers. I'd give this one a 7.75 out of 10.00 rating and am going for a second bottle right now. I'd love to try this one fresh sometime on tap at the brewery. That would be the bomb. Can Stone Brewing Company do anything wrong? Will see next time when we review Stone Brewing Company's famed Arrogant Bastard..."Are you worthy?"

You can check out more reviews of new microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review or My Squidoo Lens. Check out Summer Microbrew too!

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