Stone Brewing India Pale AleI needed a bit of a change from the sweeter Belgian styles tonight, not to mention a smaller bottle that wasn’t quite so high in alcohol, so I grabbed a bottle of Stone IPA that I recently picked up to taste.  I feel that I should add a caveat to this post that I’m a relative newcomer to liking IPAs, and I started by drinking some of the best.  Since then, I’ve been trying to find something a bit more affordable that can still fill my occasional need for a beer on the light and dry side.  Unfortunately, starting with the best has made me pretty picky.

The beer pours with a nice white head that dissipates after a minute or so.  It smells lightly of caramel malt flavor along with what I can only guess is the Centennial hops (I just haven’t had enough exposure to hop varieties to distinguish them — but it’s the only particularly aromatic variety listed on their website).

The flavor is a fairly straightforward american style IPA.  It does’t try to be a particularly complex beer, and it does a decent job.  I taste mostly malt, but with a decent amount of barley flavor coming through and only a hint of the caramel promised in the aroma.  The flavor finishes with barley and caramel, along with the bitterness you expect out of the style.  If I had a critique it would be that the bitter lingers just a little bit too long.

  • Would I buy this beer again?  Probably not.
  • Would I pay restaurant prices for this beer?  Not really.

I have to add a caveat to my review.  I live in one of the best regions of the world for IPAs.  Stone’s beer is actually pretty good, but it’s no better than a variety of local beers that I have at my fingertips and given the choice I almost always choose the local beer.  Thankfully, I don’t taste any floral aspects of the hops (unlike New Belgium’s Ranger, one of my least favorites), so I would still recommend this to anyone in other parts of the world, and certainly if you live down by Stone Brew itself.