I 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.