PREVIEW: Stone 16th Anniversary IPA
From the Stone press release:
Yet another year has passed, and Stone Brewing Co. is yet another year older — 16 to be exact. And what a better way to celebrate the company’s sweet 16 than with the release of a not-so-sweet beer and a two-day festival? Today, Stone is releasing Stone 16th Anniversary IPA, a pale amber colored IPA with a variety of unique hops that give the beer a bitter and citrusy finish. Stone’s birthday bash, the Stone 16th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival, is August 17 and 18 at the California State University San Marcos grounds.
“Each year, we strive to create a uniquely tasty and hoppy beer that allows us to use an assortment of ingredients, and the Stone 16th Anniversary IPA is certainly a testament to our brewing team’s goals,” says brewmaster Mitch Steele. “We used a variety of malts and hops to create an intense and bitter IPA perfect for long summer nights.”
IBU: 85 ABV: 10% Hops: Magnum for bittering, Delta and Target in the whirlpool, Calypso and Amarillo in the dry hop Malts: Pale, Rye, Vienna, Light Munich, and Dark Munich
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning August 13. You’ll find this beer in: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA
Appearance: Fluffy pearl head and a soft golden-amber body
Aroma: Stone usually has unabashedly aggressive hoppy and bitter behemoths. As I opened this bottle and poured the first sample, I was surprised to smell the citrusy notes taking the forefront. Yes, to some beer drinkers, aromatic hop-forwardness can be perceived as bitter, but this beer is well-balanced in the aroma realm.
Flavor: Something I’ve come to appreciate in West Coast IPAs is the ever-present crisp malt body. The grains set a clean stage for the hops and adjuncts to perform for my palette. I admit, I still struggle when trying to point out specific flavor attributes to each hop, but with this beer, I taste fruity notes, ranging from citrus to more delicate apple. I don’t find myself thinking of floral or woody tones.
Mouthfeel: Stone 16th Anniversary is smooth across the tongue. Some higher ABV beers, especially IPAs, are stuck battling either a thin, alcoholic body, or a malty, bitter duo. This beer is refreshing, not leaving a resinous hoppy aftertaste on my tastebuds.
Overall: I’ll often think of which foods I would pair with an IPA, immediately after the first sip. Usually, I find myself matching a hoppy beer with a spicy Thai dish. With Stone 16th Anniversary IPA, I think the more delicate, tropical aspects of Caribbean cuisine would pair best. Since becoming a vegetarian nearly four years ago, I haven’t had Jamaican foods. However, five or so years ago, I was last at The Whistling Bird, a famous (and sadly closed in late 2009) Jamaican restaurant up North in my home region of the Iron Range. When the movie North Country was filming up there, South African actress Charlize Theron raved of the venue. After sampling this beer, I believe that even though I can’t bring to mind vegetarian examples of the cuisine, other than fried plantains and sweet potato fries, I do truly believe this beer would be a stunning complement to a dish with coconut, mango, and fresh sea fare. I’m really sad to think that it’s only a one-and-done. I appreciate the addition of citrusy elements (both the lemon verbena and actual lemon oil). I would venture to guess these additional components will help to prolong the citrusy, fruity presence in this beer, though I would hate to see someone test how long it would age.
Thanks to Sabrina LoPiccolo of Stone Brewing for providing this sample.