Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Stone Enjoy By Black IPA (Review)

Beer Review #84


A few days ago I reviewed Stone Brewing's Imperial Russian Stout (Review #83). Prior to that you have to go all the way back to Arrogant Bastard (Review #47) to find my last review of a Stone Brewing Co. product.  Founded in 1996, California based Stone has become a major player in the American craft brew world. Perhaps the most interesting facet of their growth is their recent opening of a brewery and restaurant in Berlin, Germany. German beer has influenced American beer for centuries. Our biggest mass-market macro breweries all have German names, while craft brewers produce countless styles of beer with German origins. Even today, with American craft beers exploding in popularity, the idea of all American beer being garbage persists. Needless to say, its an interesting turn of events to have high quality American craft beers being brewed in a country lauded for its brewing traditions. Today I'm tasting a 22oz bottle of Stone Enjoy By Black IPA. The bottle is dated (to drink by) 2/14/16, so this one still has a few weeks of "optimal freshness," though at 9.4% ABV I'm guessing it will still taste quite good for many months, even if the character of the hops does change some.

So, Black IPA. Its a term I've struggled with a bit as a beer drinker with a B.A. in English. How can a beer be both black and pale? It can't be. What people using the term mean to say is that these are dark colored beers that are hop forward like India Pale Ales. With IPA's remaining hugely popular its a pretty clever marketing ploy actually, letting hop-heads know that despite a dark complexion, these beers are very much in the IPA drinker's wheelhouse. Personally, I prefer the term, American Black Ale.

Pour Stone Enjoy By Black IPA into a glass. Its black as any stout porter and if you keep your nose out of the equation and let your eyes do the work that is precisely what you'd think you were holding. But watch the quickly dissipating head of tiny, mostly white, bubbles that seems to snap back at you when the pour stops and you might suspect this beer to be a little different. Close your eyes, put your nose to the glass allowing the fresh grapefruit and pine hop aromas, and a slight fruity malt sweetness to waft over you and your first guess would absolutely be fresh IPA. Let the beer sit in the glass for awhile- mild roasted notes also develop.

The best taste comparison among beer's I've reviewed so far is Southern Tier 2XIBA (Review #71). When I think of IPA's I think of summer, greenery, and daytime sunshine. Enjoy By Black IPA takes that 'cold beer by the pool after mowing the lawn' vibe of the IPA, but shifts it to a summer evening of fireworks, campfires and an night under the stars. Caramel malts compliment grapefruit hops with a slight sweetness spawning tropical fruitiness. Pungent pine notes accentuate hints of roasted chocolate. A little bit of ethanol follows at the back of the throat, with hop bitterness lingering after the swallow.

Musical Pairing: Through An Infinite Dreamscape by Spectral Lore

 Twin Tiers Beer Trail:
-Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club
The Jolly Farmer, Waverly
Bluestone Brewing Company (Sayre)
- Diversion Brewing Co. (Chemung)
River Barge Brewing (Wyalusing)


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