Tried and truly hoppy

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First Posted: 6/2/2014

Beer: Stone IPA

Brewer: Stone Brewing Co.

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.90%

Description: Stone IPA pours a light clear golden color with a frothy white head that hangs around, leaving behind a wonderful lacing on the glass. The aroma is everything hopheads dream of smelling in IPAs, with strong notes of citrus, grapefruit, pine, and a very subtle earthy/floral hop background mixed in with light sweet malts. The taste follows the nose and is dominated by hops, with citrus again being the most dominant with grapefruit, mango, orange, and some lemon dancing across the palate along with a bit of pine before the malts wash over and scrub the palate clean for an unbelievably clean and dry finish. The medium body and moderate carbonation give this IPA its signature smooth mouthfeel and is a real testament to just how well Stone Brewing Co. brews a perfect IPA.

Food pairing: While Stone IPA is great to drink year-round, it is truly a refreshing summer beer and goes well with a wide variety of barbecue dishes. It’s a dream when paired with spicier foods. Try pairing it with Mexican dishes such as tostadas, chimichangas, or huevos rancheros; the bitterness will cut through the cheese, quell the heat from the chillies on your palate, and leave behind the hops to play joyfully with the spices before a clean and dry finish. If you are in the mood for something heftier, try pairing with chicken tikka masala, a creamy and spicy Indian dish; the creamier sauce melts into the malt bill to create a heftier feeling beer on the palate, while the hops and spices mingle with one another and, again, the beer keeps any spiciness from getting out of control and still manages to have a clean, dry finish. Since it is summer, try pairing this beer with your favorite burger, hot dog, steak, pork, or any other dish you can cook on a grill and slather in BBQ sauce and spices!

The final word: Stone Brewing Co. first released this world-class IPA in 1997. While most breweries constantly adjust recipes before and after a beer’s release until they feel it is perfect, Stone has used the original recipe since the initial release. Not only does this showcase the great brewing skills possessed by those at Stone, but also the forward-thinking and “try to catch us if you can” attitude that is also prevalent throughout the brewery. IPAs are certainly all the rage right now, and Stone’s IPA is still leading the pack in that department, but the fact that they had this style dialed in 17 years ago is just amazing. Many IPAs have come and gone since the initial release, yet Stone IPA is still standing. If you are an IPA fan, Stone IPA should be a constant go-to for you. If you are new to the style, reach for one of the IPAs that started this trend!

Rating: W W W W W

Where can I get it? Currently available in 12-ounce bottles at: Arena Bar and Grill, Wilkes-Barre; Backyard Ale House, Scranton; Exit 190 Beer Deli, Dickson City; Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer, Wilkes-Barre; and Wegmans, Dickson City and Wilkes-Barre. Currently available on draft at Exit 190 Beer Deli, Dickson City.

Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!

-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour on 102.3 FM Saturdays at 10 a.m.