Stone 16th Anniversary IPA
Every year Stone Brewing makes a special limited release beer for their anniversary. Some years it has been an IPA, other years it has been a different type of ale, but each year they try to do something special. This year for their 16th anniversary Stone decided to brew an IPA that featured lemon flavors. From the label:
We’ve been loving creating Collaboration beers with great creative brewers from all over the world these last several years-unique beers that would never have existed without the free-flowing imagination and idea generation of the collaborative process. However, when it comes to the Stone Anniversary Ales, it’s all us. Yet, it is indeed still a collaboration with great creative brewers (if we do say so ourselves). We’re talking about our own brewing team, of course. And while some of our beers, anniversary and otherwise, have been designed by a single person, the Stone 16th Anniversary IPA was definitely a team effort.
This year our brewing team was inspired by some exotic-ish additions of the lemony persuasion. Yes, it’s a Double IPA (can you really say you’re surprised?), but as we strive to do with all our Stone Anniversary Ales of the let’s-take-this-IPA-in-a-new-direction variety, we’ve brewed up a Stone-worthy divergence from tradition. The amount of rye malt we used isn’t quite enough to warrant the appellation “Rye IPA,” but it still adds hints of spiciness that contrast deliciously with the tropical fruit flavors and aromas of the Amarillo and Calypso hops. Add a few European specialty malts, some lemon verbena, and three more hop varieties to the mix, and you have a highly complex brew melding both bitter and fruity hop notes with rich toasted malt character punctuated by nuances of spicy rye and subtle lemon.
16th Anniversary has a fairly large off-white head on top of a copper colored liquid. Lots of citrus and some pine in the nose. The taste up front features lemon as would be expected. as well as the prickly bitterness of the hops. I can’t find any alcohol taste to speak of despite its 10% ABV. Some herbs blend into the taste as well. The carbonation is high and it has a nice mouthfeel. This IPA leaves the palate dry and the bitterness lingers for a few moments.
Overall, I think this is a good IPA, but not a great one. To me it doesn’t really stand out as something unique, and when I compare it to one of my favorite IPAs, Endeavour, I’d rather have the Endeavour.