A / 4.45
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 4
Style: Belgian-style IPA
Purchased: $8.49 for a 22 ounce bottle at Wine Gourmet in Roanoke, VA
I purchased this bottle skeptical about how well Cali would meld with Belgique, but with a deeply-rooted trust in Stone. The best Belgian ales are powerful and complex yet delicate, a quality American brewers often disregard. Stone, however, can seemingly do it all.
A smell unlike anything I've ever encountered, save a greenhouse, greets me kindheartedly, as if presenting me with a wreath of flowers for my triumph in bringing it home to be released to my senses. It's massively floral, hops blending perfectly with the earthy, fruity, and bubble gum/lemon pound cake sweet yeast aroma. Very suitable for the seasonal warmth and dampness.
The head is modest at first, a finger's worth in a fairly wide snifter. It settles thin and wispy but forms a very fine patch of lacing on the glass. The second (more vigorous) pour produces two fingers, The body is a crystal clear, brilliant golden poppy color, and I was surprised to see it was a filtered beer.
The beer is wet on the palate like morning dew. Earthy, fresh, berry fruit with a touch of lime (think mojitos), blending so well with gentle malt sweetness and again some bubble gum, that it seems the ingredients have aged together for centuries. Alas, being filtered I'm not sure how long you could age it. This is unfortunate as my only real gripe with the flavor is that it's maybe a bit too bitter for that Belgian yeast delicacy. It grows on you though.
Hops and spice coat my mouth, pleasant for me but not for all. Definitely an IPA sharpness to it. Trademark Stone.
Not really a session ale, but not supposed to be. I could see drinking a couple because it's so good, but for most, one will satisfy, if not sit heavy.