It's that time again--those who gazed wistfully out to sea from our western shores finally have their patience rewarded: the great Stone ship has steamed into port carrying delicious gifts from the new world! Sadly, the ship was a little smaller this time carrying with it just a few beauties from their extensive range. Yet, we've happened to get our beery talons on Stone IPA and Stone Ruination IPA. Deeeelicious.
Routinely rated as one of the best IPAs in the world, Stone IPA is also rated as one of my favorites. I love how refreshing and crisp it is thanks to all of the gorgeous hops and two weeks of dry-hopping. If there's anything that Stone knows how to do better than others, it's playing with hops. American hops are the star of this IPA's show with its notes of citrus, grapefruit, and pine. Just beautiful.
When I'm looking for a good kick to the face (or am wanting to finish a good session off right!) I turn to the Big Daddy--Stone Ruination IPA. 8.2% and a big, bold palate-wrecker, this beer is not for those who are looking for something easy to drink. It is brutally bitter. Yet, despite that apocalyptic description, there is actually a bit of finesse that is evident with regards to the use of hops. Intense notes of juicy citrus, resin and pine are backed-up by a good bit of maltiness. I just love this "liquid poem to the...hop."
I would be disappointed that some of my favorites--the Cali-Belgique and the Smoked Porter (to name a couple)--hadn't arrived if it weren't for the fact that Stone Brewing Co. is opening up a massive Berlin-based brewery this year with brewing scheduled to commence in late-2015. This brewery complex will not only feature a restaurant, gardens and shop it will also improve distribution throughout Europe of all of our favorite Stone year-round beers AND special releases. This means us!
I can't tell you the number of times I've come back from a trip home to the States with my suitcase clinking full of the latest Stone Enjoy-By or a special release. Think of all the clothes I don't have to leave behind or the baggage fees I don't have to pay now that those of us who are loyal to Stone over here in Europe are better served by distribution! Yeah!
So, good Stone-ship watchers of the UK: hopefully this biannual arrival from the West will be replaced soon with regular transport from the land of the Reinheitsgebot. Until then, dear beer drinkers--wet your whistle with what we've got. It'll tide you over, I promise.