Review: Stone IPA, Tangerine Express, and Wizards & Gargoyles
Three beers from the California icons at Stone Brewing, something old, something new, and something in between.
Stone IPA – Tasted as part of the “Guest Art Series” (seen above), which sees Stone cans emblazoned with the work of beer-friendly artists. This is about as classic and essential as west coast IPA gets, a deft blend of orange oil and piney forest, with notes of bay leaf, lemon peel, and a thick smear of earthy-but-not-quite-muddy underbrush character. The finish is chewy and dense, with hints of the barley in the granary and notes of tobacco and tar. 6.9% abv. A / $12 per six-pack
Stone Tangerine Express Hazy IPA – Originally released in 2017, this beer recently added “Hazy” to its official name, to clarify, well, what it’s always been. The fruit here — the IPA is made with tangerine and pineapple puree — is less overt than you might expect, as the Citra, Centennial, Sterling, Azacca, and Mosaic hops do the heavy lifting. Tempered with sweetness on the front, the earthy, piney character grows increasingly powerful as it heads for its surprisingly punchy, bitter finish. 6.7% abv. A- / $12 per six-pack
Stone Wizards & Gargoyles Hazy Coffee IPA – A collaboration with San Diego’s Modern Times, this IPA takes Citra, Cashmere, Centennial, HBC 685, and HBC 692 hops and mixes them up with, well, coffee, to make a highly unusual hazy. You’d think coffee would dominate but oddly it doesn’t. It gives the nose a certain breakfastlike quality, but the coffee is imbued with a clear pineapple element, as if someone dropped a dash of Kahlua in your pina colada. The theme continues on the palate, though a substantial earthy, bitter quality eventually takes over. And yet… that coffee is always there, confusing the mind with the disconnect between the nose and the tongue. It’s kind of cool that way. 7% abv. A- / $14 per four-pack of 16 oz cans
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