As you may have guessed, I enjoy a good IPA. The hop flavor bursts in a strong, bitter flavor and just completely assaults the taste buds in a way that ensures you are not only alive but enjoying something that demonstrates a history of beer making. Hops were used for flavoring but more importantly, they were used for their natural preservative qualities. The fact that they give a strong piney scent to beer is just an added plus to the enjoyment.
When home brewing, I look forward to opening of the hop package because it allows me the ability to breathe in deeply of all that scent. It cascades through the nose and imparts memories of pine forests after a strong rainfall. While this may not be the same experience that you have for hops, there is no denying that the scent is something to be experienced. Flavor and scent do vary depending on the hop variety and this fact is taken fully advantage of by beer makers around the world.
One such brewery doing so and imparting the desire for a great ho-flavor is Stone Brewing Company from California. Aside from their regular offerings, they have devised a series that comes with the desired expiration date incorporated into the label itself. The “Enjoy By —“series is primarily made to ensure hop freshness. This past week the Enjoy By 10-25-13 IPA was sampled. These beers come in a 22oz. bomber bottle. From initial opening, the hop scent is strong with a citrus-pine flavor permeating the air. Color was a nice clear golden color. Carbonation was not overwhelming but spot on for a decent foam head. Taste is light on the malt and very strong citrus, grapefruit flavor with a nice hop-bitter bite on the backside of the tongue. No real alcohol bite but after a glass of this, there is no doubt that the 9.4% abv is indeed present.
While this series has been around for a few years, it may be difficult to find the specific date that was sampled this week. Each date batch will offer a slightly different flavor and depending on the date it is being drank will also allow for some mellowing of the hop flavor.
If you dislike hop-intensive beers or IPA’s in general, steer clear of this. If you are a fellow hop-head, find a bottle before they are gone or just wait until the Enjoy By 11-12-13 is hitting the metro shelves. Better yet, get both.