Nick Carr on March 30, 2015 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Stone Brewing Location: Escondido, CA Style: American IPA ABV: 7.7% IBU: 80 Hops: Lemondrop, Calypso & El Dorado Appearance: Pours Deep Gold With Starkly White Head Aroma: Light & Lemon with Grassy Notes Flavor: Tropical Fruitiness With a Kick; Noticeable Notes of Lemon; Slight Maltiness Before the Swallow; Finishes Crisp, Bitter & Citrusy Availability: Limited Pairs With: Roasted Chicken, Huevos Rancheros, sharp cheddar, Lemon soufflé, It’s no secret that arrogance abounds over at Stone Brewing Company, so it is no surprise that they would be so bold as to name their newest beer simply, Delicious IPA. There is no doubt, Stone works hard at their persona of arrogance, putting just about as much time into marketing there haughtiness as they do the quality of their beer; each bottle label extorting just how utterly fantastic the beer inside is. So far, they haven’t been wrong. Their track record of quality beer speaks volumes, thus Arrogance is fed, burped, and cuddled… and allowed to rightfully grow. Much like Sierra Nevada, Stone has an ongoing love affair with the IPA. Ruination is still one of my all-time favorites (get it while you can. This is the last year they will be brewing it), and like Sierra Nevada they continually experiment, trying new hops and new hop combinations. Of their eight year-round releases four are IPA’s and there are nine or ten more spread throughout Stone’s other lines. Their latest foray into the (seemingly) endless waters of IPA-dom is a beer that uses the newly cultivated hop variant called Lemondrop; along with relative newcomers El Dorado and Calypso. All of these hops have a fruit character that is quite unique. El Dorado hops are known for lemon citrus and apricot notes; Calypso hops bring pear and apple; Lemondrop… well, the name says it all. “Arrogance did bred a beer of lemony sprawl, a summer glass to be enjoyed by all.” So, let’s see… So far we have a beer using some new hops. Cool, but nothing that’s not continually being explored by many brewing companies. But Stone Brewing, wearing their arrogance proudly, went a step further and decided to make not only a new IPA, but their first gluten reduced beer. They do this the same way that Widmer Brother’s does with their Omission series of gluten reduced beer; by using an enzyme that basically cuts gluten into pieces so small that the body does not recognize them as such anymore. Now it’s called “gluten reduced” because they can’t actually claim “gluten free” on anything made from ingredients containing gluten (i.e. barely), but if you have an intolerance to gluten you should consider giving Delicious IPA and others like it a try. Never being able to drink a good beer again may not be an issue anymore. Though, I would caution those that have full blown celiac disease to go with caution, even here. Incidentally, if you or someone you know is gluten intolerant and you want to have a go at brewing your own gluten reduced beer the enzyme is available through White Labs as Clarity Frem. An added bonus, and what it actually was first developed for; it’s a clarifying agent. Pour and Aroma Pours a deep resiny golden hue; like fresh pine sap pooling under a tree wound. It’s very clear, with excited carbonation feeding a respectable inch high soft-soap, starkly white head. The head drops but never gives up. Aroma is pretty light. Lemon (almost like lemon balm), some grassy notes, with an herbal quality in the background. Mouthfeel and Taste A medium-light body pushed by medium carbonation. It is mouthcoating throughout, bitter and drying in the finish. Taste is very tropical fruit juicy with a bitter kick. Lemony characteristics take center stage here. Lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon candy; all variations on the yellow citrus seem to make themselves known. On the first swallow I got a big hit of pineapple (something that would not repeat through the rest of the beer), though lighter touches of pineapple and other tropical fruit are noticeable. Some slight caramel and grainy malt pop before the drop at the back. A nice, but not overwhelming bitter kick at the rear and through the swallow leads into an aftertaste of bitter lemon and resin. Finishing the Impression I tend to like the English IPA’s a little more than the American, guess I’m drawn to the earthy, dank, herbal tones of the European hops. But Delicious IPA from Stone Brewing is… well, delicious. I’ve never experienced so much lemon in an IPA and find I like it more than some of the other citrus and floral characteristics that usually define the American IPA. I reviewed the Omission pale ale last year and it was by far the best gluten reduced beer I’d ever had, but I do have to say this one takes over that spot. It’s a great light-tasting refreshing summer IPA with a unique profile. Cheers!