Another day in Jamaica. Whoop, whoop! No fancy intro today, as Jay R. the guest reviewer, has a lot to say today! Take it away, Jay…
Welcome to another Review by myself, JayR The GR. Some of you may remember me from my review of the Foolproof Backyahd IPA I did this spring.
Before I get into the review, let me tell you a bit about myself. In going through the Backyahd review, I discovered I neglected to do that. I have been a craft beer fan for over 15 years now, starting with the craft bubble in the mid 90s, I watched that boom implode on itself, caused by too many companies started to cash in on the wave, not love of the product. I’m hoping that we won’t see that in this bubble, but I’m not holding my breath. Since then, I’ve been to more beer fests and tastings than I can count, from the bi-annual NERAX cask fest to the Beer Advocate fests and Beervana Fest in Providence, as well as local and store tasting to numerous to recall. I may have talked to you in those of you were there, but after a lot of samples of 8% – 10% plus beers, things get a little fuzzy. I am also a home brewer, and this year have been growing my own hops, mostly to use in those brews. However, I seem to have missed one detail. How to harvest the hops from the top of a 12 – foot high trellis. Ugh. I need a beer.
Which brings us to the selection for this review, Stone Brewing Company’s Enjoy By 09/13/13 Double IPA. Unless you’ve been under a rock the past several years, you probably know that Stone is one of the older craft brewers out there, having started as a company in 1996, in San Marcos, California. They’ve been growing by leaps and bounds since them, and in 2006, opened their Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens, easily the prettiest brewery that side of Ommegang. They also were on the forefront of bringing attitude to brewing, with their now instantly recognizable gargoyle logo, and beer names like Arrogant Bastard, Ruination and Sublimely Self Righteous.
They are also hardcore believers that beer should be fresh. It is well known in the beer geek forums that there is a small subset of craft beer fans that are incredibly fastidious about their IPA, Known as Hoponius Snobius, this creature believes that once an IPA spends more than a few minutes in packaging, it’s not worthy to drink, all the hop flavors and aromas having faded out, and the beer is only worthy to be poured down the drain. IPAs, to this species, must be consumed directly from the bright tanks.
This is their beer.
The Enjoy-By series is a beer that says right on the label when it is best consumed by. No need to hunt on bottles or packaging for tiny date codes, and trying to decipher them by using long extinct decoder rings. They’ve brewed this beer 8 times now, having been originally destined to be a onetime thing, the demand was so great, they’ve done it time and again.
Clocking in at 9.4% ABV, with an enormous amount of IBUs, this is not a beer for the faint hearted. Opening the bottle on 09/05, I didn’t even have to begin pouring this before I was hit by waves of super fresh hop aromas. Pouring it out into my trusty Portsmouth Brewery tulip glass, I see it as a hazy, medium orange color, with a light, off white head that does fade off fairly quickly, leaving a nice pattern of sticky lacing behind. It appears to be unfiltered, so it doesn’t have the crystal-clarity of many beers. I prefer this in my IPAs, I think it gives a better hop flavor and aroma. And what an aroma it is! Wave after wave of aromas, following the ranges of piney, fruity citrus hops smells.
Taking a sip is the same way. Where many of their beers, including the Ruination Double IPA, show a distinct malt backbone behind the hoppiness, this beer is all about the hops. Lots of citrusy flavors abound, with piney-earthy waves just behind. There is nothing subtle about this. Using 8 different varieties of hop gives a blend of flavors that is difficult to describe.
I absolutely recommend this beer, though hurry, as it says, you’ve got another week of this beer at its best. Stone distributes each of the Enjoy By series to different areas, besides its home base of Southern California, so once this 09-13-13 is gone, we may not see another of the series in the Northeast for a while.
Thanks again to Josh and LIBA crew for allowing me to provide a guest review again.
– Jay R the GR.
– In Cervesia Felicias (In Beer there is Joy)