Straight outta San Diego, the folks at Stone Brewing have released a time sensitive special release. Not content to simply inscribe their beer with a "best-by" or "born-on" date, they have entitled their latest release with the very date it needs to be consumed before. Produced in several iterations, this is the most recent. This beer is meant to be consumed while youthful, as the extremely hoppy character it showcases is best appreciated while as fresh as possible.
Stone Brewing has made their reputation on powerful, hop-driven West Coast IPA's, and I daresay, has been one of the breweries at the forefront of driving the popularity and notoriety of the style. I bought this bottle three days ago, just as soon as it hit our shelves, and was able to make a little time in my crazy schedule to drink it tonight and do a quickie review. The bottle I purchased was stamped with a bottling date of 4/12/13, which means it made its way across the country and into my hands in about a week.
It arrived in a 22oz bottle for $7.49, and has an ABV of 9.4%. It pours a clear pale gold with hints of orange highlights and tops with a creamy white head that rapidly diminishes, leaving substantial lacing. The nose is like a juicy pink, freshly sliced grapefruit. On the palate I get big, big bitterness: grapefruit again, but more the pith than the fruit, some freshly mowed grass notes, pine, a hint of the high-octane marijuana that the kids smoke nowadays, and white pepper. There is just the tiniest, almost imperceptible sweetness of malt at the finish, but you really have to listen for it. Medium bodied, and immensely drinkable, it has a clean, drying effect on the palate that makes you want to take another sip. Be careful, though. The substantial alcohol puts this in the "buckle your seatbelt" category.
While I'm not the biggest fan of IPA's, I can recommend this beer, and it definitely exemplifies the style. It also showcases what a difference a couple of days make.