While I planned on posting this review closer to when I actually drank this purposely and extremely fresh double IPA i.e. 12/8/12. I was inspired by Stone Brewing Co. CEO Greg Koch’s “GK vBlog Enjoy(ing) By 12.21.12 IPA Amongst the Ruins of the Maya” video to wait post this review until the date on the bottle. Next, having been lucky to try the first batch of Enjoy By IPA which was dated 9.21.12; it was a given that I would seek out a few bottles of this “apocalyptic” IPA to split (enjoy) with my hophead friends.
Before getting into my thoughts on this beer I must reiterate that its significance to the Mayan predicted apocalypse should not take precedent over the original purpose of this IPA, which was (is) to highlight the importance of craft beer drinkers drinking and stores selling IPAs fresh i.e. before the aroma and flavoring hops begin to fade. (see TBP Podcast Episode 002 for more on this topic).
In true west coast IPA style Enjoy By 12.12.12 IPA poured a straw to light gold color with one finger of off white head, which quickly dissipated to a layer over the top of the beer and left some nice lacing on my Stone taster glass. With just the right amount of visible carbonation the beers aromas filled the room as a I took a minute to admire its appearance. Those aromas consisted of ripe grapfruit, mango, and pineapple, a touch of dank earthisness, and some sweet bready malt. With the high alcohol taking a back seat here to the bright fruit hop character, it did add to the malt backbone with an inviting sweetness and spiciness.
The taste took the inviting aroma took me to an even higher state of hophead heaven with big west coast citrusy hop character and some dank (somewhat earthy) hop astringency upfront. At mid palate the hops blossomed a bit more and I was able to distinctly taste the ripe grapefruit that I picked up on the aroma along with some peach and orange zest. Finishing this experience of each sip were lingering grapefruit, earthy, and some piney hop notes and a moderately sweet and dry bready malt. While not so noticeable at first some malt and alcohol sweetness did creep in as the beer warmed up and the bitterness built on the back of my palate. Interestingly enough, at times (while drinking) described the flavor profile of this beer as being similar to double dry hopped ruination and 10th Anniversary Ruination IPA, but with less lingering bitterness. Lastly, when I checked into this beer on Untappd I remarked that I’m “not sure the Mayans would have picked this date if they had tried this beer.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this Enjoy By series from Stone and I hope they continue to showcase the potential of hops and publicize the importance of their being enjoyed fresh. Rating: 8.5/10
Questions of this post: 1) If you tried this beer or any of the other Enjoy By IPAs, what were your overall impressions? 2) What is your picture of IPA freshness nowadays? e.g. Is it at times challenging to find fresh IPAs or other hop forward beers on store shelves or on tap at your local beer bars?