International Beer Day- Stone Ruination IPA

International Beer Day (first Friday in August) is a global celebration of beer, taking place in pubs, breweries, and back yards all over the world — It’s a day for beer lovers everywhere to raise a toast to our brewers and bartenders, and rejoice in the greatness of beer!

I actually wasn’t going to drink any beer today, but since I learned that it was International Beer Day I decided that I had to drink one of my bombers I’ve kept around. Stone Brewery Ruination is. It’s a hop forward beer, and I probably shouldn’t have been kept around for as long as it has, but it takes a special occasion to break out a semi-high alcohol bomber all by myself, and international Beery day is just the time to do it.

It pours a pale golden straw color, with a nice off white head, and a cloudy, homebrew-like appearance.

The aroma comes off as a wonderful citrus and pine.  It seems subdued from what it could be, but that is probably what happens when you keep a hop forward beer around for a few months.

The taste follows right along from the aroma. Citrus, pine, wood right up front. Not as sweet/mango/fruit that you would get from something like Citra, but very traditional American hop. Toasty malt coming up behind. The bitterness is very assertive, but despite the name, and the long warning on the bottle, it is not harsh. In fact, I think the word smooth would be very appropriate. It is not too sweet, but definitely not dry. There is also a nice warming alcohol feel, without any hot burning.

It is a great, refreshing ale for hot summer days. It goes great with a spicy stir-fry and smashed Chipotle sweet potatoes. In fact, you really need  to pair this with food that has very strong flavors, otherwise this beer will ruin all other flavors for you and you will just taste beer.

 

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Happy Beer Day

80 years ago today, alcohol prohibition ended in this country (USA). At the time, beer and wine under 3.2% alcohol by weight (4% ABV) became legal to drink. Alcohol by weight (ABW) became popular because the numbers are smaller than alcohol by volume (ABV) and it looked better to people who would control your life. If you look on a beer bottle, it more than likely has ABV, but ABW continued in this country until relatively recently.

To celebrate, I decided I should drink a beer that most definitely would have still been illegal 80 years ago. At 8% ABV it is still illegal in several states. Legunitas Hop Stoopid. A real celebration of what beer has become, despite the serious and long-term damage alcohol prohibition did to the country.

Take one sniff and there is no doubt that this is a seriously hoppy beer, not for the new beer fan or the faint of heart. You immediately get the grapefruit you are so used to from American hops. You also get the pine and grass of the American Northwest. You can almost smell the bitterness, but really that is just intense pine.

After a longer winter of stouts, porters, and milds, the hops assaulted my tastebuds. The taste rides right down from the aroma. Grapefruit, mango, pine, grass. It’s a little sweet, and not too terrible bitter.

It had a smooth mouthfeel and medium carbonation. The appearance is a clear dark golden color with a white head and good lacing.

This is a first-rate double IPA. I can already see myself drinking this on a hot afternoon in the dog days of summer.

Two Hearted Ale

In my search for a wedding beer I came across Two Hearted Ale several times. I think people like it for weddings because of the name, even though I believe the name refers to a fish. It did fit my criteria of being a relatively local beer, but it is way too hop forward for the sole good beer that my wedding budget allows me. Maybe I can have a few for the bridal party.

Aroma

Straight up hop right off the bat. Not really as hop forward as I had come to expect from reading about the beer. The aromas does not last very long, but I am kind of sick so my smelling ability is fishy at best.

Color

Golden yellow.  I took the picture at night, so the golden color doesn’t really come through. It has good lacing, and a small white head.

Taste

Hops are definitely the first thing you taste. They aren’t very grapefruity like a cascade or a simcoe, but there is still a hint of orange (which made sense when I looked up the beer and found it uses only Centennial hops). There is a noticeable amount of sweetness. It is crisp, but not a beer I would consider particularly refreshing. It is very bitter on the tip of the tongue which is an indicator of just how bitter it is, as most of the bitter taste buds are on the back of the tongue. I really think the overwhelming taste of this whole beer is bitter. Not warheads bitter of course, but decently bitter for an IPA. As it warms up, I strangely feel that it gets slightly less bitter, and slightly more orange flavored. And really, the bitterness does not have that aftertaste that many IPAs have.  I think this beer is growing on me the more I drink.

Mouthfeel

 It has a medium mouthfeel, with a moderate amount of carbonation. The bitterness fatigues the palette quickly.

Overall Impression.

It is very bitter, but because of that, I wouldn’t really call it refreshing. Although as the beer warms up,  the orange flavor comes out, and the 7.0% ABV kicks in. It is starting to become a very nice beer to drink while I sit in the back yard on this breezy night, with my dog chewing a stick next to me, writing blog posts. It is definitely a good beer to have one of.