Monday, October 19, 2015

Stone Brewing Company - Thunderstuck IPA 2015

I was shaking at the knees...
I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Stone Brewing Company. The first real craft beer I ever tasted was Stone's Arrogant Bastard Ale. One sip and I was hooked. I remember harassing and haranguing the liquor manager at my local grocery store to stock Stone beers in his cold case. Heck, I actually took a road trip down San Diego way to pay a visit to Stone's original brewery--long before they opened their fancy beer garden brewery.

I recall the old Stone location was near the Dr. Bronner's soap factory. Ha, maybe that's why Stone always has so much text all over their bottles, just like Dr. Bronner's. In any case, there's often a thorough description and lots of background info on Stone's bombers. Thunderstuck IPA is no exception. Here's an abbreviated version from the bottle:

Ella, Galaxy, Topaz, Vic Secret—no, these aren’t the names of the performers at your local “gentlemen’s club” (at least as far as we know). Rather, these are exotic, and admittedly rather sexy, Australian hop varietals that have been dancing on the minds and palates of the craft brewing intelligentsia around the world of late. We’ve been openly flirting with them via test batches, and they’ve become popular around our brewhouse thanks to their sensual flavors and aromas. So in developing our celebratory anniversary beer, we decided it was time to seal the deal and take these down-under-wonder beauties to the main stage at Stone. And what better way than allowing them to strut their stuff in the spotlight as the sole focus for the luscious tropical, peachy, citrus-like flavors and slightly resinous, aromatically dank earthiness of this special, all-Aussie consummation!

Interesting stuff, eh? So, is this anniversary brew everything Stone proclaims it to be? Let's find out!

The beer poured from bomber into my IPA glass a slightly hazy, golden orange color with a foamy, white head. The head got up to a full finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. Sticky webs of lacing and a thin cap of foam were left behind on the glass.

Aroma was freaking amazing! Wowsers! Dank, resinous pine with a citrus medley of grapefruit, orange, and tangerine. Massive whiffs of over-ripe, tropical fruit, Mango, passion fruit, pineapple. Very different. I picked up a very light hint of durian. Foral and herbal notes. I could have kept my nose crammed down into that glass for an hour.

Taste followed the nose. Dank pine and citrus hops delivered a big, bitter bite right up front. Juicy tropical and stone fruit flavors announced themselves ASAP. Sweet, bready malt. Peppery, grassy, herbal notes. Fantastic!

Medium mouthfeel with a bit of sticky chewiness on the finish. Good carbonation. No hint of alcohol in this massively juicy brew.

Overall, this is a hops masterpiece. Incredible complexity. I love it and I absolutely could not find a flaw. Merry the Wonder Beagle drooled up a storm as soon as I popped the cap on the bomber. I'm giving Thunderstruck IPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.


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