Friday, January 16, 2015

Stone Brewing Company - Go To IPA

Go to where?
It seems like everybody is brewing a "session" IPA right now. I've had a few recently that are in line for reviews. Some were hits, others were clear misses. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a session beer is one that is supposed to be high on flavor but low on ABV (below 5%) that you can consume in mass quantities in one drinking "session".

The idea makes sense on a money-making model. Most of your American macro-brews have lower ABV's (alcohol by volume), which is why you see your local bros and bubs buying that crap by the caseload. It takes a lot of it to get a buzz going. If you quickly do the math in your head, you can see that the purchase of a lower priced six pack puts more moola in the bank for a brewer than a moderately priced craft beer bomber. $7 vs. $5 is a big difference in a business where even a few pennies can make or break.

Tonight, I'm reviewing Stone Brewing Company's Go To IPA. With an ABV of 4.5%, it's a true session brew. Stone's full-strength IPA comes in with almost 7%. How does Go To IPA compare to it's proud papa beer? Let's find out!

The beer poured into my IPA glass a slightly hazy, golden orange color with a bright, white head. The head looked creamy and foamy and rose up to just over a finger thick. The head dissipated at a moderate rate, leaving behind thin, spotty lacing.

The aroma was citrus and subtle pine. Tropical fruit. Pineapple and mango. Sweet caramel malt. Smelled like a classic West Coast IPA.

The taste followed the nose but was much more subdued than anticipated. Grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango and stone fruit favors all seemed to drop off in the middle of the drink, only to come roaring back to life in the aftertaste. Interesting.

Medium to thinner mouthfeel with a semi-dry finish. Absolutely no alcohol detected. A significant bitter hops flavor rose up at the end, balancing nicely against a pleasant malt taste that sneaked in there somehow.

Overall, this is a very easy drinker that delivers some real IPA flavor--although it kind of disappears in mid-sip. Odd, I don't really know how to adequately describe it. Nevertheless, Go To certainly delivers on it's intended purpose. It's a low ABV IPA that tastes good and is sufficiently complex to appease the palate of a hop lover. I'm giving Go To IPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

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