Friday, September 30, 2011

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXVII)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the sharp crew at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you find the diamonds in the rough when it comes to wine, whiskey, and beer.

This week, I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days in San Diego on a business trip. Unfortunately, my time there was consumed only entirely with business and I had scant opportunity to enjoy the pleasures the area offers. But if you do have to spend your days in meetings and your nights at business events, there are certainly worse places you could be than San Diego, especially when you’re “stuck” on Coronado Island.

Considering it’s temperate climate and generally laid back attitude, it’s somewhat surprising that San Diego features a diverse and well-established craft brewing scene. The list of breweries in and around the city is notable both for its quantity and quality. With my limited free time on this trip, I wasn’t able to enjoy any local brews other than Amber Lager from the Karl Strauss Brewing Company which became my go to beer (and the only craft offering) at our company events.

The good news is that you don’t have to go to San Diego to get your grubby paws on the excellent selection of beers made by Stone Brewing Company. Stone (like Minnesota’s Surly) is a brewery with a reputation for producing aggressive beers that push the envelope with rich flavors that aren’t for the faint of heart.

This week we continue to focus on heavily-hopped India Pale Ales (known as double or Imperial IPAs) with Stone’s Ruination IPA:

So called because of the "ruinous" effect on your palate! This massive hop monster has a wonderfully delicious and intensely bitter flavor on a refreshing malt base. One taste and you can easily see why we call this brew "a liquid poem to the glory of the hop!" Those who seek, crave and rejoice in beers with big, bold, bitter character will find true nirvana in Stone Ruination IPA!

22oz brown bomber bottle that goes for $6.99. Etched label features the usual Stone gargoyle.


Alcohol by Volume: 7.7%

COLOR (0-2): Golden brown and rather cloudy. 2

AROMA (0-2): Pine and citrus with a little grass. 2

HEAD (0-2): Bright white colors, big bubbles, and good lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): A wallop of hops with strong pine and citrus flavors with more muted malt. Noticeably bitter and you can feel the heat. Mouthfeel is a little watery with a heavy body. Not especially drinkable, one to savor rather than slam. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Lingering bitterness. 2

OVERALL (0-6): If you love hops, you’re going to love this beer. And it is quite tasty. My only qualm is that it’s so heavily tilted toward the hops that it lacks some of the balance that helps round out the overall flavor profile. The edges are a tad rough and sharp. Still, Ruination IPA is a very good beer that follows Stone’s precedent of not holding back. 5

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 17