#10 – Stone Brewing Company “Enjoy By 02.14.14”

The Stone Enjoy By series is one of my favorite recurring (but slightly changing) beers. This is a beer that is specifically crafted to not last. The flavors and aromas in this beer will not be nearly as good after the “Enjoy By” date, and you WILL NOT find that batch on the shelves after that date. If you’re a hophead (and in a state that the current batch of Enjoy By is distributed to), definitely pick one or more up. You’ll probably see this one near you, as this was the largest batch made, and it was released to roughly half of Stone’s markets.

You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs – we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA

It smells like dank, wet, West Coast hops. Tropical fruit and sweetness. Definitely some of the Simcoe “cat piss/onion” smell, but not as much as previous versions.

Color is a dark golden amber, with a thick head that turns into a few millimeter ring of bubbles. Not a whole lot of bubbles in the glass. Very clear.

Simcoe really shows up in the taste, especially when you first get it in your mouth. The herby, resiny flavor sticks to your tongue. Not super bitter, but lots of flavor. The malt backbone brings out good sweetness. Can’t really taste the alcohol, despite this version running at 9.4% ABV.

Very smooth in the mouthfeel. Not too thick, but it definitely clings. As it’s not super carbonated, there’s not a super dry feeling.

Overall, this is definitely a favorite for me. It hits all the BJCP notes to a T.  This is a beer that seems to fly off shelves, if only partly because of its scarcity. This is a scary smooth, easy drinking Double/Imperial IPA. Buy this one if you can.

#9 – Sixpoint Brewery – Sweet Action

Sweet Action is a classic style Cream Ale. It’s a balanced beer, with not too much bitterness from the hops, and not too much sweetness from the malt. This is a perfect fit into the style. BJCP says that Cream Ales have faint sweetness and faint hoppiness. This was a good example of the style, and a nice break from the farmhouse/saisons we started our night out with, and the IPAs and stouts that came later in the night. Sixpoint makes some very good beers, and this is one of them.