Cheers to 16 Years of Ass Kicking
A Review of 16th Anniversary IPA by Stone Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/30/2012 by Chops
                   
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So would it really surprise anyone to know that Stone chose an Imperial IPA for their 16th Anniversary Ale? I thought not. The masters of hops have done it again with this big bold bitter beast. 16 years is a long time to be kicking for a brewery and Stone is certainly kicking... ass that is. For any beer fan not familiar with the Stone Brewing Company at this point (which is highly unlikely), these guys are very well known for producing aggressive palate punishing beers. Their brewery and beer garden just north of San Diego, CA is a Mecca destination for hop heads. I was fortunate to visit this most holy of beer establishments last year and I am a better beer fan for it. So going into a beer that is the cumulative result of 16 years in business, I can make one very confident statement with cap still on bottle: this is a delicious beer with a bold presence.

In the glass, this beer has a hazy burnt orange coloration. It comes with a lightly creamy off-white head that likes to stick around for a while. On the nose, I detected a strong pine resin with an equally biting lemon citrus aroma. Shocking, I know. Resting underneath is a warm alcohol burn along with malty rye, hints of sweet caramel, and a spicy character. I should note that this beer's description states that rye malt was used along with lemon verbena, Amarillo and Calypso hop varieties, and some European specialty malts. I was fully expecting a complex delight and I certainly got one. Let's dive right in.

Sure enough, I was initially greeted with Stone's signature assertive mouthfeel. Stone has somehow managed to patent a particular hop sting that can be picked out of any beer line up. Fans of the brewery know exactly what I'm talking about. This beer has a toasted malty rye base that does a great job in establishing a solid foundation. The flavor profile closely follows the aroma. The piney hops and lemon citrus are the primary front-loaded flavorings. The malt is infused with notes of caramel and a nondescript spiciness. The hop profile itself is very big and very bold. The bitterness starts soft, but escalates quickly creating an airy dry mouthfeel and a long lasting bitter aftertaste. One thing I do highly recommend is letting this beer warm, because the rye malt gains a lot of leverage in the process and acts as a soothing bitterness counterweight. It's really cool.

Overall, Stone's 16th Anniversary Ale is, you guessed it, a delicious beer with a bold presence. I can confidently say that any fan of the brewery will adore this beer. Really any seasoned drinker will greatly appreciate this beer. And of course, I have to throw out the usual novice disclaimer: you're not ready for this beer. Once you start stocking Arrogant Bastard Ale in your fridge, then we can talk.

At this point I would usually tip my drinking hat to Stone for a job well done. But not this time. I remove my drinking hat and humbly bow. You guys are juggernauts of the craft beer movement and I cannot thank you enough for what you do. I have been a big fan of the brewery for as long as I can remember and I greatly appreciate your unapologetic approach to beer. Here's to 16 years of ass kicking and hoping we see 16 more. Cheers my friends!

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16th Anniversary IPA by Stone Brewing Co.
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