What do you do when many people are looking for something fresh and new but your beer falls under the banner of tried and true? Well, you can't change the beer, but you can change the presentation. That's what Stone has done with the latest release of their perennial IPA and they have enlisted the help of their creative fans to provide the artwork on the side of the can. And while it's cool to check out the can, it's even better as an excuse to revisit one of the beers that helped define the style. Stone IPA pours a golden yellow color and is perfectly clear with a strong stream of carbonation bubbles filtering up to a foamy white head. The aroma features piney hops on top of a light bread malt base. Bitterness is a highlight of the IPA style and at one point this may have been the most bitter IPA out there (aside from its big brother, Ruination). By today's standards, it's not overly bitter, but still has a nice bitter kick that balances several different hop flavors, predominantly pine and lemon citrus. The malt profile is simple and lets the hops shine through. The only sweetness in this beer is a little sugar from the malts and a few tropical fruit hop notes, and then the bitterness kicks in and fades into the aftertaste leaving a dry finish on the tongue. I say it too often, but in this hazy era, you really build an appreciation for true examples of the West Coast-style.
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