I’d Tap That: Stone Brewing Co.’s Enjoy By 04.20.16 is ‘brewed not to last’
Glassware: When drinking an IPA, a huge part of the taste comes directly from the alluring aroma. With a fresh IPA such as this one, the aroma is a must to fully experience this beer. The Spiegelau IPA glass is the first choice if its available. However, if you are unable to find one, or don’t own one yet — Get one! — a large snifter glass will also handle the job well.
Description: Enjoy By 04.20.16 pours a golden amber color with creamy white head that smooths out, leaving a slow-moving heavy lacing on the glass. The aroma is absolutely dominated by hops of the freshest variety, a slight hint of dankness and resin backed with strong citrus and tropical fruits — something like peaches and grapefruit come to mind — all wrapping around a sweet grain bill in the background. The taste is absolutely wonderful but also surprising. The first assault on the palate is not hops at all but, instead, a sweet and soft malt profile before the hops comes in on the attack. The hops are on full display here with ripe peaches, grapefruits, orange, mango, nectarines, pine and grass all hitting the palate at once, making for an enjoyable and stimulating experience before finishing long and dry. The mouth feel tends toward the medium to full side of the spectrum, but this is expected for a beer to handle the heftiness of this many hops. Speaking of the hops, while this may seem to be a one-sided affair as far as balance, the more you sip the beer the more you find it is actually quite balanced. This is an absolutely stunning beer, let alone a world class IPA. If you can find some, do yourself a favor and get it while it’s fresh.
Food Pairing: Food pairing for an aggressively hopped beer such as this, a food pairing can be challenging, and any light dishes will easily get overpowered. That being said, I cannot recommend strongly enough to enjoy this beer on its own to pick up all the subtle nuances occurring in the beer. One of the best types of dishes to enjoy with Enjoy By is Mexican, and I mean authentic Mexican dishes, not Taco Bell. Another pairing with this beer would be a nice Venison steak dinner with a tart cherry sauce. The caramelized meat would be great with the malt bill and the tart cherry sauce will meld seamlessly will the wonderful fruit flavors emanating from the hop bill. Honestly though, this is a beer that can be enjoyed alone to fully taste all the hoppy goodness and enjoy every last sip without any competing flavors for one reason: it is an absolutely amazing beer.
The Final Word: This is by far one of the best IPAs available to a wide market. The hop profile rivals many of the most sought after IPAs in today’s current craft beer market. The unbelievable freshness from the hops is on full display in this world class beer. The bitterness can be overwhelming for some of the uninitiated, and it is decidedly a west coast styled DIPA, but the bitterness is certainly not too much for all the hopheads out there in the world. The Enjoy By releases for Stone have been a great thing to watch as they were slowly rolled out across the country. The initial releases were in limited markets only, and now the beer is available in nearly all of Stone’s distribution territories, which is no small feat. This is a beer that as the tag line says, is “brewed not to last.” The beer is bottled and meant to have a 35 day shelf life, hence the prominent display of the enjoy date on the bottle. After the date passes is when the hops start to deteriorate and break down giving the beer a less hoppy character. If you like your beer fresh and hop forward grab this one now and don’t age it one more minute.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Beer: Enjoy By 04.20.16
Style: American Double IPA