Stone is one of those brewing companies that is really hard to ignore. First they have a great logo that really catches your eye. Second they brew awesome concoctions and name them things like “Arrogant Bastard Ale”. Finally, they are always making new things that you just can’t pass up. Right now I have three different bottles from Stone waiting to be consumed. These were all special releases that came out in the last month. A lot of times it takes breweries all year to get out three special releases, but these guys did it in one month. Two of them came out in my area me in one week.
One of these special release beers is a collaboration with Baird Brewing (Japan) and Ishii Brewing (Guam). These guys all got together to release this limited edition benefit beer for the Tsunami in Japan. While it is great to buy beer for a good cause, my second review of a benefit beer this week I might add, there is a very clear reason I was drawn to buying this beer: Green Tea. Now I’m not really all that big a fan of green tea by itself. I think I had some for a while in college when I was on the brink of death and couldn’t drink coffee. However, I am a huge fan of IPA’s, and therefore, couldn’t let this one pass me by.
Doing a little research into the actual green tea situation of this beer, I found that the green tea element is actually part of the dry hopping. Therefore, for those of you who don’t know, the beer is left to ferment on a bed of the green tea. The other interesting thing is they also dry hopped it with a new type of hop called Aramis. Aramis is a new hop coming out of France. Let’s hope this is amazing!
On the pour, there are a few interesting things going on with the appearance of the beer. First it pours out extremely hazy. It has a very nice golden orangish color to it. There is a slight light head that develops on the pour; however, it really isn’t much to speak of at all. There is some nice lacing that occurs on the side of the glass; however, it does dissipate very quickly. I don’t really think there is much sugar present in this one. As I was about to move into the smell, I picked the glass up to smell and noticed quite a big of sediment in the glass as well. I know this one has been dry-hopped with the green tea, which I think means a lot of the remnants make it into the bottle. Looking at the bottle, there is definitely a lot of sediment in the bottom of the bottle as well.
The smells were a little more like what I was expecting an IPA to smell like. There are some very clear piney hops smells on the nose. Of course, I wanted to find the scent of green tea somewhere in here; however, I don’t know that green tea really has much of a smell. You do get a lot more of the floral notes that come through with a high quantity of hops, and you definitely get some citrus smells in there as well. I really couldn’t find the green tea at all in the nose though.
The taste here starts very clean. There is definitely a slight citrus flavor that takes over at the start. It is slightly malty as well. The piney sharp flavor begins in the middle; however, it is almost pine without hops. Then, towards the end, the hops come on extremely strong. They carry very nicely throughout the rest of the taste and really last into the aftertaste. However, there is one thing that I wanted to find that is once again really hard to find: Green tea. I kept looking for the green tea throughout the entire tasting, but it is almost invisible the entire time. I think you do find it slightly in the end and into the after taste, but I really might just be reaching in the hopes of finding it.
The mouthfeel really is very nice and well-balanced for an IPA. I feel like it has the perfect amount of carbonation. The blend of the all the flavors work really well together. There is nothing that hits the taste buds and throws you off. The hops do linger for quite a while, but I think this is a good sign for an IPA. If you didn’t want a slightly bitter flavor into the aftertaste, then you wouldn’t be drinking an IPA. Once again, I don’t know how much you can get a green tea flavor into an IPA, but I really wish I could identify it better.
Overall, this is a great IPA. It does everything that you want an IPA to do. However, I feel almost tricked by the name. The green tea is really hard to find in it. Of course, it’s hard to be mad at a brewer who tries to do something interesting for the sake of funding a good cause. Perhaps the green tea might have shown up more in a different style of brew, but in my opinion, it just get swallowed up in all the hops. If you want to give some money to a good cause, then you should buy this beer. However, if you’re buying it for the taste of green tea, then you could be disappointed.
Teacher Grade: A (because it is still a good IPA)