It is hard to imagine a more cutting edge, innovative craft brewery than Escondido, Calif.'s Stone Brewing Co., whose tongue-in-cheek motto says it all: "You're not worthy." And when three new Stone 22-ounce bombers roll into town all at once, it gives local beer aficionados cause to pause and celebrate.
Stone Enjoy By 09.13.13 IPA, $5.99-$7.99
This didn't reach town in time for me to taste it, but it will be here when this issue hits stands. Last January's release was mind-bogglingly good, and the formula remains the same. It's an amazingly fresh and balanced IPA. As Boise Co-op Beer Guy Matt Gelsthorpe opined, "While 'Enjoy By' is available, there's no reason to drink any other beer."
Stone R&R Coconut IPA, $6.99-$8.99
The latest release in Stone's Collaboration series takes its inspiration from a recipe conceived by homebrewers Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan, and was brewed in conjunction with fellow California innovator Rip Current. The mix boasts 280 pounds of coconut, but its influence is subtle. With a fresh nuttiness backing the hop aromas, on the palate it has bold, piney hops up front, with touches of fruit in the middle and just a hint of coconut on the finish.
Stone 17th Anniversary Gotterdammerung IPA, $5.99-$6.99
For No. 17, Stone is celebrating all things Deutsch, sticking with German hops and pilsner malts. This brew offers fruit-laced, soft hop aromas with some earthy spiciness. It's a bit of a split personality, opening with a nice hit of bitter hops, complemented by smooth pilsner malt flavors that seem like they escaped from a lighter bodied brew. This delightfully different, definitely delicious brew closes with baking spices.