As I’ve mentioned here previously, I have been a fan of Stone’s Enjoy By series from nearly the beginning. Although I don’t see the need to review each and every installment (with most batches being rather similar), the Valentine’s Day release looked to be something a bit different and potentially rather delicious.
Beer Name: Enjoy By 02.14.17
Brewer: Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, CA)
Description: Putting the meandering description and celebration of self loving printed on the bottle aside, this release put a twist on the series by adding coffee and chocolate to their IPA recipe. More information and the aforementioned brewer’s “notes” can be found here. The bomber cost $8.99 at my usual spot in Downtown Boston.
Appearance: Poured a murky light brown/orangish amber body through which I could just barely make out my fingers on the other side of the glass. The head was a thin layer of just barely off-white foam.
Smell: Fruity sweetness mixed with dank, piney hops upfront. Notes of coffee came through on the end.
Taste: Started out with a blend of sweet tropical fruits and dank pine resin before hints of bittersweet chocolate and coffee made an appearance about halfway into the beer. The finish was a blend of subtle chocolate and mild tropical sweetness paired with a slightly more assertive coffee presence and the series’ characteristically aggressive piney hops. There was a fairly surprising amount of heat as well, enough so that it stood out noticeably on the ending.
Mouthfeel: Medium almost but not quite creamy body with a consistently moderate amount of carbonation.
Hype: I was eager to try this. I recall really enjoying a coffee IPA Stone released a while ago and couldn’t wait to see how this one turned out.
Overall: I had to think about this one. I really loved the first two-thirds of the experience, in particular how the coffee stood out without being roasty, but the amount heat on the finish felt just a bit out of place and threw off the delicate balance of flavors right as they seemed poised to all come together. As such, I’m considering this a good beer that was a tweak or two away from being an excellent one. A worthy choice to either share with that special someone or enjoy all by yourself.