Here’s a good one – Stone Brewing’s brewmaster has turned to one of his idols to create a one-of-a-kind IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing. I’ve said it many times, but here it is again – both Stone and Sierra LOVE playing around with experimental brews, and now that they’ve teamed up, they might have “blown the bloody doors off.” NxS has so much going on, it’s simply incredible. I’ve never tasted anything like it, honestly. They brewed an IPA which was then split 50/50 into rye and gin-infused bourbon barrels for aging, then mixed that with an identical IPA — I think. The description on the bottle is a bit confusing, and I think seeing a “family tree” style drawing might make it easier to follow where everything went, and when. Somebody create Beer Ancestry, now!!
Being a HUGE fan of rye whiskey, that’s obviously the first flavor that comes at me. And it’s all there. I’ve had plenty of other whiskey and bourbon barrel aged brews, but this takes the cake. It’s amazingly well-balanced, super smooth, and there’s no harsh finish you get on some of them. Once the rye subsides, the army of hops comes charging forward. They’ve used Magnum, followed by Amarillo, Chinook and Cascade to create a unique mixture of bitter, floral, citrusy, slightly herby, and pleastly resinous. I know that sounds like most of the typical descriptors for hops, but it’s true – they all shine individually; but also combine at various stages on the palate to create some new flavors. The finish is super smooth – it has an almost vanilla flavor, reminiscent of a quality porter or stout. In closing, this is likely one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted, I’d absolutely pick up many more bottles in a heartbeat. I would love to see how this one ages, despite being an IPA – which should absolutely be consumed as fresh as possible – I think it might age 3-6 months very nicely.