Tasting Notes: Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA from Stone Brewing Co.

encorecrown_web2This segment of Tasting Notes gets in on a celebration twenty years in the making by taking a look at Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA from Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, California).

While looking for the inspiration for a beer worthy of commemorating “20 years of revolutionary brewing,” the folks at Stone Brewing Co. did not have to look much further than the Citracado Parkway running alongside the brewery.  The parkway itself is a tribute to the citrus and avocado agricultural history of the area, so why not brew a beer with a similar theme?  Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA pulls this off by utilizing Citra hops and avocado flower honey to produce “dominant orange and floral aromatics that transcend into the overall flavor.” This limited release offering is available now on draft and in 22 oz. bottles at craft beer establishments in Alabama, Florida, and all other markets nationwide where Stone Brewing beers are sold.  If you would like to learn more about Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA, you can click here to check out the release profile I posted a few weeks ago.  As for now, this beer is calling for me to serve it up and get to these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA from Stone Brewing Co.

Appearance: Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA pours a copper hue that displays deep oranges and the lightest/brightest browns possible.  When held to direct light, the beer illumes a bit to push more vibrant oranges through the body and displays a consistent carbonation activity residing within.  Two fingers of off white, chunky and thick head adorns the top of the brew.  Head retention is great, slowly but eventually falling a bit to a lasting finger of foam.  The only reason the head falters is because it has so much stick on the glass, leaving abundant lines of lace after each sip.

Aroma: Oh, yes . . . the beautiful and unmistakable aroma of Citra hops surges from the glass.  Big citrus hop notes of orange zest and the sweet, juicy meat of the fruit lure you in with ease.  A floral note cleanly interlaces itself with the citrus to lift the aromatic profile to an even higher level of freshness.  Although the hops easily steal the show here, a light hint of honey can be recognized.  The sugary qualities are light enough to complement the hops by further sweetening the fruit notes.

Taste:  There is a hop dankness that is not at all shy in the flavor of this beer.  Citrus hops once again dominate with notes of orange, lemon and grapefruit.  Pine pushes that dankness forward with a tinge of resiny sharpness.  A floral hop quality blends in and creates a seamless transition into the avocado flower honey.  The honey pulls the malts up to the surface a bit to produce an insanely smooth balance.

Mouthfeel:  This Double IPA falls on the heavier side of medium in body with a medium carbonation level.  Silken in texture, it has some stickiness to it on the palate but it dries out quickly to produce an amazingly clean sip.  I honestly cannot believe this brew comes in at 9% ABV because there is zero evidence of that sizable alcohol level found.  The aftertaste is just a tinge of orange and honey.

Final Thoughts: I am not going to beat around the bush here . . . Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA is easily one of the best Double IPAs I have had this year.  The fine line between aggression and restraint is gracefully traversed to present these hops in beautiful fashion. Furthermore, the decision to use avocado flower honey was an inspired and elegant choice to give this beer an unrivaled level of balance.  The most impressive feat achieved here is the complete removal of any trace of a very considerable 9% ABV.  This attribute makes the beer one of the easiest drinking Double IPAs I have ever encountered.  In summation, this is a beer that pulls no punches but still has a level of disciplined restraint to not be all haymakers either.  Confident and calculating, Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA embodies the true spirit of Stone Brewing Co.  If you are going to create a beer that reflects upon 20 years of top tier brewing reputation, this is indeed how you do it.  Finely crafted and just a joy to drink.  Prost!