Quick Take: If you are expecting KBS with maple syrup, don’t. This is a boozy hot beer with a singular purpose of hitting the tongue with earthy sweet, syrupy malt and sugar. Although too decadent and young for me to really enjoy, I think some age would do wonders for it, it’s a beer rarely seen and one you should have if you get the chance. Just be sure to keep your expectations in check and you’ll probably find an enjoyable, but not mythically fantastic, beer that belongs next to the slew of other great Founders classics.
For Part 2 of my exposé on aging IPAs, I conducted a taste experiment to put the very problem of oxidation into practice so I could train my palate to recognize the flavors of an IPA that’s well past its prime (that’s what I tell myself anyway). To this end, I purposely aged one of the freshest beers around, Stone’s Enjoy By, 10 months past the enjoy by date and compared it to a 2 month old edition and one fresh off the truck (the 02.14.14, 10.31.14, and 12.26.14 respectively).
If you don’t know, the name of every bottle is the date by which you better drink it else Greg Koch will personally come to your house and punch you in the solar plexus (his teary, disappointed dad eyes are the worse part). To avoid this, I hid my two aging Enjoy By bottles in a dark, temperature-controlled place along with my other cellared beers.
Now, let’s address what some of you are probably thinking. Why use Stone’s Enjoy By when any common IPA would most likely have a simpler and more consistent flavor profile? And why commit this level of beer abuse against a wonderful IPA that has only given the world glass after glass of joy? If these thoughts haven’t crossed your mind, I suggest you just get on with it and skip to the Experiment and Findings section. For those that want due diligence, I shall explain.
Quick Take: While initially disappointing, Abyss ultimately won me over as a subtle but layered exposé on the stout. It’s a beer that seemingly requires a high level of contemplation and analysis, which means the non-beer obsessed will likely admire it (or outright dismiss it) more than truly enjoy it. While I am thoroughly impressed by what Deschutes has crafted, I can’t say I would choose to drink this over other highly-rated stouts.
Brewery: Neshaminy Creek Brewing
Style: Imperial IPA
Cost: $4 (16oz)
Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, Teku
Availability: July – Dec. (July 2015)
Purchased@: Sabatini’s Pizza
Released: Late (Mid-October)
Quick Take: I love the toasty grain, the sweet resin pine and dry, bitter finish that Shape offers, but find the very mild but present skunky cannabis aspect a turn off. Regardless, PA/NJ drinkers have every right to be excited for what Neshimany Creek brewed, which has the toasted grain and orange juice qualities of higher profile New England style IPAs that are woefully underrepresented in the Keystone State. While this beer wasn’t a punch in the face awakening, it did take a swing at me and make me take notice of Neshaminy Creek as a brewer. A solid DIPA and one I think most bitter-is-better IPA drinkers will dig.