If the Craft Beer Movement™ were ever afforded its Mt. Rushmore, few would/could argue the candidacy of Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head, Ken Grossman from Sierra Nevada, Jim Koch from Samuel Adams, and Greg Koch (no relation) of Stone. Cases could be made for others, but then again Teddy Roosevelt really doesn’t fit next to Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson.
Stone and Dogfish Head celebrate their 20th anniversaries in 2015. We’ll circle back to DFH in due time, but for now let’s zero in on the west coast’s pinnacle of craft beer. To celebrate its second decade, Stone is releasing a bevy of special beers and classics. The 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA is the opening salvo, a golden, hop-loaded double IPA.
This beer is about two things: hops and Australia. Stone sourced all of its ingredients from the former prison colony, including the Fairview malts and the four hops deployed: Topaz, Galaxy, Ella and Vic Secret. The flavor profile is intense and full of tropical fruits. The finish is dry and crisp, and the alcohol content hits you like a thunderclap. But, in between sip to swallow, you get a magnificently smooth beer with a rich bitterness and strong fruit flavor.
There are worse ways to celebrate your anniversary. Friends of mine once celebrated their fifth-wedding anniversary at a mall food court. I’ve spent the last eight or nine on a weeklong vacation with friends down south. Stone opens up its 20th anniversary party with one of the best one-off beers it has ever made.
Brewer: Stone Brewing Company
Beer: 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8.7% IBU: 95
Container: 22 oz. bottle
Price: $12.99 Point of Purchase: Steamer’s Basin Trading Company, Bushnell’s Basin, N.Y.
To The Eye: Golden and hazy. Big foamy head.
To The Nose: Resinous with slight hints of pineapple.
To The Palate: Lots of tropical fruit. Peach, pineapple, citrus and lemon. I picked up some peppery notes as well.
Aftertaste: Crisp and dry. Good lingering hope flavor.
Boozy Factor: Full throated.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 9