Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Stone Cali-Belgique

Last week during my visit to Parish Brewery I broke out a Stone Cali-Belgique IPA that I had picked up in Gainesville on a the previous trip.  I know, I've been all over the place lately, but hey, someone has to do it.  Good beer doesn't grow on trees.  Besides, Andrew treats us to tasty brews, only fair to bring some to share with him.

So... the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA.  What we have here, is a Californian take on a Belgian version of an American West-coast style.  Yeah, you heard me right.  IPAs are originally an English style of beer, but American breweries really took hold and ran with them.  Then the Belgian breweries started experimenting with the hoppy style of beers combined with their Belgian yeast strains.  Now this one, they are using traditional American techniques (and hops I'm pretty sure) but with a Belgian yeast strain.  Interesting to say the least, and interesting is the best way to describe this beer.  (Anyone should feel free to correct my history lesson if I'm off... I'm more of a beer drinker than beer historian!)

It's a deep golden color, with a small white head. Not much retention or lacing on this pour.  The aroma is unique... it's hoppy and bold with a Belgian spice to it. Banana, coriander... very nice, and what I expected.  The taste is very lemony... the hops used give off a very citric flavor to me, and it dominates the mouthfeel. You can still taste some of the sweet spices when you swish the beer around on the front of the tongue, but the slightly sour notes come through more strong.

I really like the way the flavors blend in the mouth, combining citrus, sweet malts, spices to form a rather different beer. It's not like any other beer I've tried recently, and I enjoyed it a lot.  If I see this one around in Louisiana, and it's possible because Stone does distribute here, I'll probably grab a few more and cellar them to see how this one ages.  I know it's not really traditional to age hoppy beers, but I'm curious.
 
My Rating: A-

On another, much more sad note, my favorite keychain bottle opener broke a few days ago.  :-(  I picked up this Guinness opener on a trip to Ireland in 2006 and it's been very good to me since then, lasting through almost 5 years worth of bottle tops.  So, if anyone is looking for a good birthday present for me, I could use a new keychain opener!  Meanwhile, this one will find its way to the kitchen, since it still works as an opener, just lost the keychain loop!

Cheers, and if you are off today due to the 'wintry weather' like I am, enjoy!