After the relative disappointment of the last IPA I tried, I was eager to show my taste buds that a really great IPA was out there and just waiting for me to drink it! A great opportunity presented itself this past weekend to find that great beer. One of the members of my Beer Club, Scott, is a Lacrosse player for the Colorado Mammoth. He lives in Toronto and flies out on weekends to cities around North America to join his team – sounds crazy but he makes it work. This past weekend his team was playing in Buffalo, so I decided to treat my son and a couple of his friends to a road trip and a game. While in Buffalo I decided to treat myself too and visit one of the many great craft beer stores in New York State.
I was like a kid in a candy store when I set foot in the Village Beer Merchant on Elmwood Ave in Buffalo. The place was relatively small, but had a really great selection of beers from all over New York and few great micros from around the U.S. They even had one of my favorites from New Orleans – Abita! (I’m planning to devote a future post to my experience at Abita over Christmas this past year.) I decided to get a number of IPAs and I’ll devote a couple of separate future posts to those. The store also had about 20 beers on tap to take out in a growlers. Most were local brews and if I lived in the neighbour I’d probably be there everyday getting a growler to go.
The beer geeks who run the place were friendly, very knowledgable and happy to answer all of my questions. If you are ever in Buffalo, take the time and pay these guys a visit, you’ll love it.
One of the beers I picked up was the Stone Brewing Co. Ruination IPA. One of the founders of Stone, Greg Koch is a bit of a rock star in the brewing world. He has turned the Stone Brewing Company in San Diego County into one of the most successful micro breweries in America. So I am happy to report that this brewery does live up to the hype and does produce excellent beer.
The first thing that struck be about this beer is colour; it’s my favourite shade of Beer Gold. It’s a colour that makes me instantly happy when I see it poured into a glass. Most IPAs I’ve tried are darker colour, leaning more toward amber or brown. It had a thick and creamy head and I couldn’t wait to drink it right away. I had to stop myself self and smell it first.
It had the telltale citrus aroma of a big American IPA but it also had a nice underlying caramel toastiness. A good IPA needs to balance the malt and the hops in order to be palatable. Even more so in a 100+ IBUs (International Bittering Units). That number may scare some people away, but most people can’t perceive bitterness beyond 75 anyway. It was so good and went down so nicely that I could easily drink a 6 pack of these before know I had. I was still able to taste my food despite the warning on the label “The moment after the first swallow, all other food and drink items suddenly become substantially more bland than they were seconds ago”. This would go nicely with a spicy curry dish or hot wings, in my case it went nicely with a bacon and tomato sandwich.
Overall this is a really great IPA and I’m looking forward to trying the other US micros I picked up too. I do love the quote on the bottle, this beer is “A liquid poem to the glory of the hop!”