Stone Brewery in Escondido, CA is a marquise craft brewery and certainly one of my favorites. Opening in 1996 they went from a well-kept secret to a world wide juggernaut in the industry in only 10 years. Their barrel production went form 400 in '96 to 115,000 in 2010. checkout out the website for more interesting facts. http://stonebrewing.com/press/facts.asp
Today my friend Rick and I decided to sit down and taste Stone's Cali-Belgique IPA. This is quite obviously by its name a marriage of California IPA with Belgium yeast to create a unique beer that still has the distinctly Stone flare.
The First thing I noticed as I poured this beer is the cream white thick head that quickly dissipated to a light ring around the edges of the glass. The color is slightly hazy with pale wheat to amber shades. Right on the nose you catch the overly hoppy presence that Stone is known for. Less of a grapefruit and more of cantaloupe or other more earth melon aroma, with a hint of peach maybe some lemon, and Rick notes very faint classic belgium notes just past the hops of bubblegum, banana and cloves.
Right up front you get hit with the signature hops of Stone, some people find it overbearing but I am a hop head that doesn't mind unbalanced hop attacks! However in this one they try to balance it out with its Belgium side that brings more earth tones and the melon that was picked up in the nose. Rick didn't get it but I got a faint green vegetable taste that lingered behind the crisp hoppy finish, like asparagus or broccolini.
All in all I think this is a fantastic beer from a fantastic brewery that give a different take on the classic American IPA. Whether you are a fan of IPA's or Belgium's you get all the best parts of each and left satisfied and ready for another glass.
Please visit their website for more information on the rest of their brews and don't for get to check us out on facebook to keep up to the minute on news and tappings. Special thanks to Rick Wilson for comparing tasting notes! www.stonebrewing.com
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