Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA; 4.4% ABV
I first tasted this on tap as my final beer at the 2008 Ale Fest Dayton almost 1 year ago, and enjoyed the smack of American hops immensely. At the time, Levitation was not available here in Ohio. Fortunately, it started showing up earlier this year, both in bottles and on tap at better pubs. My notes are for the bottled version.
Pours a clear, red-amber hue. Warm beige head slowly fades from ¼" to a thin layer & collar. No bubbles seen rising, and no sound. Big hit of American citrusy hops in the aroma with lots of grapefruit and what the Brits would no doubt describe as a "catty" note. Like opening up a package of hops when homebrewing. Smooth, very lightly effervescent texture. I taste hops up front, with grapefruit, citrus rind, and a hint of orange blossom, backed by solid bittering, with an underlying toasty & caramel malt base. Bittering becomes a bit pithy and slightly astringent, then slowly fades into an overall finish of hoppiness. Enough malt to balance & support, but hops dominate all around.
It's hoppy like an IPA, but at 4.4% ABV you could indulge a bit. A red session IPA, then? Hophead nectar, to be sure. I think this would pair nicely with hot wings, celery & blue cheese dressing, a good Indian curry, or beer-battered fried fish.