Though my beer loyalties, especially when it comes to IPA's, are with the one's made here in Michigan when it comes to ranking the top breweries in the country I never hesitate ranking San Diego Ca.'s brewery Stone way up high on the list. Hell, for making Arrogant Bastard (which, if ever in a bar with Agent L. Caution of the Black Time and they have it on tap ask him to order you one. If anyone can make the name of the beer any more full on than it already is it's his London accent) alone they deserve such honors. After that anything they brewed could be "Ehh, It's okay" and it still wouldn't discount them one bit. The thing is though that everything we've tasted in the Smashin' Transistors labs by them has been tops and being hop heads their IPA would eventually have to be discussed.
Pours a clean, clear gold in color with not a huge head but still a sticky lacing on the sides of the glass through the entire beer. Though usually a hop fiend where I have to notice a pungent floral scent jumping out at me right off the bat or I'll already start having my contentions about how good an IPA gonna be even before it's first there's something nice and different about the subdued character in the aroma of this. It smells of citrus and pine along with some malt and I'm thinking something along the lines of peach but laid back, sweet and nice instead of brassy, bold and upfront. It's deceiving though because on first sip there is definitely a sharp hop tang up front. Not all pucker power though but like the scent-crisp and citrusy with that peach thing I mentioned in the backbone. Malt shows up in the middle adding a nice balance to the the sweety tarty flavor that surrounds it. The finish is slightly dry and kinda spicy with a bit of alcohol burn but nothing that would make ya think that this is close to a 7% ABV. Lot of people who are way more schooled in the fine art of beer tasting and critiquing than myself say that this is one of the best all around IPA that American microbreweries have to offer. I'm not going to argue with them. It's considered a standard and there's a reason for that.