Over the last week, the latest in Stone Brewing’s Enjoy By IPA Series has started hitting shelves around south Louisiana. Stone takes a lot of care to get this beer in beer drinkers’ hands as quickly as possible, with the drink by date actually being the name of the beer. Hoppy beers like IPAs should always be enjoyed fresh, and I love that Stone really emphasizes that with not only Enjoy By, but with all of their IPAs. They recently started dating their hoppy beers with both the bottled date and the drink by date, which is a great move in my opinion. But they take it a step further with Enjoy By.
This exquisite liquid patchwork of more than a dozen hops is a devastatingly fresh double IPA. Freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, hoppy IPAs – but we’ve taken it further, a lot further, with this one. We brewed this IPA specifically NOT to last. We’ve gone to extensive lengths to ensure you get your hands on this beer within an extraordinarily short window, and we’ve sent a very clear message in the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right NOW to enjoy this IPA!
Enjoy By weighs in at 9.4% and 88 IBUs, and includes a baker’s dozen hop varieties that include Ahtanum, Super Galena, Simcoe, Amarillo, Delta, Target, Calypso, Cascade, Citra, Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Helga. Whew! That’s a bunch. It’s available in 22oz bombers and six packs of 12oz bottles, though I have only found the large format bottles so far.
It pours a rather clear light copper-orangish color with a smallish head that fades pretty quickly. The aroma is kind of disappointing, given the attention to the freshness of the beer. I got some resiny peach and tropical notes, but they were kind of subdued. There is a clear aroma of alcohol as well. The flavor is also a bit subdued, with the overriding flavor being booze. Yes, that’s what I get from this. Alcohol burn. Sure, the finish is dry with some bitterness, but the hops are clearly overshadowed by the booziness. That’s a disappointment. In fact, the 22oz serving became rather hard to drink. I hate to call it unenjoyable, because it’s not a bad beer. It’s just disappointing coming on the heels of their 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA, which I thought was Stone’s best IPA in a long time. I even get more hoppiness from their Ruination 2.0, which is more restrained in the booze levels.
I’m not sure what to attribute this to. I know the beer is fresh. It was bottled on September 24th, so it made it to me from southern California inside of 2 weeks. I used to love this beer back when it was first released a couple years ago. But back then, only certain parts of the country got certain batches. So while we in Louisiana may have missed out on a batch here and there, we would get a batch that other places didn’t. The 10.31.15 batch was a national release. I wonder if the larger production runs of this has had an affect on the hop utilizaton. I don’t have the answer, but I do know that the last several releases that we’ve gotten here (4.20.15 and 07.04.15, as well as this one) haven’t lived up to the first few. I remember absolutely loving the Enjoy By 05.17.13 batch, and even commented in my review almost 2 1/2 years ago that I was “hard pressed to find much booziness at all,” and that it was “really really easy to drink.” Boy how things have changed. This version is all booziness and is hard to drink.
I’ve heard mixed reviews on this beer though. Many people have told me that they agree with my assessment, while others have loved it. So just because it’s not my favorite, maybe you will find it to your liking. So grab a bottle and let me know.