Stone Brewing Company's outpost in Germany has generated a lot more hot air and newsprint than actual beer since it was announced in 2014. The brewery's first releases arrived in Ireland earlier this year -- the flagship IPA and strong ale Arrogant Bastard. Reviews were mixed and, more importantly, I've tasted both already, so I left them on shelf. Wave two appeared more recently and featured Ruination plus two brand new ones for me, which is enough for me to go and satisfy my curiosity how the baby Stone of Mariendorf is getting on.
Go To IPA was the first I opened, a session IPA at 4.7% ABV, which is on the high side for the style but perfectly acceptable. It's a very pale yellow, which I take as a good sign: none of your sticky malts thank you. The aroma is very impressive -- extremely tropical, bulging with sweet mango and pineapple to begin, though developing more serious dank grass and spring onion after a minute or two in the glass. Still, I was intrigued. And it's the spring onion that dominates the foretaste, turning to full-on garlic. There are nine different hop varieties in here but it seems to be Mosaic at the controls. Searching for more complexity I get a little bit of peach in the middle, before it all kind of tails off into a hard bitterness and a watery finish. This one doesn't quite live up to the promise of that aroma but it's still a damn tasty beer and demonstrates clearly to my satisfaction that Stone's German satellite is perfectly capable of producing the same elegantly balanced beers as the mothership.
Overall, these aren't the wonky beers I had been half-expecting them to be. I think the system in Berlin is working the way it ought to, contrary to what I'd been told. I'm well up for whatever it produces next.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
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