Saturday, June 23, 2012

[A Beer a Day] More Black Than Brown IPA | Stone/Ninkasi/The Alchemist Brewing | Escondido, CA/Eurgene, OR/Waterbury, VT

I will apologize in advance for the blatant themery that will be going on in [AA] this week, and this is because this is the seven-day advent that not only commemorates my wedding anniversary, but also contains the calendar week in which I met this love assassin, as well as the week that I asked her to spend a lifetime of rabble-rousing in breweries and scummy concert venues with me -- all in successive years, of course -- this isn't the 1950s, where all of that was done between coffee break and lunch.

In honor of our alliance as master collaborators in life and love, I present to you [An Avenue]'s Collaboration Week.

Part I.  Part II.  Part III.

Part IV of IV.

Stone is the pantheon of wondrousness.  It is one of the breweries who's candidacy to be cast onto the Rushmore of Craftery would not be disputed with much fervor. Like the first generation before them -- and with peerage like Dogfish Head, New Belgium, and the similar brewhouses --  the path that they've illuminated for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generations of micros in the United States is, without question, heroic.

For this collaboration -- as is the typical theme for Stone's Collaboration Series -- they invited two other renowned brewhouses to their workshop in Escondido to conjure up another unique recipe to represent this spectacular series.  In this case, Stone colluded with two evasive (in Texas) breweries from Oregon and Vermont on a wintertime, dark IPA.  This collaboration was very well represented in name:

... but would it hurt anyone's feelings if I said I wasn't particularly convinced of this beer's ambition?  More Brown than Black IPA tastes like a rushed experiment that didn't meet the expectations of any of the brewers involved, but decided to just go with it anyway.

Incidentally, the name of the beer itself kinda conjures up the idea that their original pursuit was not realized, aiming for the wildly trendy black IPA, but instead coming up short in both body and color.  Should I be more offended that a semi-clever re-branding was a major bluff by these super-brewers, or the fact that I impulsively paid $5.99/ea for four 12-ounce bottles because I'd been delighted with this series in the past?

I did not particularly fancy the pine resin notes and felt the base was too watery. The color seemed clumsy and the flavor profile was not as nuanced as you would expect from these brewers.  For a west coast IPA, this was not very assertive.

Stone is certainly allowed a misstep every now and again in the opinion of this fanboi -- and I'm certainly not a Stone acolyte by any means -- but typically they are a very disciplined brewery who work their asses off to maintain their cache. More Brown than Black hasn't changed that opinion, but I am just more aware that their collaborations are not always the carnival of masturbation they present themselves to be.

ABV: 7.4%
Acquired: Side Door 

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