Stone in general and several beers in their lineup are among my favorites. They've got hops; and they know how to use them. All allusions to bad 80's songs aside, I was excited to try Stone's latest hop offering, an IPA with a due date. They brewed the Enjoy By 9/21/12 IPA with the idea in mind that you must - it's not optional - drink it by such date to fully appreciate its effects. Fortunately, Maria's Packaged Goods - an incredible beer spot and a must-visit if you love great beer bars - surprisingly had this one on tap tonight. I presumed I would never get it on tap given its limited release. Maria's beers are nothing short of fresh - the Zombie Dust was amazingly fresh tonight. So, I knew that the beer that arrived to me as seen above would at least have freshness going for it.
I can tell you that I've been to the mountain, and it is good. My pal, who ordered a Zombie during the first round, and I could smell the hops streaming out of our glasses from 5 feet away as if smelling Mt. St. Helens smoldering. The Stone unleashed a strong citrus smell, intermixed with a bit of breadiness. Its head was relatively solid and the color a light amber with orange shadings. This is unlike Stone IPA in most respects, as the latter is rugged, bold, harshly bitter, and in-your-face. Stone Enjoy By has a silky mouthfeel. Enough carbonation is there to pleasantly engage the palate. But this is supple and juicy. They list it at 88 IBU's. The hops are wet, juicy, very tropical. Orange, tangerine, and mango flavors sit at the back of the palate. The hops are prominent but more glacial and not concentrated and sharp. As it warms, the complexity only increases as more pine and herbal notes are introduced. It's spicy too with a nip of white pepper on it. It finishes consistently throughout the entire pour, and never becomes too hot, overly bitter, or out-of-balance sweet. The finish is wet and juicy and does not suck the palate dry as do Port's beers. This is overall very elegant.
There's no need to date this beer. It wouldn't last a day in my household. This is a beautiful brew by Stone and another magnificent addition to their brewing lineage. The only thing that caught me off guard was that it is 9.4%. Be prepared to be hit hard and to have only one. If you should have two, then God save you. It's a shame because if you get to try Enjoy By, you'll find it, and obviously so, to be one of the best IPA's you've had this year. Leave the clever marketing to Stone. They go so far as to tell you where you can find it right now. And you can vote to have it come to your town. Start stuffing that ballot box with the votes of the dead. It's no wonder that Chicago got this beer first.
4.8 of 5 stars.