How am I supposed to ignore the joke? I mean, its just too easy – it’s cheap. A brewery called “Stone,” puts out a green labeled double IPA as part of their limited edition “Enjoy By” series and they give it a date of 4/20? Maybe I should just get to the beer.
This is, as the back label states, something that is not meant to last. It is not an annual release, but rather one which seems to come out every few months, arriving in beer shops and some convenience stores a couple of weeks before the title date, typically in small orders and often sold in limited quantities, especially in bottle shops. Describing itself as “devastatingly dank” – in a rather obvious nod to the auspicious enjoy by date – this 04.20 release is possessed of a somewhat subdued aroma which, while slightly floral, is not as pungent as many others. As double IPAs are known to be, the Enjoy By offers up a rich, almost amber color with a full, earthy body, replete with a strong hop profile and distinctly robust bitterness.
While some doubles can overdo it in respect to their hoppiness and bitter flavor, Stone (who is known for some of its higher IBU offerings) has struck a rather brilliant balance in this Enjoy By batch, allowing the palate to revel in the center-tongue punch and hop rich aftertaste, without being either watery weak nor overly resiny. With the piney notes of west coast hops, this crafted balancing act is made further impressive with the blending of such into the other aspects of underlying bitterness and overriding hop, all with the faintest hint of malt and a subdued boozy sting stemming from its laudable 9.4% alcohol content.
While I have at times regarded the “Enjoy By” marketing as bordering on manipulative – as it plays strongly to the notion of scarcity (a merchandising ploy familiar to most who’ve worked in commission retail) – I should note that while it may tip-toe up to that line, it stops at just the right point. This is clear upon drinking the limited release batches and noting the fact that as a reviewer myself, I find the necessity to slowly sip and consider this higher gravity double almost irritating as my central goal with such upon a first sip genuinely is to enjoy it. As such, while sipping, I can further understand the well-marketed timing to its release.
Though not too common, it can be said that many who enjoy fine craft beers can be the same who enjoy finely grown pot. This is not to say that the beer world and stoner worlds are one in the same, but to deny that overlap exists would be dishonest. In that respect, for one who can appreciate the time and attention a fine craft variety of whatever their pleasure may be, to perhaps enjoy this rich and robust ale at the same time as they ring in the unofficial – and sadly illegal – holiday as some smokers may, the pairing could pose a rather fine match.
Naturally, it is encouraged that however one enjoys this brew, and whatever else they may fancy, that they do so responsibly. But in regards to a fitting IPA to sip down while observing or not observing the date as one may, Stone’s Enjoy By 04.20 is a fine selection to make.
Nicholas Goroff is a beer lover, writer, actor, ex-political professional and devoted anti-ideologue. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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