Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stone Collaboration Beers — The Alchemist/Ninkasi/Stone vs. The Bruery/Elysian/Stone

The Alchemist/Ninkasi/Stone
More Brown Than Black IPA
ABV 7.4%

The Bruery/Elysian/Stone
La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado
(Ale brewed with pumpkin, yams, toasted fenugreek, lemon verbena and birch bark)
ABV 5%

Stone Brewing in Escondido, CA continues down their path of world domination with a fun series of collaboration beers. They are often adventurous and ambitious brews so we always like to give them a try if we see them. We ended up with two in the fridge at the same time so we thought we'd let them have at it.

When compared to the rich, reddish brown La Citrueille, the More Brown Than Black (MBTB) looked pretty darn black to us. Based on the specificity of the name we had expected it to be a lighter brown. Instead it was quite dark, so dark in fact that neither of us were sure why they chose to point out its browness in the name.

The MBTB managed to quickly overcome its misleading name with a blast of grassy, piny, spicy hops in the aroma. The flavor was a hop assault as well with more piny, resinous hop character dominating the dark roasted malts. If you like massively hopped beers you should definitely look to pick this one up. The aroma alone will make you weak at the knees.

The La Citrueille was a bit confusing. Despite the laundry list (pumpkin, yam, toasted fenugreek, lemon verbena and birch bark) of brewing adjuncts it came across as a medium bodied, refreshing, pleasantly bitter beer. In the aroma we got floral hops, cedar and a pronounced cardamom presence which was weird since that was one of the few things they didn't add to the beer. Ellen had some fenugreek in her spice collection so we sniffed that which was exciting but neither of us could detect it in the beer. It finished with a mild coffee bitterness and was all in all a solid, well-made beer. 

Split decision: I chose More Brown Than Black because my craving for hops is ballooning out of control and Ellen chose La Citrueille because she is a sucker for anything French.

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