Stone Brewing Co. has been cooking up some of California's boldest IPAs for nearly two decades, and the San Diego brewery is still finding new combinations of hop flavors for its famously bitter India pale ales. Delicious IPA features popular new hop varieties (Lemondrop, El Dorado) that showcase vibrant citrus flavors, and the new in-between-seasons beer is also notable for what the brewers have removed from the brew: much of the gluten.
An enzymatic process developed by White Labs (producers of myriad yeast strains used by craft brewers) breaks down the gluten proteins, and the results is a nearly gluten-free beer that avoids the pitfalls (like the off-putting mouthfeel) often seen in gluten-free brews. But the reduced gluten levels are not the defining feature of Delicious IPA. Living up to the name, the IPA demonstrates a terrific volume of complex hop flavors.
With a curiously light yet still tongue-coating body, each sip explodes with flavor — lemon zest, lemon grass, Lemon Pledge — before the bitter bite cascades across the palate, where it lingers stubbornly but never becomes acrid. Challenging and unapologetic, Delicious IPA is not for the faint of palate or anyone unsure of hoppy flavors, but if you're a hop lover, you'll find much to like about this strange brew.
Style: 7.7% alcohol American IPA
Price: About $11 for a six-pack of 12-ounce bottles
Where to find it: The Stone Co. Store in Pasadena, as well as at Whole Foods, BevMo!, Total Wine and More stores, and wherever Stone beers are sold.