Monday is here, and it’s time to start another week. Pick of the Weekend is our weekly post where we recap our favorite brews of the weekend past.
While we were not able to attend the massive beer celebrations this weekend, we were able to sneak down to the South Bay and to visit a couple of breweries, and we enjoyed the hotly anticipated new Stone Brewing Anniversary IPA.
The Natural Choice
Stone’s 16th Anniversary IPA did not disappoint our high expectations, and it was a natural choice for Pick of the Weekend. The big Double IPA is a Stone beer through-and-through with huge hop flavor, a palate-pounding bitterness, and that extra creative element that pushes so many of their beers from really good to extraordinary. In the 16th Anni Ale it is the addition of lemon verbena that garners the most attention, but the addition of rye to the malt bill gives the beer a subtle spicy quality that really pushes the beer over the edge for me. I found it surprisingly similar to the much discussed Stone/Dogfish Head/Victory Saison du BUFF. While not that similar in flavor, the herbal additions give both beers a very distinct “plant-y” quality. The lemon verbena and lemon oil in the 16 Anni does not dominate the beer’s flavor the way the Saison du BUFF’s herbal notes do, but the citrusy punch adds even more depth to the nuanced hop-flavors and aromas that range from resinous to citrusy to earthy. I imagine that the Stone brewers used some of the lessons they learned on the BUFF brewing when putting the Anniversary Ale together.
I’ll be on the look out for some more bottles of this, and the beer is starting to pop-up at bars and restaurants around town. If you’re a fan of IPAs or Stone’s creative beers you should really hunt this one down.
A Little Local Love
The South Bay has been a hot-bed of craft beer in Los Angeles for years, and we were able to visit two breweries in Torrance over the weekend. One brewery has been operating for over four years, while the other is a scant six months old, but they were are brewing really solid brews.
The Strand Brewing Co is the veteran of the two, and their flagship 24th Street Pale Ale may be one of the best pale ales brewed in Los Angeles. It has a big hop flavor and aroma without tipping the bitterness scales and a nice balanced malt character that shines through. The crisp finish makes the ale refreshing and quite quaffable, even though it on the strong side (for a Pale Ale) at 6.1%ABV.
Monkish Brewing is a new operation, and their deep line-up of Belgian-style beers, all with interesting and creative twists, is very solid. We’ll be featuring them more in-depth this week, but I couldn’t not mention their Moria “Black Single.” The beer is light and under 5%ABV, but it packs a big punch of flavor. The subtle fruit-flavors are not overwhelmed by the delicate roasted and smoky flavors of the malt; it balances many aspects very well and was a highlight of the tasting flight for us.
There were a few major beer events this weekend, did you try anything especially spectacular? Anything awful? What was your favorite pint of the weekend?