2009 Beers in Review-Best Beer #9

10 12 2009

We continue today with my best beers of 2009. We are looking at my favorite beers I drank this year for the first time. yesterday, we looked at the La Dragonne.

Number 9 Best Beer of 2009

Photo Credit: Captains Beer Blog

Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale- Stone Brewing Company Escondido, CA

American Strong Ale/ Black IPA

Rate Beer Rating: 99 Points

As a native Californian, my palate tends to lean toward big, fresh, green flavors in my beers. And for a long time, my favorite beers tended to be West Coast IPAs, Imperial IPAs, Double IPAs and APAs (American Pale Ales). For me, the hoppier the better. I loved drinking hop bombs and looked for high IBU counts. I loved it when a beer was so hoppy, I thought my face would melt off. But more and more, big hoppy beers haven’t impressed me much. I like the craft of a well balanced IPA that appreciates the bitterness of a hop as but one of many flavor notes.

So, when a guest offered me a glass of their Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, I did not think I was going to be impressed it. But this beer surprised me for a lot of reasons. First of all, this beer is black. Like Russian Imperial Stout black. There was only the hint of a ruby highlight around the edges. The head was thick and creamy but dissipated quickly. This did not look like an IPA.

And yet it smelled like an IPA. The nose was malty at first, then floral and piney with nice lemony notes at the back end. It reminded me of walking through the redwoods in Northern California.

The taste was incredibly smooth for what I would have expected from a Stone Beer. This company is renown for its intense, hoppy beers. And yet, this one was very well balanced. The rich malt mid palate was chocolaty and smokey–which isn’t surprising for how dark the beer is. But it did not have any of the astringency of some stouts–like Guinness.

Finally, the hops were flavorful without being too bitter. There were a lot different hop flavors going on. Pine, citrus, and floral notes played with each other in a way that was not at all distracting. This is not at all surprising for which hops went into this beer–American Chinook was used for bittering and Simcoe and Amarillo for flavoring. It is then dry hopped with Amarillo to get the pineyness and citrus. IBU total: 90!

In short, this was a fun beer! With 8.7% ABV, you will be sipping this one for a while. But for pairing with food, it would need something that could stand up to the smokiness of the malt and the sharpness of the hops. I would recommend this beer with barbeque. Maybe a dry rubbed tri-tip or a pulled pork sandwich.

This beer is available year round but in limited release, you might have to look around and ask a couple of stores to find one. But this is definitely worth the search.




3 responses

10 12 2009
Johnny Automatic

nice choice – it was on tap at Hollingshead’s for awhile and was a very interesting combination of styles.

10 12 2009

Thanks Johnny, I thought you would get a kick out of that one.

10 12 2009

Oh my, I must see if D’Vines has this. A rich, dark IPA sounds too good to be true.

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