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Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Libations / Spokane /

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Let's face it, the Beer Rapture might just hit one of these days, and when it does, you better make sure you picked the right side. Will you, for example, stand by Deschutes? Or possibly Lagunitas, Dogfish Head or Nøgne Ø? It can boggle the mind, and I'm starting to think I might just stand in Stone's corner when it all hits; I assume that will safely transport me away from a PBR existence, left behind with Kirk Cameron.

The Escondidian makes me think Stone is a safe bet. An imperial black IPA -- which, of course, means it's a kick in the teeth at almost 11% ABV -- this is about as tasty as an IPA can be.

It pours pitch black with a tan head, and all in all it looks like a porter or stout. It laces the glass thickly, with decent retention. Sniff it, and a strong scent of caramel sneaks up front alongside grapefruit and hints of the hopiness that'll inevitably hit.

And it is hoppy -- if you're not a hop fan this probably should be avoided. For those who do enjoy a bit of a bomb, this is pretty damn good. It's certainly both hoppy and dry, but the sweetness hits the top of the mouth quite nicely. There's a lot of depth here, and the maltiness of the ale lingers nicely alongside the more citric notes.

Escondidian is a medium bodied ale, and a sipper at that. A bomber should have you covered pretty well.

So I feel secure in my choice here. Go with Stone, and odds of being left behind are slim.