Stone Go To IPA

Total Score: 6.9/10 HopFlower1PapayaMango1CutGrass1Nonicpint1

Time for some Stone GO TO IPA, Go Directly to IPA, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT 200 [IBU’s]. Look we all know I’m no fan of Session IPAs (or Session beers in general), so why am I even bothering with reviewing this brew? Because it’s a Stone beer FFS, that’s why. If Stone can’t sway me over to the Session beer cause then there is a good chance nobody will… So perhaps this will be my last Session beer review? Maybe, but I’m not missing much if it is – they’ve all been watery AF pale imitators of the real thing (i.e. the beer style they are a session version of) and if you think I’m wrong, then I dare you tell me which Session beer you think is better than a full-fat brew, go on! Do it! *prods reader with a yardstick*

Poured from a 473ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Pale yellow, with a hint of haze body and a billowy white 2 centimetre head on top that ever slowly compresses down… quite a pale colour for a Session IPA… still looks as sexy as ever for Stone… maybe it’s just a Pavlovian response from me due to how tasty Stone beers are? 8/10.

S: Grassy cannabis hop character with a vibrant lychee tropical note, Stone haven’t dropped the ball yet when it comes to hops in an IPA – and Go To is no exception. Malt character is lacking, and it comes with the characteristic thinness of a session beer, but the hop character is there in full force… hint of mango and piney hops, nice touch Stone! 8/10.

T: Flavour is a bit thin and watery overall though [sad face]. There’s just no escaping this is a Session IPA, even the brewing Gods at Stone (murmured: “in Koch we trust”) can’t avoid the insipidness of the session beer. Profile is: Grassy/lychee/piney hops, malt? None really, and a thin green herbal note in the finish… which BTW is more bitter than expected or warranted – yep, I went there. 6/10.

M: Not bad, mid to light bodied with a reasonably dense carbonation – Stone Go To IPA isn’t lacking in texture, just flavour. 8/10.

D: Go To IPA? Not for me thanks, I’ll stick to Mocha IPA – which FYI is f**king delicious – or pretty much any other Stone IPA, this is by far the worst Stone beer I’ve tried [bloody session beers again – bane of my and the best of breweries existences!] Let’s all say “no!” to session beers… oh yeah, and drugs [except alcohol, which is f**king brill]. Positives? Everything except flavour, which really is the only thing that matters in the end. 7/10.

Food match: Slow-roasted pork belly with fennel and apple-slaw.

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Sample 3/4 IPA

Total Score: 3.75/10 Barley1Honeycomb1Lemon1Nonicpint1

I’m back from my self-imposed liver break (though it wasn’t really as I drank a beer or two here and there… guess it was more of a review break). Today’s brew is an interesting one to categorise: Sample (whom I’ve never even heard of) ¾ IPA – so ¾ as in, not a mid-strength IPA, but still in the Session IPA range. But who cares what is in the can as long as it delivers amirite? I’m not going to hold my breath for a few reasons though – the label on the can is bland and looks pseudo Pirate Life-ish, which works fine for Pirate Life because what’s inside the can is lip-smackingly great – also I’ve never heard nor seen anything about this “Sample” brewer before, and they don’t rate well on that app whose name escapes me… something-tapped… bad omens indeed.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Clear AF, not a great sign in an IPA, maybe in a ¾ IPA that’s fine though. Golden body with some crazy carbonation action going on inside the glass. Sea foam white head that drops back to a half centimetre. Sample certainly isn’t winning any IPA beauty pageants anytime soon. 4/10.

S: On the malty side for an IPA, even a session one, aroma comes off more like a Lager with hints of grain, honey and a twist of lemon… looks like a Lager, smells like a Lager – Sample are you trying to pass off a Lager as an IPA??? That’s one ballsy move right there! 5/10.

T: If this is ¾ an IPA I can’t imagine the full IPA being any good at all – watery grain husks, dash of honey, hint of lemon, but mostly it tastes like plain old tap water. That this is so devoid of flavour makes me wonder how it even measured up as 4.2% ABV, I’ve never in all my years of drinking encountered a brew with this ABV tasting so piss weak, that must have been a challenge on its own. 3/10.

M: Non-existent mouthfeel, watery, light AF, with an excitable carbonation – even the mouthfeel is a fail. 4/10.

D: What a brew to come back to after Cantillon – which managed to pack in so much flavour in 5% ABV… I’m glad I got this Sample ¾ IPA as a free… what’s the word I’m looking for? [sample?] As this brew was an absolute underweight… makes me wish I had a can of 3.5% Pirate Life Throwback IPA to completely drown out this non-event of a brew. Damn I’ve got a free Sample Lager as well 😦 4/10.

Food match: Unflavoured rice cakes with cottage cheese – be careful not to add salt! You might overpower this beer.

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Mornington Peninsula Hop Culture Session IPA

Total Score: 6.65/10 Pineapple1PapayaMango1CutGrass1Nonicpint1

‘Session IPA’ my latest pet hate – along with any ‘Session [etc…]’ – at least since every single one I’ve tried has been a watered down waste of hops. A Mornington rep heard my lament when I noticed their new Hop Culture and advised me that this time someone had done it: Made a Session IPA that actually has a decent amount of flavour knocking about… I remain sceptical, however something’s got to perhaps/maybe/possibly/conceivably and almost-inevitably give right? Well I’m about to find out and in the immortal words of Han Solo (before the walls of the trash compactor started to close in, Star Wars Episode IV): “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”.

Poured from a 330ml (at least give us a full sized can if you’re going to Session Ale me) can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed light amber/golden body with a wispy half centimetre white head that sticks around, pretty standard really [in my best Dr. Evil voice]. 7/10.

S: Pineapple chunks, papaya and mangoes in syrup round out this hearty tropical punch hop aroma. Vagueness is the order of the day for the malt base: Not really much of an issue with an American IPA, so no points lost there. Pretty top-notch tropical notes on this one actually. 8/10.

T: To quote that wily bard Shakespeare [with a slight variation from Doc]: “To drink perchance to enjoy balance between sweet and bitter: Ay, there’s the rub. For in that drink of Hop Culture what sweetness may come.” The answer is: Not enough. For this is a Session IPA that contains whispers of the above pineapple chunks, papaya and mangoes in syrup, not much else in between, and finishes with a bitterness that seems more noticeable than it really is because there is not enough sweetness to balance it out. 6/10.

M: Mouthfeel, perplexingly, is medium bodied with a hop oiliness that you would find in a normal IPA and a light but dense carbonation, so: Great work here. 8/10.

D: Overall another disappointing Session [etc…], however not as bad as Modus’s Session IPA. Apart from being almost devoid of sweetness (and therefore juicy hop flavour) this is a brew that ticks all the other boxes… too bad the one that counts the most is the “T” otherwise this would have been a cracker of a brew. My summer IPA will continue to be Pirate Life IPA then… will another Aussie brewer step up and produce an IPA as good as that? It’s not looking likely ATM. 6/10.

Food match: A bare bodkin and Fardels bear: Roasted [Hamlet joke].

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Modus Operandi Session IPA

Total Score: 6/10 PapayaMango1Barley1Biscuit1Nonicpint1

Modus Operandi have brought out another limited release beer and after their luscious dark maiden of a brew: Caribbean Queen, I may have made an Instabuy on this one… well, not ‘may have’, ‘did’. So what is this new limited release? I hear you quip (or that could be the voices in my head). It’s a Session IPA – you know the one where they take a perfectly awesome style and reduce the alcohol content for reasons unapparent? Yeah, that one. Who knows I might like this Session IPA enough to warrant a second purchase (if it hasn’t already sold out), however experience has made me a wary chap about these things.

Poured from a 500ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Slight hazed golden amber body with a thin white head and heaps of carbonation action going on inside the glass – looks like a real burper (“belcher” in the US vernacular) this one! 7/10.

S: Pineapple, lychee and papaya hops on the nose and in a decent abundance. This has the aroma of a top notch APA – fruity but not heady like an IPA, still for 4.1% ABV it hits that Pale Ale spot well. Hints of a biscuit malt base in there as well. Pretty impressive aroma actually… I’m satisfied just to sniff this a bit before I tuck in – it’s rare to get tropical fruit notes like this outside an IPA or a DIPA. 8/10.

T: Flavours a let down from the off… it’s like someone took a tasty IPA and poured soda water into the glass with it. Yes those tropical fruit notes are there, along with an ever so slight biscuit base, but it’s all watered down and hardly worth drinking – what a waste of great hops – it’s like they’re trapped in a prison cell, a prison cell of taste, locked behind bars my tongue is reaching out to grasp. Free the tropical hop flavours Modus! Also a slight grainy taste is present (like the prison guards to those glorious hops). 5/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, weirdly there’s more body than the taste belies, with a fairly heavy carbonation – yep it’s a burper. 6/10.

D: This is by far the biggest let down I’ve had from Modus, they are a great craft brewer however this one is a miss. Too bad because I can taste how good the full-strength IPA would be. Personally I think a ‘Session’ any-style is a recipe for disaster – there’s a reason beers are the strength they are and it’s simple: It works at that strength. If it tasted better at a different strength brewers would have popularised it at that strength. Anyway better luck next time Modus. 6/10.

Food match: A light tropical salad, green papaya salad (without chilli) would work.

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