The words on the lower half of this limited-edition bottle from Stone Brewing Co. read "Ruining Palates for Ten Years." And this one is definitely a palate-wrecker, a blast of bitter hoppiness that'll leave your tongue piney for days. "This is completely unrestrained," pronounced one taster at SEHQ. "I think other beers are afraid to go this far." According to the brewery, they used 5 pounds of hops per barrel, including about a pound each of Citra and Centennial in the dry hop. That's double what's in the regular (but not at all shy) Ruination.
There's caramel, peach, and citrus flavors in this beer, but they're just enough to support the bitterness, and the 10.8% alcohol barely shows. (Until you're wandering in a hop-and-alcohol-induced daze.) Carbonation is a delicate prickle; this is a rich beer in addition to being a bitter one, which also inspires us to pair it with food. Try marmalade-glazed pork chops, or crisp pork belly and mustard, aged cheese, or juicy bratwurst. A little salt, a little fat, and a wallop of bitter hops.
Sample provided for review consideration.
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