This ones for you Mike, you bad invincible beer hunting mother fukka
The chosen beer is actually one I obtained very recently from my Auntie Wendy living in California, who went to great lengths to obtain this for me and fly this over. Therefore, I will not only be dedicating this review to our lord, but Wendy as well (shamon!), for her dedication to assisting my beer hunting adventures. I also have little doubt that anyone in the UK has access to this beer yet. So UK bloggers, I tried it first, so read and weep.
Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA.
Now I've been giving Stone a lot of coverage recently, that's for sure, and when I read what Stone had to say about this one, I was shocked. To me Stone doing an English style IPA seems a bit odd. The same goes for cheese, in this case Glastonbury Farmhouse Cheddar and Stilton, to see how this baby paired with classic English cheeses (a test of authenticity perhaps?). The abv, a massive 8.9% suggests it would probably hold out to any cheese.
In fact I can't recall a classic English style IPA with this much alcohol, and the hop varieties used, Target, Boadicea and East Kent Goldings, alongside the chosen malt and water treatment suggest this ain't no US-UK style hybrid, it's a straight and narrow British beer, that's not British. The bottle then advises 'Consume fresh, or age in the hull of a seafaring vessel for a year or more'. As I don't have a seafaring vessel, I decided to take advantage of the occasion to get it opened.
You get the impression that Stone is one of those brewers who obsess over IPA a little. In this case the obsession has obviously spread to its history as well. Like some other styles, the history of IPA is much like the history of heavy metal music. In the beginning, it started with raw uncomplicated British talents, before it evolved and developed into sub-genres, extreme version, milder versions, progressive versions and all sorts. I would say this beer does good justice to the old school back to roots traditional versions of the style, so I would advise hunting it out.