Summers a comin’ and it’s time to stock up on session beers for those hot summer days of sweating while sitting. Last year I spent a small fortune at my corner liquor store on an obsession with Kona Brewing’s Longboard Island Lager. Ah my corner store, where the nicest family owners you can imagine gouge you mercilessly. I’ve learned to check expiration dates the hard way.
Luckily I happened to be at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station last month right after they released Stone Go To IPA. When I read “New Session IPA” on the beer list, for a brewery known for liberal use of hops and hefty ABVs, I was kinda giddy. All the hoppy punch without the fast decent into darkness.
I immediately ordered a Go To and the lobster roll.
On first inspection, you see a filtered golden color and a nice frothy clean head. The smell is really intense–like standing in a pine forest intense. You also get hints of citrus and other fruits, but the immediate sense that it’s Christmas and you just got a tree overpowers all.
The taste? As expected it’s front loaded with lots of dark pine and citrus. Finishes nice and clean. Not much for malt, yet surprisingly it’s got a lot of body for a beer with an ABV of 4.5%.
To make Go To IPA a hoppy powerhouse, Stone brewery uses a technique called “hop bursting.” Hop bursting is basically the addition of an extreme amount of hops for the last 15 minutes (or less) of the wort boil. This allows for lots of hoppy flavor and aroma, but keeps the bitterness from becoming overwhelming. Brewers also use “dry hopping” where hops are added during the fermentation stage to get more hop aroma, but dry hopping creates a more cloudy beer and doesn’t provide bitterness.
Overall, it’s a great session beer. Something to accompany hot lazy days, grilling out, or just sitting on your porch and judging passersby.
Go To is now at my corner liquor store, right next to Kona’s Longboard Lager. This should be a good summer!