Reviewed: Stone Enjoy By 01.01.19 Brüt IPA
Product description: What better way to commemorate a fresh start than with an uber-fresh beer? This variant of our Enjoy By IPA series features innovative brewing techniques that give it a bright effervescence and a super-dry finish. It makes for a great craft beer alternative to traditional “bubbles,” and it’s still blasted with enough explosive hop flavor to rival any fireworks display. Enjoy its refreshing notes of citrus and peach before, during or after the holidays… just not TOO long after. While this beer is brewed NOT to last, here’s hoping your resolutions are the opposite. 9.4% ABV, 90 IBUs.
Stone Brewing – Stone Enjoy By 01.01.19 Brüt IPA – 12oz can served in stemless snifter – 9.4% ABV
Stone’s Enjoy By has been around for quite some time now – at least since 2012. Previously only available in 22oz bottles, now you can get Enjoy By in 6-packs of 12oz cans. There have been several special editions over the years like the Unfiltered version, Tangerine, Chocolate & Coffee, and now the Brüt. Brut IPAs have grown on me ever since I fell in love with New Belgium’s version. But the overall concept is still troubling: a super dry body on a super bitter beer. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it can be magical. I’m still not a fan of Stone marketing a Double IPA with the name “Enjoy By IPA.” Casual drinkers at your New Year’s Eve party will be getting nearly two alcoholic drinks per can with this beer’s serious 9.4% ABV.
Into the glass, Enjoy By Brüt IPA is crystal clear amber in color with towering, beige foam that seems augmented by the Brut IPA treatment, which boosts carbonation to replicate champagne. A head of tightly arranged, oil-coated bubbles rises up out of the glass and sits there for several minutes before collapsing. The hop-focused aroma is a familiar mix of orange Fanta and orange slice jelly candies with touches of honey rolls and caramel compounding the stickiness. It’s the ubiquitous IPA nose of yesteryear.
Diving into the beer, the flavor starts off with a flash of white alcohol and then punishing bitterness takes over – peaking at a 9/10 intensity. Sharp orange peel and red grapefruit dominate that flavor profile with some juiciness and rich maltiness in the mid-palate for balance. There’s a long, dry finish with the dryness perhaps the one place where the Brüt version is different from the regular Enjoy By. It’s not at a crazy level of dryness that becomes astringent or wooly in the mouthfeel. But it does add an extra sting to the experience. The finish is super long-lasting with several minutes of gradually subsiding bitterness.
The overall package works very well. It’s old-school and citrus heavy with excellent balancing maltiness. Like the regular Enjoy By, there is hardly any hint of this beer’s hefty alcohol. However, the big let down for me is how unchanged the Brut version is from the original. The carbonation may be slightly higher and the dryness is certainly accentuated. But the overall package is 99% similar to the regular Enjoy By. That is great if you are an avid Enjoy By fan, but it may disappoint those who are looking for something new or state-of-the-art. On the one hand, this release seems a bit lazy to me. I personally would not place it in the same category as other Brut IPAs (or Brut Double IPAs) I’ve had recently as it doesn’t capture champagne qualities in a meaningful way and relies totally on an old recipe. On the other hand, a strong departure from the regular Enjoy By flavor may have upset customers. Like I’ve said countless times before, making a dry plus strongly bitter beer is nearly impossible to get right balance-wise. In this sense, Enjoy By Brüt IPA is successful. But it didn’t go out of its comfort zone either.
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