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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stone Cali-Belgique Belgian-style IPA

Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale Ale, an IPA brewed with Belgian yeast by Stone Brewing, poured a citrusy orange color into the glass with a large shiny white head presiding over a decent amount of suspended white flakes.  The nose was understandably dominated by new world hops, with orange and lemon standing out over bubblegum and a hint of clove. 

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA opened on a less intricate note than the nose suggested, leading with lemon and herbal, grassy notes.  Fortunately, fruity notes of peach, mango, and orange made their way through as the ale settled on the tongue.  The ale took on a surprising transformation in the fade, with bubblegum, bread, and light cloves taking over and almost rewriting the drinking experience.  Additional, tropical notes made appearances as the ale warmed.

Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale Ale stands out from the current trend of Belgian-tinged IPAs by offering the best aspects of both styles without accidentally trumping any of the most important keystones.  One of the most unique qualities of Cali-Belgique may be the bi-polar nature of the drinking experience.  I don’t know that this is a style that would permanently pull a dedicated IPA drinker away from their go-to beer, but kudos where kudos are due for a thoughtfully crafted hybrid ale.

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