Monday, August 23, 2010

Beereview: Stone Cali-Belgique IPA

I'm staring into my fridge deciding what beer I should do for a review today. The small stash of Stone always calls to me, intimidates me even. Because I know, whatever lays beneath the cap will challenge my taste buds with bitterness. So I had the above mentioned, and the "Self Righteous" in my hands, and remembering "Arrogant Bastard" I just wasn't brave enough to dive into the Self Righteous Ale. So here we are, Stone's Cali-Belgique IPA.

I'll start off by saying I poured this beer into my glass about 5 minutes ago, and still rests a head about 1/2" thick, no joke.

Stone's long winded narrative on the back alludes to what the name means. Stone's Cali-Belique IPA is obviously a California style IPA with Belgian influences. Wow, what a descriptor. So lets dive in. The beer pours a beautiful golden color, almost amber, reminiscent of some ancient fossilized (redundant?) insect. Without the insect (see: Mexican Tequila). The aroma is deceptively softly laced with hops. I say deceptively, because like many Stone beers, after the first sip they smack you upside the head with hops. After the hop flavor subsides, a pleasant sweetness is left in your mouth, which i imagine is where the Belgian influence comes from. IPAs are, by style, bitter.

The name of the IPA (India Pale Ale) derives from the trade between the English and India. While the English were taking all those fine Indian spices (real Indians, from India. Not the Native Americans Mr. Columbus so incorrectly named), they needed something to return. In comes the English Pale Ale. However the traditional Pale Ale wasn't lasting the trip. Hops are a natural preservative. So lets load up the traditional Pale Ale with hops and send it on it's way. The India Pale Ale is born.

With sequential sips however, the hop flavor isn't as brutal (I am not a self-proclaimed hop-head, nor am I a self-proclaimed user-of-hyphens), and is married with a sweet malty goodness, making it much easier to drink. At 6.9% ABV I'm already feeling a little toasty, and I've still got half the bottle left.

After a number of drinks, I like this beer. The hop flavoring isn't as strong as it is in many Stone beers, making it relatively easier to drink. However it is still a thick beer with a good hop flavor, so I won't be recommending it to any flip cup tournaments (but that'd be a hell of a surprise wouldn't it). It does have a good warm flavor however, and would be a really great wintertime beer.

I am now off to keg ATOTB #03!


  1. I love this beer, it has a nice balance and good flavor. It is one of the beers that I enjoy having with dinner, after dinner, or just because

  2. I'm not a beer fan but I'm gonna pass this on to My Boerewors aka hubby