Beer Review: STONE 21ST ANNIVERSARY HAIL TO THE HOP THIEF DOUBLE IPA

Beer Review: STONE 21ST ANNIVERSARY HAIL TO THE HOP THIEF DOUBLE IPA

Stone’s 21st Anniversary Hail to the Hop Thief Double IPA makes a bold entrance, boasting a hazy deep orange to light amber hue when freshly poured. The initial yellowish beige foam holds its ground, but the aesthetic appeal takes a hit with the replacement of the usual silkscreen label by clear plastic stickers, which tend to bubble over time. Despite this, the beer’s packaging date is clearly visible, catering to the preferences of IPA enthusiasts.

Aroma

The aroma journey begins on a somewhat medicinal note with hints of cherry and mint, eventually evolving into dark, dried orange peel. As the brew warms up, the bouquet opens up to overripe melon, satsuma perfume, and echoes of orange bitters reminiscent of an Old Fashioned. The transition is gradual but adds layers to the olfactory experience.

Taste

The flavor profile kicks off with a burst of sweet orange juice, paving the way for bitter grapefruit juice accompanied by nuances of maraschino cherry and a subtle undercurrent of dark alcohol. Despite its 9.8% ABV, the beer maintains a certain finesse, drawing parallels to the complexities found in an Old Fashioned cocktail. The palate-coating, oily mouthfeel is punctuated by a piney, aggressive bitterness that lingers, creating a sensory rollercoaster.

Mouthfeel

The mouthfeel of Stone’s 21st Anniversary is a tactile experience, with an oily texture that coats the palate. The piney bitterness takes center stage, asserting its presence in the mid-palate and lingering through the backend. The finish, mineral-heavy and dry, leaves behind a touch of wooly astringency, contributing to the overall complexity of the beer.

Overall

In the grand scheme of Stone’s anniversary beer series, the 21st Anniversary Hail to the Hop Thief Double IPA stands out as a heavier-bodied offering that leans into richer flavors of dark orange and cherry. This is no lightweight, crushable, new-age Double IPA; instead, it embraces an old-school, chewy, amber IPA profile with a dose of punishing bitterness. However, in the context of the broader series, this iteration may be deemed relatively tame. Without delving into the realm of crazy hop varietals or pioneering new styles, such as seen in Stone 18th Golden Brown IPA, the 21st Anniversary remains a straightforward and enjoyable choice, albeit lacking in groundbreaking intrigue.