Beer Of The Week: Stone Exalted IPA

Illustration for article titled Beer Of The Week: Stone Exalted IPA
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Loral is the name of a fun little hop that’s been on brewers’ radars for a couple years, yet hasn’t quite made it to the Big Leagues like Citra, Mosaic, or Cascade. I’d tasted this hop in Seattle-based Reuben’s Brews rotating Crush IPA series, but little Loral had yet to burst onto the national stage. Maybe with Stone Brewing’s new Exalted IPA, it’ll make it to the big time.

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Exalted is the latest in Stone’s Hop Worship Seasonal IPA Series, meaning the beer will stick around for a few months before the next iteration is released. This version showcases Loral, as mentioned, along with Citra hops. Citra is probably familiar to any IPA fan in 2018; its grapefruity, orange, and lemony notes (the citrus-esque name is no coincidence) have been especially coveted by brewers lately.

Loral’s characteristics mix old-world hops (commonly called Noble hops) with some more contemporary aromas and flavors. In this beer, the aroma is all new-school: super sweet orange and clementine, watermelon rind, honeysuckle. Loral, I think, is responsible for the lemon curd and white lily notes at the edges, but it’s hard to tease it apart from the Citra because the two hops have some overlapping characteristics and are very well integrated in this beer.

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The flavor isn’t quite as tropical: The sip leads with fresh-cut St. Augustine grass and tons of lemon rind. A fruity note, like underripe papaya, is just a quick flash on the middle of the tongue before the swallow ends in a dry, mown-lawn bundle. The beer isn’t overly bitter, but its dryness accentuates that, making for a squeaky-clean finish (a Stone hallmark). Overall, the flavor is a bit thinner than the aroma would suggest, but it makes the 7 percent ABV beer quite drinkable… if you don’t mind some bitterness.

It’s definitely still a Stone beer: bold, dry, bitter. But the Loral addition is a cool wrinkle, and worthy of your time if you’re a drinker always chasing that next cool hop variety. Maybe 2018 will finally be her year.

Where to get it

Exalted is nationally distributed and will be available through the spring season.

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Have a beer you think should we should consider for inclusion in an upcoming Beer Of The Week column? Email details to beer@thetakeout.com. 

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Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

Don’t understand all the hate for ipa’s these days among certain groups. Is it because they are very popular & fastest growing beer segment that they are “trendy” and not longer cool? Do you live in an area where they are not very good or think it is all just about who makes the most bitter one? The incredible number of hop varieties today, not to mention grain/malt variations, makes it the most versatile style out there. Kate knows this because she mentions Ruebens that makes almost the exact same malt profile with different hop combinations to create a completely different beer. Most are not high IBU, they are part of the “haze craze” that is currently happening, between 25-50 ibus. While I love the occasional hop bomb, I currently rather have a hazy NE style ipa. The point is, unless you have tried ipas from all over and all different types, don’t hate on them. I personally don’t drink many Stones anymore as they have not been as good at keeping up with the current trends but will definitely check this one out and give it a chance. Then Enjoy By series started off great but went downhill for the last few I had.