Beer of the Week: Stone Cali-Belgique IPA

Posted on March 1st, 2011


About The Beer: This brew from the famed Stone Brewery takes their classic IPA and mixes it up by brewing it with Belgian yeast rather than the typical American strain. The result is a hybrid IPA that draws in equal parts of old Belgian tradition and new American experimentation.

In a nutshell: While enjoyable, Stone Cali-Belgique IPA leaves me wanting for more.

Review: Belgian IPA is a new style that has emerged in just the last few years as old Belgian brewers have infused New World hops with centuries-old Belgian recipes. I’ve enjoyed others in the style like Houblon Chouffee; plus Stone IPA is one of my all time favorite India pale ales, so I was excited to try this new twist on an old standby. While perfectly enjoyable I found the beer to be a bit disappointing as it left me craving both more West Coast hops and more classic Belgian malts. The beer’s delicate aroma and flavor were nice enough, but in the end it was just a bit bland considering the two flavorful traditions this brew pulls from. Stone’s website recommends we “think of it as an otherwise identical twin to Stone IPA that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.” This quote gets right to the heart of the problem for me: instead of simply changing the yeast and leaving the rest of the recipe unchanged I think the brewers should have perhaps altered the grains used to better highlight the unique flavors Belgian yeast gives beer.

Rating: 2 out of 5