I’ll start with the conclusion: Stone Brewing’s Go To IPA is fantastic and trend-setting. Buy it.
The session IPA is not Stone’s invention, but this beer nails the concept for me. For a long time I had no idea what a “session ale” is; if you were in the same camp, I’ll make it easy: A session beer is one you can drink in a drinking session.
Easy, right? What this means is anybody’s guess, but Beer Advocate has a lovely run-through. For me, a session ale has three characteristics:
- 3-5% ABV
- Won’t overwhelm one’s palate
- Crisp yet balanced
The Go To IPA hits all of these points, and does so while also adding a healthy dose of bitterness and an intense hop aroma. Really dank, too, and I dig that. While it lacks the smell of alcohol, it packs the smell of a dry-hopped imperial IPA, and I love it. On the palate, it lacks the weight and richness of an imperial IPA, and I love that too. It is not a beer that causes palate fatigue at all, in wine terms it is incredibly food-friendly. The ale is nice and crisp, and at 4.5% alcohol, it’s possible to drink more than one in a drinking session.
This will be an incredibly successful beer, and I expect to see a lot more session IPAs popping up in the stores because of it. For lovers of IPAs this is a must-try.
This beer doesn’t have the incredibly short shelf life of the 4/20 Enjoy By IPA, but it’s still not long for the world. Making sure to get a fresh case is probably a good idea. Presumably the fresh dry-hopped aroma is going to deteriorate pretty quickly with time.