While there’s been plenty of talk about a slow-down in the craft beer world, with a number of mid-range breweries shutting down and larger breweries scaling back production and distribution, Stone Brewing apparently is still going full steam ahead. They’re opening a small brewery and restaurant in Napa Valley this spring, complete with its own 10-barrel system that will focus on innovation. Add that to Stone’s array of production breweries and brewpubs and restaurants across the country and in Europe. And it seems like every week they’re putting out another new IPA, so if you just focus on Stone, everything in the craft beer world is perfectly fine and dandy.
Speaking of fine and dandy, check out one of Stone’s latest IPAs, Scorpion Bowl. True to form, Scorpion Bowl is a brash hop-forward ale that hinges on an assault of fruit that is so bold it borders on being electric.
The beer pours orange with a thick head that sticks around for days and has an enticing layer of caramel, as well as a soft, cotton-like mouthfeel. There’s a wee bit of your standard fruit notes in the middle of the sip—take your pick of the usual citrus suspects—but all of the fun stuff happens in your mouth after the sip disappears. That’s when an intense, tart fruitiness takes over, like you’re sucking on one of those sour candies. The finish is dry at first, but then your mouth starts to water again and that fruitiness comes back with a vengeance.
It takes me a while to place the exact fruit that’s in play here, but eventually I figure out it’s passion fruit, which has a tart electricity all on its own. That’s not to say Stone added passion fruit to this beer—there are no adjuncts whatsoever. Stone managed to squeeze all of this goodness out of the hops (Mosaic, Loral, Mandarina Bavaria), which is a magic trick that I will always been in awe of. There are no gimmicks in this IPA—no haze, no additives—but Stone could’ve easily labeled this a passion fruit beer.
I dig the tart element, which adds balance to the sweetness of the other fruit characteristics at play here. And this is one of those times when the marketing copy proves accurate; this beer truly is “a punch to the stinger.”
Just for fun, here are three more passion fruit beers.
I’ve said in the past that the gose style is so damn intriguing on its own that I sometimes get angry when fruit is added to the mix. But I’m usually wrong and this is one of those situations. Modern Times adds passion fruit and guava to their salty, tart gose for a refreshing fruit bowl served in a 16-ounce can. It’s only 4.8% ABV, so feel free to have a few. And it’s available year round.
This new IPA is part of Deschutes’ “Just Tapped” series, where certain experimental brewpub offerings get a shot at larger distribution. The addition of passionfruit gives this Pacific Northwest IPA a refreshingly tart element. It’s juicy and crisp, and available in 12-ounce bottles right now.
Avery takes a Belgian style white ale and actually adds passionfruit (as well as some undisclosed spices). You’ve got the almost creamy mouthfeel of a wheat beer, balanced by the tart acidity of the passionfruit. It’s a year-round beer, but it screams summer.