Maybe I’m jaded, or perhaps I just drink too much, but I don’t get very excited when another double IPA shows up on my desk. Everybody makes a double IPA, and I’m not saying they’re all the same by any means, but most double IPAs play a lot of the same notes. Aggressively hoppy, probably boozy, definitely a lot of citrus fruit…That’s what I expected when I cracked MegaWheat, a DIPA collaboration between Stone Brewing, Odell Brewing and Marble Brewery (out of Albuquerque, New Mexico). I thought I was about to dig into another heavy-handed bottle of fruity hops. In my defense, the last beer I reviewed from Stone was a DIPA that fit well within those parameters.
But his beer, MegaWheat, plays out like no other DIPA I’ve ever come across. After sticking my nose into the glass to find mildly surprising funky notes and a wholly expected punch of orange juice, I took a sip and couldn’t focus on anything but the body of this beer. The wheat ale base that these three breweries use delivers a ridiculously soft mouthfeel. It’s so delicate, so nuanced, it’s like sipping a cloud. And not just any cloud. You know those fluffy, white clouds that angels sit on and play the harp? It tastes like that specific kind of cloud. After it’s been massaged. And dipped in butter. Yep. It’s like sipping a tenderized angle cloud basted in butter. It’s that soft and inviting.
Sure, there’s tons of citrus too. Motueka, Mosaic and Mandarin Bavaria Hops were used in this beer, so you get waves and waves of fruit, from orange to lemon and lime—all of which work well with the wheat base beer. The hop zest picks up after the sip is gone, as do some light bitter notes and a bit of spice, but all of that is balanced by that ethereal body.
But it’s the mouthfeel people, not the hops, that steals the show, which is odd for a DIPA. But then, this beer doesn’t drink like you’d expect it to. There’s nothing terribly malty to speak of—no bread or caramel notes weighing the beer down and offering balance to the hops. It doesn’t even come across as particularly boozy. The 8.4% ABV is well hidden in each cloud-like sip, allowing MegaWheat to play out like a light, easy-drinking summer ale. It’s a dangerous combination. But that’s okay. We’re all adults here.
Stone released MegaWheat at the end of January, and it should be on the shelves for another month or so. Check out this metal-inspired video that Stone produced showcasing the beer.
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co./Odell Brewing/Marble Brewery
City: Escondido, California
Style: Double IPA
Availability: Limited, 22-ounce bombers