With their first release of the Enjoy By series in 2012, Stone Brewing Co. out of California struck a delicious, hoppy nerve. They knew that beer, especially beers loaded with hops, were meant to be enjoyed as fresh as possible. To wit, they brewed a special batch with an “expiration” date right in the title, meant to signify when you should drink the beer by for maximum freshness and maximum taste. The first release in this series of American Double IPAs was Enjoy By 9.21.12. It was met with great critical acclaim, and its release was limited to a certain amount and only went to certain markets.
Enjoy By 4.20.14 is the 15th iteration in this beloved series. At this point the quantities are increased to meet the higher demand, but the concept is still “drink it while it’s fresh”. The tastes have varied slightly but what you are going to get out of this release is a very hop forward, citrusy, bright, and floral beer. And, yes, if enjoyed before the date printed in giant letters on the bottle, you’d better believe it will be fresh.
If you want to sample a double IPA in all of it’s bitter, fruity, hoppy glory then do yourself a favor and get your hands on the next release of this beer, Enjoy By 5.16.14. You’ll be treated to a similar and equally fresh IPA that the Stone Enjoy By series is renowned for.
Bottle: I have had this one in both draft and bottle formats. The bottle is a pretty nice design. Brown 22oz. bomber bottle, with the words “Devestatingly dank” printed above the company name and a giant date printed just below. There is no mistaking when this beer is to be enjoyed by.
Pour: My first pour of this beer was in a tulip glass. It was from the tap and it was about 3 days old at this point. It poured a hazy, dark orange, with a finger worth of fluffy white head. It was also very similar from the bottle which I had a week before the suggested enjoy by date, although this time it was poured into a standard pint glass and had less head. Same beautiful dark orange color.
Aroma: This is like smelling a bouquet of flowers. It’s piney and citrusy, with scents of tangerine, orange, grapefruit, and lemon. Very strong in the nose is the smell of weed. Hey, you can’t market a beer with 4.20 in the name, claim its dankness, and not have it smell like hemp!
Flavor: For a hop lover this is heaven. This is as close to getting it straight from the source as it’s made. Everything in the aroma is in the flavor: orange peel, lemon zest, grapefruit. Even some pineapple thrown in for good measure. As advertised this is a very dank beer. This is woodsy and earthy, although it has a brightness and a freshness to it that is signature to this series of double IPAs. You’ll also taste some malt which lends this one to having a sweetness. There’s almost a bit of syrupy flavors at times. There is a consistent piney bitterness over the top of all of this, but not in a detracting manner. It complements the other flavors in way that other heavily hopped double IPAs and beers of this nature miss the mark on. I like to compare it to when a hot sauce is overly spicy just to be spicy. The other flavors get lost in the mix. But, when the heat is there as a complement all the subtle flavors you are meant to taste start to shine. This is exactly what happens with Stone’s Enjoy By 4.20.14.
Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and a feel on the lighter side. The high hop content masks the taste of alcohol. The carbonation does give it that extra punch and zip that you may expect from an IPA. You can feel how fresh this is in your mouth.
Structure: Stone Enjoy By IPA is always a very well put together beer. If you enjoy a heavily hopped, piney, bittersweet, fresh wild ride this is for you. The carefully thought out “expiration” date keeps it fresh and allows you to enjoy this brew the way it was meant to be enjoyed. This is a winner.
Food Pairing: I’ve had other releases in this series several times, and got to have the Enjoy By 4.20.14 three times – all of them with a variety of foods. This went nicely with some hot Buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing. The freshness sort of cooled down the spice. I’ve also had this with a charcuterie plate. Again, the spicier meats went well with the bitter and bright citrus flavors of this double IPA.
Overall rating out of 5 possible beer mugs: