Get this: before popping tonight’s bottle of Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, I had never tried the stuff. How the heck does that happen? Don’t look at me, I’m asking you. The beer has been out since 2008 and I know I’ve seen it on store shelves before. It’s just that there are so many beers these days that sometimes, one falls through the cracks. Until now anyway.
Seeing bomber bottles of Stone Cali-Belgique IPA in the refrigerated beer section of Target, how could I resist? So, I got the beer home and drank it the same day. Actually, only half of all bottles of this beer are named Cali-Belgique IPA; the other half are named Cali-Belgie for reasons I’ll let Stone explain, from the painted label bottle:
The name “Stone Cali-Belgique IPA” both raises the question as to it’s meaning and answers it: “Cali” hints that it is a California-style IPA, and “Belgique” (which is how Belgium’s French speakers say the name of their country; the Dutch-speaking Belgians say “Belgie”) highlights its undeniable Belgian influence. And what is that influence? Well, we carefully selected a Belgian yeast strain that presents a compelling twist on what is otherwise quite simply Stone IPA, making the beer something completely different while still recognizable as a relative of it’s very American predecessor. Think of it as Stone IPAs’s otherwise identical twin that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.
Stone Cali-Belgique IPA has an alcohol content of 6.9% by volume according to the bottle and 77 IBUs. I got it for an amazing $5.69, a bargain these days for sure. Stone says it is brewed with Magnum, Chinook & Centennial hops. Stone says this beer should be consumed within 120 days of packaging. I bought and drank my bottle on June 11th, while the bottle has an “Enjoy By” date of 9/07/15. So my sample was about a month old when I got it.
Stone Cali-Belgique IPA pours to a pale golden orange color with a thick rocky head formation and a complex perfumey nose of pineapple and passion fruit laced with Belgian yeasty funk. A very thick layer of Brussels Lace clings to the sides of my glass and follows the liquid all the way to the bottom of my glass.
Taking a sip, I get a light maltiness up front (quite light indeed, that “California IPA” thing working for you) followed by more of the tropical fruit I got in the nose though perhaps a bit more melony here, and the welcome clovey-spicy Belgian funky yeast notes. It’s all finished off by a dry herbal grassy hop aroma and bitterness, that bitterness really lingering long and dry.
Normally, I’m averse to these light bodied (read: no malt) IPAs (though “Califonia” or “San Diego” IPAs are meltier than “session IPA”), but here I have to say I love the delicate dance between light malt, soft fruity hops and funky yeasty spice. This beer really works, and at the price, I have to give this delicious Belgian IPA a full 5 stars.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.