Portland, Maine is certainly my preferred beer-drinking city. Within a fairly small area, one can choose from a growing array of multi-tap beer bars, microbreweries, and brewpubs. Stone Coast Brewing is Portland's newest brewpub, and one I have visited only once. It is a testament to the cooperative rather than competitive nature of Portland's beer scene that I actually tasted this beer at Gritty McDuff's brewpub which is only a stone's throw from Stone Coast. When I inquired of the barmaid why they would offer a competitor's beer, she explained that the two brewpubs were not in competition and that Stone Coast also carried a Gritty's beer. You can't help but admire such spirit.Stone Coast 420 IPA claims to be "The Best Beer In The Universe". While I'm not quite sure of that, it is a tasty brew to be sure. The beer is blond in color rather than the usual orange hue associated with an IPA. Carbonation is good and the beer retains a foamy white head. The nose is slightly soapy with a bit of hop aroma. When I sip the beer, I get a wonderfully crisp biscuity malt character followed by a bit of floral hoppiness and a slightly bitter finish. This beer could use a bit more hops to qualify as an IPA (even in the more restrained English sense of the style). I would peg it as a tasty pale ale rather than an IPA.
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.