No brewery is more synonymous with hoppy than Stone Brewing Company. Stone’s beers are, for the most part, unapologetically bitter. Stone Ruination 2.0 is not only one of Stone’s finest, it is the defining West Coast IPA. Bright, clear, and unfettered by malt balance; Stone Ruination 2.0 is bitter perfection from first sniff until the long aftertaste of the last sip fades. The strikingly clear golden orange liquid evokes images of ocean waves shimmering under a slow-setting sun. Perched atop the beer is a dense, creamy head whose bursting bubbles delight the nose with aromas of tropical fruit, melon, pineapple, and pine. The only sweetness detected is that of tropical and citrus fruits coming from the hops rather than any sugary malt sweetness. This carries to the flavor of this medium-bodied beer. After a slight carbonation burn, there is just a fleeting hint of tropical and citrus sweetness. As the beer flows towards the back of the tongue, the bitterness usurps any control the sweet fruitiness was trying to assert with a piney and resinous strike. This unrelenting assault on the taste buds continues as it flows towards the throat. The hints of citrus hops are overshadowed by a dominant piney and grassy finish that builds to a tongue-scorching hop bite long after the liquid is gone. The main contribution from the malt in Ruination 2.0 is to bump the ABV to 8.5% and take the IPA to an imperial level. The beer is a year-round release from Stone and is available in 6 packs of bottles. It goes great with spicy Thai food, sharp cheeses, and bitter chocolates. I only wish this beer came in cans making it pair better with bikepacking (though the gargoyle cap has been on my stem since last summer). But there is always the stainless mini-growler option to take it from the tap to the trail. Ruination 2.0 is not for everyone nor is it meant to be. Hop heads unite, and raise a glass that is both a toast to our common love of the hop and a thank you to those that will still brew a beer that is not a tasteless, profit-oriented conglomerate sell-out. Cheers, Alex Bikepacker Friendliness (the glass doesn’t lend itself to the trail)…6/10 Aroma (a hop bouquet)…9/10 Flavor (bitter is beautiful)…10/10 Style Appropriateness (THE West Coast IPA)…10/10

3 Comments

  1. What is it with cyclists and beer? Go to any bicycling internet space and find me a review of a Chardonnay. Or a Grenache. Dare ya!

    BTW Stone is on my short list.

  2. Pingback: New Belgium Citradelic Tangerine IPA - Bikepackers Magazine

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