Beer of the Week

Five Things About … Stone’s Tangerine Express IPA

1) Earlier this year I caused a bit of a storm in a schooner glass by pointing out that some US beers seem to have a longer shelf life in Australia than in their home country. In some cases, the brewer is recommending Americans not drink a particular beer of theirs after three months, while here it can be good to go for a year – according to the use-by dates stamped on the cans and bottles.

2) I get the argument that part of that time would be eaten up in shipping the beer here, and that some bottle shops won’t touch a beer that has a short three-month use-by date. And so a 12-month date is slapped in it. And, while it is claimed stock is always rotated to ensure freshness it’s not usual for me to be able to walk into both small bottle shops and big box retailers in Wollongong and find one of these beers with nine or 10 months gone on that use-by date.

3) And I am looking regularly – particularly for Stone’s Go To IPA. The first time I had one of those it was really fresh and I loved it. Every time I see that beer in a fridge or on a shelf here in Wollongong I check the dates to see if it’s new stock but it never is – five months old is the best I’ve found  (10 months is the worst – no way was I buying that). But if I find some that’s fresh, I’m buying that sucker.

4) All of which is to say I don’t have an anti-Stone agenda. If I find it fresh enough, I’ll buy it. And, credit where credit’s due; the Stone use-by dates here give a best-before AND a bottled on date, which means I can look at the second date and figure for myself if I want to buy it (just using the former tells me nothing, given I don’t know how many months the brewer has put on their beer).

5) Which brings me to Stone’s Tangerine Express IPA. This bottle had been bottled two months before I picked it up so it fell within my three-month window. There is supposed to be tangerine puree (is that just a fancy word for thick juice) here but I didn’t get a lot of that flavour. But I got enough of it – and some pineapple too – to make me happy. And there was the big bitterness you expect from a US IPA – and it was still in balance with the rest of the beer too.

Free or paid for?: I bought this bottle from First Choice Liquor. Imagine going back four years and telling geeks that First Choice Liquor would sell Stone in 2017. They would have laughed in your face. And then maybe asked you to share the secrets of time travel.

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