Stone’s seasonal red IPA packs a hefty, hoppy punch that still maintains a leisurely mellow profile.
Stone has a newly added seasonal red IPA that surely strikes a sentimental chord with co-founder Greg Koch–the beer’s namesake is identical to his hometown, after all.
This particular beer was crafted last September in an effort to support the local musical and arts programs in Pataskala, Ohio. Pastakala Red X IPA made the cut on pure taste merit, and Stone released it on Feb. 1, 2016. It is currently available as a six-pack and on draft at select locations.
Enough about the background. Let’s delve into the specifics.
It is an amber (or rather, more reddish), as you already know , so you can expect the usual malty warmth and goodness that ensues after the first sip. But don’t take that aspect for granted; if you know Stone, you know that they never use run-of-the-mill ingredients with any beer they craft. The Escondido-based brewco used a new specially-crafted malt from BESTMALZ (based in Heidelberg, Germany) called Red X. It is a dark grain that gives the beer it’s reddish hue. In some respects, it has caramel/toffee notes that seem to creep in as well.
Since it is a red IPA, you undoubtedly get a hoppy IPA taste to boot. And boy, does it have a good heaping of them. It is entirely dry-hopped with Amarillo, Cascade and Mosaic hops, so the natural assumption is that is going to be a total pine tree blast straight to the palate. Yet, despite being quite citrusy on paper, this beer is surprisingly balanced. Perhaps the toasty warmth compensates for citrus intensity, or perhaps the malt/hops ratio leans more toward the malt instead. Either way, Stone created a red IPA that is as abundantly flavorful as it is unique.
HOT: Uses a newly developed, exotic malt that gives lots of flavor.
NOT: The aggressive dry-hopping might overwhelm more casual drinkers, despite the malty profile to balance things.
Like Boulevard Brewing Co.’s Red IPA, it has 75 IBUs. A little higher than other red ales/IPAs, but the flavor masks its bitterness very well. It also has a decent ABV rating at 7.3 percent, not too strong, not too light. Though not technically an Imperial IPA, the feel of this beer is somewhat reminiscent to one, and it could certainly seem that way to a person in a taste test without knowing how much alcohol is in it beforehand.
The copious amounts of hops beckons the initial thought of pairing it with fresh, white sauce-based pasta or chicken breast entrees. Letting the flavor mature in the mouth for a while longer significantly changes that notion to something more mesquite, as this beer has a subtle smoky accent.
Top foods to pair with:
- Smoked fish
- Fresh dough pizza (margherita, pesto, etc.)
- Ramen or Pho
- Grilled cheese (gouda, swiss)
Is Red X IPA a year-round drinker?
Yes. Given its uniqueness, its balanced ingredients and its compatibility with a rather large spectrum of foods, this beer is certainly drinkable year-round. It is a shame it is seasonal and that its freshness lasts only a few months from its bottle date.
Hoptastic Rating: 4.2/5