Liquid


Liquid

Soaking Up the Suds with James Crane

 

Happy Anniversary
Ever since I’ve started writing about beer, I’ve made it a point to review Stone’s Anniversary Ale. Every year, they release a big beautiful beer that does amazing things with my tongue and heart. Whenever I get wind that a new one is released, I get rather excited. Its just a bit like Christmas time for my mouth — a drunk and boozy Christmas time, but Christmas time nonetheless.
This year, they released their 17th Anniversary Ale. It’s name is Götterdämmerung. Sounds like Thor’s hammer, right? Well, you wouldn’t be too terribly far off.  Götterdämmerung is the German translation of Ragnarök, the great battle between the Gods of Norse Mythology at the end of the world. Wolves swallow Gods whole, the sun turns black, and flames touch the heavens. Obviously, there will be death metal playing in the back ground.
The name certainly promised a feisty brew. Images of Vikings swilling beer from big horns filled my head as I cracked the bottle open. If ever there was a time I regretted not knowing any bawdy drinking songs or owning an axe, this was certainly it. Thankfully, the Iron Maiden station on Pandora fulfilled my need for appropriate drinking music.
The scent was ripe with sweet malt, which seems odd for an IPA. There was certainly notes of hops, but they seemed to play a more supportive role, being more of a grassy and citrus-like quality than bitter. It smelled just a bit like bread with slight hints of spice as well. The smell suggested a complex and varied brew. The taste told me a slightly different story, however.
At first sip, I could taste the German malt. It was quickly washed out by the bitterness of the hops. Subsequent gulps hinted at citrus and spice, but these too were soon overwhelmed by the hops. It seemed every swallow tried to suggest various nuances associated with a Malty German Brew like a Pilsner. Each time, however, this seemed quickly overwhelmed by the standard Stone IPA flavor profiles.
Don’t get me wrong. This beer was delicious and quite bold. It certainly didn’t taste like it was a 9% ABV. It just seemed a lot of the subtleties were lost as the stronger flavors dominated. The hops hit the tongue like Mjölnir, smiting all lesser tastes with overwhelming bitterness. While complex in their own right, the hops just weren’t enough to make this one truly distinct for me. It tasted like any other Stone IPA without enough nuance to truly set it apart. Compared to their Anniversary Ale last year, which was rich in lemon flavor and rye, it’s just a bit common.
Is it worth getting? Absolutely. It’s still a good beer. Stone just raises their own bar so high by releasing consistently amazing beers that this one finds it hard to compete. I will admit that it had been my second beer of the evening, so my palate may not have been as fresh as it should have been. You might find a lot more depth to it that was washed out by my earlier beer. If I’m wrong, let me know. I’m just looking for an excuse to try this one again. I already have plenty of Black Sabbath on the play list.