Monday, July 29, 2013

Piña Colada in Beer Form!

“Robert Masterson & Ryan Reschan/Rip Current/Stone R&R Coconut IPA”

*R&R Coconut IPA

*Note: The review found below is based off the daught version of R&R Coconut IPA*

Home brewers Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan should be feeling pretty damn good about themselves right about now. They took top honors at an American Homebrewers Association (AHA) contest with a Coconut IPA. On top of earning recognition by the AHA, the top honor spoils included the wining homebrew was to be produced at Stone Brewing Company as a special brew. Thus, R&R Coconut IPA was born.

*R&R Coconut IPA
Now, it is nearly impossible to review this beer without comparing it to a collaboration beer brewed by Stone, Aleman and Two Brothers. Yes, the coveted and incredible Dayman Coffee IPA. We all remember Dayman and how the coffee flavors and aromas were not shy at all. In fact, the intense sweet and bitter coffee is holding the hop flavors and aromatics in a headlock as if “Two Brothers” were wrestling in the yard, with the younger of the brother breaking loose every so often to make his hoppy presence known. The moment you put your nose to Dayman, you knew it was a Coffee IPA.

Unlike Dayman, R&R does not have a profound coconut aroma or flavor for that matter. In R&R, we are first greeted with a flurry of tropical fruit-like aromas from the hops. Unless you are aware of the coconut in the beer, the presence of it in the perfume is low at best. No doubt it is a well made IPA with clean hoppy scents tickling your nose. Then, you take a sip…

The initial taste is that of a “Stone” IPA with firm hops, yet not as embracing as the more assertive Stone IPA’s. But wait, there’s something more. Is that the…? Is that…? There it is!! A lovely, soft taste of coconut creeps in ever-so elegantly in the back-palate (aftertaste). It’s as if the coconut sneaked up on the hops and gave them a gentle, coconut-milky kiss before blushing away. Add in a smooth, medium mouthfeel (texture of the actual liquid in your mouth) and you have a solid IPA that embodies what tropical breeze should taste like.

Overall, this is yet another quality collaboration put on by Stone. Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan deserve a standing ovation for dreaming up such a unique and interesting take on an IPA. Contrasting the previous IPA Stone collaboration, here the special flavor takes a back-seat and only adds yet another layer of complexity to an already impressive flavor profile. Who needs a Piña Coloda when you have R&R Coconut IPA? I suggest grabbing a pint (or two) and enjoy the breeze.

Author's Note:
Contrary to the tasting article above, the bottled version of this beer is quite puzzling. The coconut flavor is hit or miss out of a bottled R&R. Personally, I have had a few bottles from my collection, as well as from other sources, and the end result is actually disappointing. The coconut flavors are subtle at best and are not as "milky" as when I first encountered from the tap; the coconut notes out of the bottle are up-front rather than on the tail-end of the palate. And this is also inconsistent because some bottles of R&R are stingy with the coconut. I've had a couple thus far (also from my collection and from other sources) that have a very little, barely detectable coconut notes. To make things even more confusing, my collection was obtained from the same box, directly from the Stone Company Store in Pasadena, California. Not only were my bottles from the same store, they were obtained from the same box (I watched them open a new box directly taken from the storage cooler and placed into my hands, one by one)! Even though all of my bottles have undergone the exact same treatment, from store to home, there are still inconsistencies in the same batch of bottles. This is a perfect example of unforeseen reactions of a volatile ingredient and the unfortunate differences of a beer "on-tap" compared to its bottled equal. ToE's suggestion is to seek out the draught version while it's available. Otherwise, purchase bottles at your own risk and enjoy as fresh as possible!


-Gilbert “Charlie” Perez-

*These images are property of Stone Brewing Company and can be found in the following locations:

Visit the official Stone Brewing Company R&R Coconut IPA page for this brew for official tasting notes, food parings, and even more information. Enjoy!