Stone Brewing Co - Neverending Haze Hazy IPA
Stone Brewing has been a SoCal staple for years. Their beers are known for their unabashed punch of flavor that holds your taste buds in a full nelson after the first taste. Their Neverending Haze Hazy IPA is no different, but not in the way you'd expect. First off, it's a 4% ABV Hazy IPA. Which is way below the usual percentage we see with Hazy IPA's we've reviewed. Secondly, the aforementioned shoryuken of flavor comes in waves. It's an ultra combo of a beer experience that takes you from a deeply hazy pour, to an intense smell, leading to a calm initial taste, and finishes off to an unexpected explosion of hops that dissipates but lingers ever so slightly at the end. Confused? Go out and try it for yourself, you'll see what we mean.
Appearance: The initial pour leaves no room for interpretation. It confirms that this is a hazy IPA. The hazy, dark orange hue of this beer glares at you menacingly. Daring you to indulge in what is perceived to be a one-way trip to the hop zone. The beer forms a nice, thick head that doesn't linger too long after pouring.
Smell: The initial smell of this beer is chock full of tropical fruit notes. We identified mango, guava, and passion fruit. It smelled like you would expect a hoppy and juicy hazy IPA to smell. The smell is inviting, making your taste buds salivate at the anticipation of an explosion of flavor that is sure to floor even the most seasoned cicerone.
Flavor: Here's where things get interesting. The initial taste is not what everything else you've experienced would lead you to believe. The initial taste is crisp, light, pure. No fruitiness, no hoppiness, nada. Then, after a couple of seconds, the hops and their respective bitterness start to creep up. Keeping in line with our fighting video game similes, we can say that this the mega hadouken that finishes off the combo.
Marketing: The can design, in our opinion, is meant to illicit thoughts of tropical sunsets. In our case, we consider it an homage to the elongated afternoons and evenings that accompany spring and summer. Since it's a 4% ABV, we totally understand how this beer can be a staple at any long into the night beach party. Constantly supplying partygoers with full IPA flavor without KO'ing them after two beers.