Tasting: July 18, 2014
Style: Imperial IPA
Hops are a fragile part of beer. The citrusy flavors and aromas we enjoy so much are difficult to impart into the brewing of beer and even harder to maintain once they start their journey to your beer fridge. Once bottled, the hop oils and alpha acids in your beer begin the fight against light, air, heat and time. Mind you, a hoppy beer past its prime will not hurt you – but what if I told you that light causes a chemical reaction in hops that produces the same smelly chemical found in skunk spray? Flash back to those skunked Heinekens you drank in college– right? We avoid skunks to avoid the foul-smelling liquid – why would we voluntarily put it right on our taste buds?
Brewers want consumers to have the best experience possible – so many of today’s brewers will indicate a bottled date or an expiration date. In most cases, you will find it in the tiniest of print wedged on the corner of a label. Stone Brewing has taken to drive the point home by dedicating a line of IPA that spells the message out loud and clear. I had one recently – it’s called Stone Enjoy By (insert the freshness expiration date). The one I had was Enjoy by 7/4/14.
Space Cake doesn’t offer any freshness advice on their label – at least, I can’t find it. The label does peg Space Cake at a robust 9.0% alcohol by volume. Really not much to say about Space Cake. It certainly brings a boat load of booziness and the associated heat. Maybe not the best choice on a humid evening after mowing the lawn. It does deliver citrusy flavor via mosaic hops and is robust with orange rind and pineapple. Space Cake also has a very solid caramel influenced malt base which does balance nicely with the strong hops – the booziness and heat detract from the overall experience. I’ll put Space Cake at a respectable 88 points.