“A Punch to the Stinger”
Stone Scorpion Bowl IPA
By Bill Lau | Potable Pastime
7.5% ABV, 76 IBUs, India Pale Ale brewed with Mosaic, Loral and Mandarina Bavarian hops
Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA and Richmond, VA
So-named because one of the tasters of the prototype commented that it reminded them of a scorpion bowl Tiki cocktail. Stone also points out on their website that no fruit was used in brewing this beer, only hops. This is analogous to Bavarian wheat beers and many Belgian and Trappist beers, which present notes of spices (cloves or vanilla, for example) and fruit (banana, plum) that are created solely by the variety of yeast employed and the fermentation conditions. Pretty cool, if you ask me. (But then I find yeast to be a quite extraordinary little organism, all things considered.)
I like the bright, colorful graphics on the bottle (interesting aside – Stone’s bomber bottles were silk-screen printed once upon a time; now I note the graphics are actually printed on a clear adhesive sleeve; I wonder when that changed?). Certainly evokes the right mood for a Tiki-themed beer from Stone. As usual, the lengthy story on the label is entertaining as well. Off to a good start!
Pours out a pale orangey-amber-to-deep golden hue, clear and bright, capped with a thick top of near-white foam. This slowly subsides to a thin layer, leaving a ring around the top of the glass and foamy sheets rising up from the sustained head. It beckons me closer.
I don’t have to get to close before the aroma hits. Luscious waves of tropical fruit leap out of the glass to my nose; orange and lemon certainly, (add in tangerine as it warms a bit) with hints of mango and guava. Lovely and inviting!
Having gone this far, I can’t stop now – so I take that initial sip and am blown away by the sheer wall of tropical flavor hitting my palate. It comes in like a 50-foot wave, crashing in with loads of citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit) and tropical fruit (mango, guava), followed by pithy bitterness backing this all up. Malt? Sure, I can make out some supporting malt, but this is first and foremost a maximum hop assault. (I know, so out of character for Stone, right? Ha!)
So – does it remind me of its namesake Tiki drink? Well, it certainly does have strong tropical fruit character; orange and lemon in particular being the key 2 fresh fruit juices in a classic Scorpion. I didn’t really expect to catch any rum, brandy, or orgeat (almond) syrup notes (the other significant ingredients in the cocktail), but there’s enough complexity and gosh-darned flavor enjoyment that I don’t really care. So color me on board with the comparison.
Highly recommended. I bet this would go beautifully with some fried spring rolls, pot stickers, rumaki, or grilled Polynesian-style pork skewers. And grilled pineapple. Now that I think of it, one could garnish the glass with a chunk of pineapple and a little paper umbrella. Next time, I shall! ‘Cuz I will definitely be getting more of this!
Party on, Stone brewers!