Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stone Brewing R&R Coconut IPA Review

Stone Brewing R&R Coconut IPA
7.7% ABV, 90 IBU

Stone’s R&R Coconut IPA is a collaboration beer created by Stone, Rip Current Brewing of San Marcos, CA, and homebrewers Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschen.  It was Masterson and Reschen who invented this unique spin on the classic IPA, with which they won the grand prize at Stone’s homebrewing competition.  The brewmasters at Rip Current and Stone stepped in to help with the mass production, allowing us East Coasters to try one incredibly creative and refreshing barley pop.  

The “R&R” is a double entendre signifying the creators’ names (Robert and Ryan) and the rest-and-relaxation associated with sitting beachside nursing a tropical drink.  The bottle text is full of such imagery (“Open, enjoy, rest, relax and repeat as needed”), and, true to form, the flavor is so tropical-esque it comes dangerously close to requiring a parasol when served.  The whole marketing scheme seems to be aimed at making this the new beach beer, which is interesting, considering that craft beer at the beach is so tricky; it’s tough to enjoy a complex, heavy brew with 100 degrees of sun beating down on you.  That’s why a lot of us will opt for the cheap stuff – it’s light and not filling.  

Although I was in my living room when I tried this, for what it’s worth I tried imagining I was at the beach.  The first deep whiff smells like a medium-bodied IPA.  The hops are certainly present in the scent, with some floral and fruity notes, but I couldn’t find the coconut.  Likewise, the taste is initially all IPA, although certainly sweeter and a bit lighter than most.  The tropical flavoring sneaks up on you like a strong undertow, the hoppiness slowly subsiding at first, then replaced by a coconutty goodness that rushes in like a tidal wave and takes over with a sweet, lingering aftertaste.  I can definitely see how well this would complement a lazy day at the beach.

Now, coconut is a bit of a divisive flavor, and not everyone likes it.  Personally, I can’t get enough of it, so I naturally loved this beer.  My significant other, however, found it to be much too sweet for her liking.  Admittedly, the entire 22oz bottle was hard to finish for that very reason, which is why I would suggest sharing it with a friend.  Overall, though, I thought this was just really fun to drink because it has such a common and recognizable flavor that is pretty much unheard of in a beer.  I certainly appreciate the ingenuity that went into this project, making a beer with a tropical spin on it that you can enjoy at the beach, or anywhere, without having to compromise substance or taste.

Review By Joe Geglio

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