Review: Stone Brewing Co. | Enjoy By 02.14.14 IPA

photography credit: West Side Beer Distributing, http://www.westsidebeer.com/enjoyby_ipa_021414

photography credit: West Side Beer Distributing, http://www.westsidebeer.com/enjoyby_ipa_021414

Stone has done it again. With a stroke of brilliance, they’ve cranked out another celebration of instant gratification. The Enjoy By series has made a name for itself for its wild success in the craft beer world. Who would have known; who would have guessed that beer drinkers ACTUALLY want fresh beer? Who could have guessed this? Who could have been so bold and so innovative that they realized that beer drinkers appreciate the potent, the nubile, the novel, the imminent? Stone lucked out in the fact that absolutely NO ONE tapped this obvious resource, and have since reaped the benefits.

However–

At the time I tried 02.14.14,

By the end of the night,

I was assured of one thing:

I did not “enjoy” myself that evening.

CHAPTER 1 – Appearance:

                The parlor was closed for a party, so I approached the bar and sat down. It was a nice bar in a nice restaurant.  I was dressed especially well for the establishment—clean, but not stuffy: pristine Dior dress shirt, beaten corduroys, burgundy suede shoes, and a wool scarf to keep me warm. The weather in the valley this year was menopausal. It was another brisk day that would kill your sperm count. It seems like it was just last Sunday that I stepped out my front door in a tee shirt.

Oh right, it was Sunday.

My mustachioed barkeep vacillated back and forth over my age when I ordered a beer, while oscillating between the tap and the counter. There was a look in his eyes that came off somewhat maternal—like a protective raccoon ready to rip your sack clean off.

                I was flattered, but not really.

                I just couldn’t be trusted.

                It was a little endearing.

                The fucking tease.

                As if my hairline and beard could not prove enough, I produced my papers and settled the score.

                I savored my amber prize. The day was long, the air was cold, and the beer was clear and crisp, like a fine, delicate honey. Brilliantly effervescent like celebratory champagne, I toasted the setting sun with the satisfaction of that greasy, “pull-my-finger” uncle with a niece to take the bait.

 With that, I took out my book—

—and immediately realized I was the guy that brings a book to a bar.

                Momentarily, I was paralyzed in paranoia and neurosis.

                I furtively darted my eyes around in shame as if I had dropped trow’ underneath the table. Now, I assured myself that this was a restaurant with a bar, not the other way around, and that this was a completely normal and totally cool thing to do. I mean, I couldn’t back out if it now. I had to embrace it. YES world, I am drinking and reading in a bar on a Thursday and this is a thing I do, as if a conventional social life is a frivolous matter, as if the creature comforts of home are unmatched to the tempting wiles of the lush life.

Go fuck yourself.

                And now I look like a prick.

                Fantastic.

CHAPTER 2 – Smell

                The waning light accentuated the soft glow of the dining room lanterns, and this stood at odds with the strength of the drink. Other contradictions mounted. Two suits to my right were talking business or risk management or something like two pubescent, insecure locker room Joes trying to stretch ‘em out to see who’s bigger. Didn’t matter; I was still the fag with the book. The lump of a man to my left kinda squelched the seat cushion of the bar stool as he hunched over, literally onto the bar. He wasn’t really a fat man, just a massive one.  He was a golem of flesh and chronic bitchface and he clutched his glass like a sippy cup. Apparently, we ordered the same drink. Stupidly, I gave him that kind of look like our affinity for the same beer made us equals, as if I knew his life story. I didn’t know shit, and he let me know that. He didn’t snarl at me, but he looked like he did. I raised the glass to my face, ignoring his grimace, and the smell of the beer was orgasmic. It was so fresh and vegetal. I pictured myself, for a moment, in the hop yards: a cool, dank air wafted around me. There was a young, chive like herbaceous quality to it. All the same, there was grapefruit and mandarin orange. I set the glass down.

CHAPTER 3 – Taste

                I began to realize I hadn’t eaten since noon only after as I got just about halfway through the glass. I suddenly became more appreciative.

                Golly, I didn’t know why.

                The first sips were spectacular. That oniony pucker, that bitter lemon zest, that earthy pine pitch and cannabis, oh, and that sweet pineapple lusciously lingered in my mouth. It lingered a while. It lingered a good long while. The juggernaut ordered some octopus and he awkwardly ham-handed into his gaping pocket of a face. He vigorously hacked and wheezed at the poor bartender. I slowly lifted my eyes from my novel and craned my neck slightly to his purple, agonizing face. His expression was abominable. He bitched and moaned and dismissed his meal. Quite literally, he picked up the plate, threw it at the bartender’s face, and barked at her to eat it off the floor as he defecated at her. AT her.

                I am definitely not lying.

                Well, OK, that’s how it felt.

                The room began spinning.

                I was so uncomfortable. I have James and the Giant Peach barfing insults at the waitress while Fart Richman and Bank Thurmond Baxterhouse masturbate over stock options.  I realize I need to slow down. Suddenly, I notice the attractive blonde in the kitchen is looking towards me—but is she looking at me? Why, what am I doing? I stare back at her. She goes back to work, as if it’s her fucking job or something. Whatever, I go back to reading and tune out the riff raff. I glance back up—AH, she’s definitely looking at me! With a burst of courage and self-worth, I pay my tab, and get the fuck out.

                The drive home was great too.

                There is nothing like public radio to tell you all about pregnant Olympians with their skin flaps and explosive incontinence.

                I’m starting to think “Enjoy By” isn’t an admonition, but a challenge.

                I accept it.

 *9.5 out of 10*

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