Review: Stone/Beachwood/Heretic Brewing | Unapologetic IPA

You know a Michael Bay preview when you see one.

You know one, five, maybe ten seconds into a trailer. You know the low, gravelly bass tone that thunders like a gargantuan, mammoth fart through the surround sound. My mouth agape, I could taste it.

Yes, again.

A dumbfounded Megan Fox, trying so hard to feign perspicuity, mimics my expression.










Never mind, I’m not watching a preview for a Michael Bay movie.
I’m not watching the unfolding of a major motion picture flop.
I’m not watching the crumbling of Western Civilization.
I’m not watching the cinematized bastardization of masculinity.

I’m drinking a beer
At home
In my jean shorts.

Sigh…. Another Stone collab…

Mitch Steele is trying so hard with this one… so effortlessly.

Unapologetic IPA is a collaboration beer between Stone Brewing, Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, and Heretic Brewing, all out of California.

Unapologetic IPA is a Double IPA, coming in at 8.8% ABV, exploding with coy, light malts, and wild, schizophrenic, fancy, new, experimental hops.

Unapologetic IPA is the self-indulgent writer’s strike of 2008. It’s the Dr. Horrible of beer, it’s got the understated wit of Joss Whedon, yet the masturbatory pomp of the aforementioned king of shitty summer movies.

It’s a menacing clusterfuck of aromas and flavors.

Feel me

So, this one is a bit complicated.

It’s sexy looking. I’ll give it that. It’s a bright amber color. By that, I mean it has that classic prehistoric fossilized amber quality you see bugs and crap encapsulated in. It’s every 2nd grade boy’s dream to find in the woods. It’s beautiful. It’s romantic. It’s a fucking candle on a cupcake. It has decent, yet subtle lacing. With a soapy, white head, it wraps around the glass gently. Vigorous carbonation streams towards the top of the glass.

Its aroma is misleading. It is lighter than anticipated. There’s actually some caramel upfront; then come the hops. Candied orange, nectarine, lemon, a little boozy heat come up from the glass. Yowza, good golly, is that strawberry? I think so, but I know there’s some tropical fruit on the end, boy howdy.

I take a long, hard gulp.

Again, it’s hoppy, balanced, but not as in your face as I would have anticipated. There’s a bunch of over the top, experimental hops varietals in this beer. It’s horrifically zany—like a Stephen King novel—how much these folks (Mitch Steele of Stone, Jamil Zainasheff of Heretic, and Julian Shrago of Beachwood) obsessively dedicated themselves to paltry decadence in crafting this beer.

Here’s what’s going on here with the wacko experimental hops:
• The Azacca is going crazy with some citrus
• The Belma adds some herbal notes along with the bittersweet character of Meyer lemon
• The HBC lends a little pine, but it’s very slight
• The Steiner adds some balance with some middle of the road pine and citrus character.

Back to the beer itself—
Given the simple malt bill, it lets the hops shine, despite the muddled complexity. It’s like the “cool parents” who go off to vacation in Pennsylvania for the weekend, leaving the house to their 16-old-kid, inviting him to “just have a few friends over” and saying, “just don’t rifle through the liquor cabinet in the cabinet just to the right of the fridge… no, the next right… yeah, that cabinet.”

It’s bitter, unashamed hedonism.





To an extent, it is very sweet. I’d find it hard to drink more than one glass (but I’m desperately trying to). Tropical fruits dominate the palate—guava is heavy, but then comes citrus—particularly lemon, Meyer lemon, maybe—then mostly orange, finally comes a nectarine finish. It’s nice, but it pounds the palate. I’m probably crazy, but I also get a hint of coconut.

If I’m wrong about the taste, there is at least some coconut on the mouthfeel. It coats the mouth oily. It then tingles, and trickles down the gullet, leaving a stickiness akin to higher ABV beers.

Yeah, nasty.

Fuck wit it tho. It’ll pump your johnnies.


Alright, alright. It’s fine, it’s grand, it’s a good beer. It’s just got so much going on. I personally don’t mind it but in order to enjoy it, you just have to think of it as an IPA. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s a big, weird, IPA, and that’s it.

Wait, something witty to wrap this up?

Something about Firefly and Joss Whedon?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I don’t fucking know.

*8.0 out of 10*



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