Stillwater Why Can't IBU

When I placed the four pack of this on the counter at my local distributor, the guy behind the counter abruptly and unexpected said, "Oh, good choice!" I am cautious with my choice of something that looks psychedelic and has the word "artisanal" on the label. I've been burned by hipster beer before, and I hate that those people are such an influence on craft beer. Still, it means I have more choices. And more choices is better.

The color is a foggy straw yellow with a stark white head that is thick and frothy. It sticks VERY well to the sides of the glass leaving lacing that covers about as well as paint on the wall of the last room I painted. The aroma is floral hops and lemon spice. There's more to the smell, but it's hard to put my finger on. I'd say it smells like flowers and grains as well.

First sip is pretty damn strong. It overwhelms the mouth with flowers and spices and wheat and biscuits and lemons and orange and grass and earth and a whole host of new and different tastes that won't all fit in a simple sip. Yes, this means a manly swig is in order.

Tip-in is sharp and lemony with grains and flowers pervading every nook of the mouth with a carbonation burn following closely. As the middle arrives, flower stems scrape the top of the mouth and back of the throat as oranges and lemons and spices dance around on the tongue. The overall sensation is a good one, but it's probably a bit aggressive for most people; it's the opposite of the soothing taste that sits in the center of a Guinness Stout. The finish hits with a sharp bite of bitterness and floral hops. Undercurrents of spices and bread mellow it out a bit, and the whole drink makes me want to come back for more.

Update: It gets more mellow and drinkable as it warms. WAY more mellow. The sharp bites and even the flower stems seem to go away in favor of a more sublime drink. I initially gave this beer a 3.75, and I'm upping it to a 4.0. I'm half tempted to go higher.

Bottom Line: A deliciously hoppy beer with a bite when cold that not everyone will love. Let it warm up a bit, and things really get good.

3.75/5

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