Apocalyptic Brew: Stone Brewing Enjoy By 12.21.12

December 21 2012 - 12:35 AM

With the world ending on 12/21, there can’t be a better time to walk down memory lane.  I can recall first trying Stone’s Enjoy By 9.21.12 at Maria’s Packaged Goods early in the evening before a baseball game.  The hops were so powerful that I could smell their bouquet streaming out of the glass five feet away.  That was definitely a standout beer in 2012.  So, when I saw that Stone put forth another iteration of their “Enjoy By” series, the 12.21.12 brew, truer to the doomsday date of Mayan lore, I was compelled to try it, figuring that it was the identical mixture that had once floored me.  It is not.

Similar to its 9.21.12 brother, the 12.21.12 is an imperial IPA, clocking in at an almost ridiculous 9.4%. Some of these craft brews’ ABV’s flirt with outrageousness to the point of challenging enjoyability. The 9.21.12 demonstrated some elegance in terms of how the brewmaster disguised the hops in a bed of malt, only to deliver them in a satisfying punch on the finish.

Comparatively, the 12.21 comes off a bit more flat, although not in terms of carbonation; the brew is fine in that department.  Rather, the hops are much less buoyant in the later brew, and instead of being floral and citrusy, come across as grassy and onion-like.  It has the same sort of dull color as the Firestone Walker Double Jack, only the Double Jack delivers much more of the citrus and pine bite one would expect from a beer that massive, whereas the 12.21 is wanting and overly herbaceous.

It’s not a bad beer.  It’s still a Stone and stamped with that brewer’s high-quality brand.  But the mysterious hop mix they put together in the 12.21 could not be made to stand out in a rewarding fashion.  The standard Stone IPA that I had later that evening was livelier – a refreshing wake up call from the overly refined 12.21.12.  Sometimes a simple punch in the face is all you need.  What a perfect way to end the evening on the precipice of The End, right?