Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale is 6.9%ABV Belgian India Pale Ale.
The name “Stone Cali-Belgique IPA” both begs a question, and answers it at the same time. It begs the “what exactly is that?” question, and then answers it: “Stone” designates this ale as one brewed by the Stone Brewing Co., “Cali” hints that it is a California-style IPA (which all of our IPAs are, as Stone is certainly one of the best known progenitors of the West Coast IPA style), and finally, it has an undeniable Belgian influence, indicated by the word “Belgique” (which is how Belgium’s French-speaking population say the word “Belgian”…the Dutch-speaking Belgians say “België”*). “IPA” of course stands for “India Pale Ale”—but this label is not the time nor place to delve into that storied history. Of course, there is the implicitly posed and as yet unanswered question of what exactly the Belgian/Belgique/België influence is. And “yeast” is the answer. We carefully selected a Belgian yeast strain that illuminates a fascinating new aspect of the ale that is otherwise ostensibly and simply Stone IPA. This is a yeast that showcases Stone IPA from a completely different angle. The result is both completely new and different, while still being altogether recognizable as a Stone brew, an IPA, and Stone IPA in particular. Think of it as an otherwise identical twin to Stone IPA that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.
Now, all grown up and standing next to each other, they look the same…yet different. We’d say the Belgian one sounds a bit funny when it talks, but yeast and ale being decidedly non-verbal (except through you), that’s not literally the case. Their aromas have some similarities, but the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA is decidedly a bit more, shall we say, aromatically funky. (No, we are not saying that Belgians smell funny…we didn’t say or imply that at all in any way…no angry cards or letters please…really, some of you people simply have too much time on your hands!) All in all, we find it all quite fascinating. But we’re brewers, and that’s the way we think. You might find it merely delicious. We, as brewers, most certainly do too, actually. And so…C’est avec le grand plaisir que nous le présentons vous! / Het is met geweldig genoegen dat wij het naar u voorstellen!
* Even though yeast cells are non-verbal, and arguably have no firm affiliation that shows preference for either the Flemish or the Walloons, we don’t want to accidentally misrepresent the little buggers. As such, approximately 50% of the Stone Cali-Belgian IPA bottles are labeled “Cali-Belgique” and the other half “Cali-België.” We at the Stone Brewing Co. respect both cultures highly and equally.
The last time I tried this beer was at a Bev and more tasting special in 2011. I thought it was awesome but I really haven’t had a chance to grab it and sit down with it. When I went to the Stone Company Store in Pasadena California I decided to grab a glass. I was very surprised because this reminded me so much of the As Follows Eschatological Ale by Stillwater Artisanal. The aromas of this beer are simple amazing. Strong Belgian sweet and honey bread fragrance with a lot of herbs, spices, peppercorns, minor grassy, piney and grapefruit hops some tropical fruit like pineapple and mango as well as oranges, cloves, and lemon. The flavors are of nice herbs, honey, pepercorns, cloves, coriander, Italian basil spice, bubblegum, orange, lemon, mango, pineapple, apricots, honey, french bread, some slight grape sourness, grapefruit, slight grassy and piney hops but mainly herbal and floral notes.This one is almost like the Saison du Buff too. The flavors are better on tap. Hence the reason I got a growler of this to go. Better as fresh as possible, but even if not, the Belgian side takes over to address even more complexity. So choose wisely 😛