I resigned myself to make another trip to Joliet to see what I could see in the beer store. All the way there, and all the way back it rained. Overcast and gloomy, the wipers were on steady the entire way. Spray from the semis and other vehicles added to the lack of visibility.
While at the store, I noticed something new from Stone Brewing. It was a collaboration with two other breweries, Ecliptic and Wicked Weed called Points Unknown IPA. The label claimed it was a blend of a double IPA and a barrel aged tripel. WTF? How do they think this stuff up? I could only imagine how this would taste. Even though I had an outstanding IPA from 3Floyds last week, I decided buy this collab beer just to find out what it tasted like.
While I paid the man, he asked me, “What have you heard about this?” I gave a shrug. He then looked at me and smiled, “Carrot cake.” Really? Carrot cake? I wasn’t a big fan of carrot cake, but the guy already had my money. And I do like tripels and IPAs and beer. I decided to stick with what I had.
The Stone website pointed out the hop varieties used: Magnum, Styrian Celeia, Amarillo, Calypso, Jarrylo. The Styrian and the Jarrylo are completely new to me. I wasn’t getting any farther.
What if I mixed 8 ounces of Lagunitas Maximus IPA (or reasonable facsimile) with 4 ounces of Victory Golden Monkey tripel? I tried to wrap my mind around that. Apparently that’s similar to what I had. I was still nowhere because I had never done that.
I had a blend of two beer styles that I really like. I wondered if one would stand out over the other. I wondered if this was way off base and would taste like bathwater.
The decisive moment was at hand. I grabbed a bomber of Points Unknown and wondered if that’s exactly where I’d wind up.
The beer poured with an orange color and was almost crystal clear. Some haziness was present but I could easily see the micro-bubbles rising. It had a nice fluffy white head of about 3/4 inch. The aroma was of a fruity nature, similar to a tangerine and with a slight bit of hops.
The first sip was odd. I was expecting massive hops and that tripel yeasty flavor and got something… well, odd. The beer didn’t taste bad, in fact it was quite good but I had a hard time placing the flavors in these first sips.
Nice initial sweetness followed by some mysterious fruity character and a pleasant, crisp swallow. Medium mouthfeel. I’d be hard pressed to call it a double IPA. Pale ale or IPA, I’ll grant you, but DIPA… it falls just short of the massive hoppiness I was used to. Unless one goes by ABV alone. I never tasted a huge amount of IBUs.
Because of the mysterious flavors, I would find it difficult to remember the taste of this beer for future reference. It was like a mixture of orange, pineapple and grapefruit in small quantities. I’d bet that if I asked my friend Joe Blow to pinpoint the style of this beer, he’d be confused only to make a guess.
But just like 3Floyds classifies their beer anyway they want, perhaps Stone, et al. have decided on a style just to shut the other guys up. They’d call it what they want regardless.
Try to remember the taste of Lagunitas’ Brown Shugga. Take away a bit of maltiness and add a bit of fruitiness. That would come close our beer at hand. The hops in this beer seem to have forgotten their lines.
The beer doesn’t shine a spotlight on any one individual ingredient or flavor. The beer stands for what it is, a slightly sweet and malty beverage. I never got any carrot cake flavor out of this, so don’t worry.
Overall, the beer was quite tasty and made for a most pleasurable drinking experience. The more I sipped, the more I liked it. If you’re feeling a little odd, pick up a bomber or two. You’ll be surprised.
Style: Blend, or Category 23 or other or unknown
Taste: Sweet, slightly fruity and a bit odd.
Smoothness: Easy going for a DIPA.
Drinkability: Slows down after a while.
Bang for the buck: Not bad by comparison.
Amount paid: $8.99 per 22-ounce bottle.
Get it again? I dunno. But I’d drink it again.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Cloudy, Orangey. (sniff) Hmm. Kinda sweet smelling. (sip) Sweet grapefruit. Yeah. (sip) It’s got something else in there that I can’t place. (sip) Maybe tangerine. (sip) Not bad. (Once again, she’s on my side. A 4 sipper.)
Ecliptic/Wicked Weed/Stone Points Unknown IPA [3:00]