Two breweries that helped define American craft beer have teamed up to create a barrel-aged IPA that’s rolling out to stores in 22 oz. bottles this week.
Southern California’s Stone Brewing Company has joined forces with the iconic, Northern California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Company to create NxS IPA (NxS = North by South), a barrel-aged IPA blended with a fresh, dry-hopped batch of the same IPA.
“Since Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has been an inspiration for Stone, and me personally, for our entire brewing careers, we were thrilled to be asked to brew a beer with one of the most admired craft brewers in the world,” said Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele in a press release. “When brainstorming this collaborative recipe, there was no doubt that we should brew a memorable IPA and we wanted to combine unique elements from each brewer. For Stone, that meant barrel-aging a portion of the beer at our barrel warehouse.”
To create this significant collaboration, batches of an IPA were brewed and bittered with Magnum hops before providing the backdrop for a three-way late-kettle addition involving Amarillo, Chinook and Cascade. Given that whole flower Cascade hops have been a mainstay in Sierra Nevada’s beer portfolio, the classic hop varietal was necessary for this creation. The first batch, created months earlier, was split down the middle, with 50 percent being aged in gin-infused bourbon barrels and the other half making its way into rye whiskey barrels. The aged portions were then blended with a new, fresh batch of IPA, which was generously dry-hopped to impart rich hop aromas to accompany the citrusy, piney, woody, spice flavors of this multilayered collaboration.
To experience the extra dose of hops blended with oak and spirit flavors, the beer should be enjoyed fresh. Over time, the hop qualities will subside, allowing for more prevalent spicy notes of spirits and oaky vanilla character to shine through.
Stone & Sierra Nevada NxS IPA
Specs: 8.2% ABV, 70 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22 oz. bottles and draft, beginning December 7
Hops: Magnum, Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Mosaic
Tasting notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele
Appearance: Pours deep gold with an amber hue.
Aroma: Peach and citrus hop aromas followed immediately by the spicy, piney notes of gin and the vanilla aspects of oak.
Taste: A really nice blend of fruity hops, oaky vanilla notes and finishes with a pleasant hint of spicy spirits and good hop bitterness.
Palate: Medium body and bitter with a little bit of warmth.
Suggested pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak
Appetizers: Coconut shrimp, pork satay, goat cheese-stuffed mushrooms, Filipino lumpia, pumpkin ravioli
Soups & Salads: Tofu chili, cheddar cheese soup, chicken and white bean soup, pear and endive chopped salad, mixed greens with miso and ginger dressing
Entrées: Roasted turkey, pork loin, pho, root vegetable hash with fried egg, pasta carbonara
Cheeses: Parmesan, Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar, Manchego, pepper jack
Desserts: Carrot cake, peach cobbler, apple strudel, spice bread
Cigars: Drew Estate Herrera Esteli, Davidoff Winston Churchill, Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Candela Lonsdale