In the world of IPAs, it can feel like there’s some sort of arms race where the ABVs keep climbing higher and higher. And sure, those can be great flavor bombs, but sometimes it can just be a bit much. That’s why we’re seeing brewers experiment more with lighter offerings, that cut down on some of the excess. Recently, I tried some Stone Features + Benefits which does just that.
Right off the bat, you know that the Stone Features + Benefits is something different than your usual IPA offering. Right on the label, you’re told all the things that they’ve done to make the beer different – it’s got reduced gluten, it’s under 100 calories for a bottle, carbs under 3g, and a very light 4% ABV rating. In other words, this is a beer that’s trying to do more by doing less.
Then again, when I’ve tried these lower ABV IPAs in the past, it’s been a mixed bag, as the brewing process doesn’t lend itself to as powerful of flavors. So, how did the Stone Features + Benefits stack up? I found it to have a very faint nose, and the flavor itself was fairly mild. It was very crisp and clean on the tongue, and it doesn’t carry the sharp bitterness that an IPA can have. In other words, this was pretty good from the mix of gluten free, or lower ABV, beers that I’ve tried.
Is it going to replace your favorite hazy boi in the fridge, if you’re not looking for lower calories or reduced gluten? No, probably not. That said, I think the Stone Features + Benefits could fit quite nicely in the fridge (or cooler) for a refreshing drink after a day in the sun. Unfortunately, the canned version is only available in California for some reason, so it’ll be bottles for the rest of us. If you’re looking for a lower-cal, low-carb, low-gluten option that isn’t from the big conglomerates, the Stone Features + Benefits is worth checking out. stonebrewing.com
Details from Stone Brewing
- Style: IPA
- ABV: 4%
- IBUs: 23
- 95 calories, 2.9g carbs
- FEATURED HOPS: Cashmere, Vic Secret, Azacca, Mosaic
- FLAVOR PROFILE: Orange, pear, white peach, melon and black pepper
- PALATE: Light bodied, crisp and refreshing with a pleasant short finish
- APPEARANCE: Straw yellow, clear, with a thin white head
- AROMA: Orange peel, lemon, spice and light grain character
This beer is fermented in a manner that breaks down and removes gluten, rendering gluten levels so significantly that the beer qualifies as a “gluten-reduced” ale per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s a nice bonus that will allow nearly everyone out there to enjoy our bold style of craft beer.