Stone was filling growlers of Supremely Self-Conscious Black Session IPA, a beer I wanted to try after reading this glowing review from the Irish beer blog The Beer Nut late last week. The review was on a similarly named Stone Supremely Self-Conscious Black Ale, a collaboration between Stone and Britain's Adnams Brewery. I'm not sure whether the two beers were the same - mine was labeled Black IPA, and the blog post and Adnams' website referenced a Black Ale - but I figure they must be close. When I read the review I wasn't sure whether this low alcohol black ale was a UK-only release or not, but when I saw it available for growler fills I had to get it. It didn't disappoint.
Rather than write a new review, I am posting the Beer Nut's excellent description:
Second on my hitlist was Supremely Self-Conscious Black Ale, created by Mitch Steele of Stone at Adnams. I had been led to believe by advance reviews that it wasn't all that, but it is all that, and a fair bit more. The aroma makes it clear from the outset that a lot of US hops have gone in here: big old grapefruit and pine resin welcome the drinker in. On first sip there's a massive, burning bitter hit which subsides mercifully quickly, fading down to grapefruit pith and then settling on friendlier mango and pineapple. There's just a bit of coffee representing the dark side of the profile -- the programme describes the roast character as "subdued" and I think it certainly has been. It's only 5% ABV but tastes and feels much stronger, being weighty like a big stout and depositing a lingering resin on the lips. Possibly not a great choice for second beer, but it had been on since the previous day and was due to run out soon, though in the event there was still one pint left for me to claim a few hours later before the train home -- the best £2.29 I've spend on beer this year.I did not distinguish the mango, grapefruit or pineapple, and from drinking so many Southern California IPAs, I can't say with a straight face that Supremely Self Conscious had a massive, burning bitter hop profile. (Someone needs to ship the Beer Nut a bottle of Stone's latest Enjoy By IPA so he can experience a true West Coast hop burn.) But I agree that Supremely Self Conscious has a deep roasty character with a solid hop profile. Its rich, almost chewy body belied its session status, and it drinks much bigger than its nearly 5% ABV. It's just a wonderful beer.
One final point: I want to drink where the Beer Nut gets $3.50 imperial pints!