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Stillwater Artisinal Ales - Fruit (and hops) on the Bottom

7.1

Aroma

8.0/10

Eye Appeal

7.0/10

Mouthfeel

7.0/10

Taste

6.5/10

Pros

  • Nice bright aroma
  • Easy drinker

Cons

  • Gimmicky
  • Sour is the only flavor
  • Brewery – Stillwater Artisanal Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
  • In Collaboration with – Hoof Hearted Brewing, Marengo, OH
  • Style – Sour IPA
  • ABV – 6%
  • Untapped Rating – 3.86 (7.72 adjusted)
  • Beer Advocate Rating – 89 (8.9 adjusted)

I loved everything about this beer, before I tried it.  From the flavor combinations, to the little-used ingredients, to the cartoon banana and strawberry on the label, everything about this beer called to me, beckoned me, forced me to buy it.  I guess I am a sucker for gimmicks.

I’ll be clear, this is not a bad beer.  It’s good in the way gimmick songs are good, like The Monster Mash.  Well-made, interesting and inventive, but ultimately less than the sum total of its parts.  Upon my first sip, I thought I must have missed something.  My expectations were very high, and I yearned for a fruity, well-balanced, delicious sour IPA.  What Fruit (and Hops) on the Bottom ultimately revealed itself to be is just another sour IPA, with little to distinguish it from all the others except the empty promises printed on the can.

My experience started out good enough.  I cracked open the can and was met with a formidable aroma, ripe with fresh limes, mild funk and lychee hard candies.  Each sniff revealed another layer to discover and contemplate.  The beer poured a deep, translucent orange, cloudy, with a small bright white head.  My interested was piqued.  And then, I tasted it.  For a moment I just sat there, waiting…

It was after a minute or two that I came to my conclusion: this beer was meh!  It was, by no means, bad.  It just didn’t taste like anything in particular.  I was expecting a banana-strawberry smoothie, sour and balanced.  What I got was something else entirely.  I got the sense of being tricked.  Behind the label, under the aroma and inside translucent cloudiness, was very little flavor.  It was just sour, with no fruit to speak of, no sweetness to balance out the sour, and a pervading bitterness that clung to my tongue long after I was done sipping.

The mouthfeel was medium-light with small, biting carbonation.  This beer is puckering, sour and not that much fun. 

I was intrigued by the use of yogurt, but cannot for the life of me figure out how that affects this beer.  My guess is that it doesn’t.  For what it is, it’s not bad.  For how it’s described, I was expecting a lot more.

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