A tropical breeze in a glass? A piña colada this is certainly not.

Another collaboration beer by Stone, this time with the winners of American Homebrewers Association homebrewing contest.  Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan brewed this beer with the help of Stone and Rip Current, and they tout this as a tropical sea breeze of an IPA.  I have yet to actually ingest a tropical sea breeze, so I suppose I will take their word on that bit.  This beer was brewed with lots of coconut, which is a large part of makes this a unique offering in the market.

I present to you R&R from Stone Brewing.

Upon pouring this out from the bottle, as can be seen above, R&R is a clear hay gold, with a bit of bronze.  It has a strong, off white pearl head to it, that is fairly aggressive, yet recedes quickly enough.

A quick, initial sniff reveals a big hit of grass acridity, which for those acquainted with hops is very pleasant.  Delving deeper into this beer, there is a chalky hop resin character with hints of toasted coconut in step with it.  Vibrant florals mix readily with juicy passion fruit and mango show themselves after these initial aromas.  The back-end of the aroma on this beer comes at you with dry apricot and a minty melon, that grows as the temperature and aeration of the beer increases.  Overall, the grass will stay strong throughout the experience, and the fruity notes are there as a nice background to this.

The first sip of this collaboration ale offers a strong initial hop bite to the tongue, followed up by a large helping of grass and hay.  The coconut character will briefly show within the first seconds, then meld into the background until the swallow, where some of the coconut will be noticeable again.  There is a mild malty sweetness to the beer, that is married closely to a set of bitter florals.  There is a hint of rose petals to be found here as well.  As more and more of the beer is drank, there is a smooth coconut, passion fruit, and mango that grows with each sip.  The beer is light bodied, but has a very heavy hop mouthfeel that sticks around for quite a long time.  The result here is a mainly grassy hop filled IPA, with a very small coconut undertone that oft-times gets lost within the other tropical flavors, and a strong bittering component throughout.  The bitterness is nice, but almost harsh at times.  People will have to like hoppy bitter beers to enjoy this.

Taking a step back from the experience, I feel that while this is a good overall beer, it falls a bit short of the tropical breeze claim.  The coconut needs to shine through a bit more brightly to really elevate this as a drinking experience.  However, this beer would work incredibly well in pairings with somewhat spicy foods, such as most Thai based dishes.  Also a nice fruit and fish dish would pair very nicely.  I have to note, too, that this beer is very hop bitter, due to the mild malt sweetness in the beer.  This allows the bitterness to come through very clearly, and this bitterness likes to stick to the surface of the mouth tenaciously.  If you are not a fan of hops, be wary with this beer.  While not outstanding, it is still a good beer, therefore I give this a 3.5 out of 5 3.5 apples out of 5.  R&R is 7.7% abv and clocks in at 90 IBUs.

Till the next glass,



25844_912252925669_6330213_nJared Lewinski is obsessed with beer.  As such, he has uprooted his life in New Jersey to attend the Brewmastery and Brewery Operations Management program at Niagara College, a program that has, for the past three years, been producing top-tier brewers for Canada and beyond.  As a child of the American Craft Movement, Jared has big opinions and a love for big beers.  His hope is to bring an outsider’s perspective to a fascinating and tumultuous time for Canadian and Ontario made craft beer, and the culture that it represents…And has a homebrew Russian Imperial Stout to drink now!

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