When Stone co-founder and original brewmaster Steve Wagner crafted our initial batch of Stone IPA, little could he have known that that highly hopped first attempt at amplifying a British classic would become so popular and, for many beer drinkers, an India pale ale by which all future New World interpretations of the style would be judged. For many, Wagner’s bright, potent creation was their first IPA. (Was it yours? If so, let us know on social media using #StoneIPA)
Whereas today the letters IPA inspire exclamation points among beer enthusiasts, when Stone IPA hit the scene in 1997, the acronym elicited mostly question marks. India pale ale…what’s that? Fortunately Wagner had enough of an understanding that he was able to stay true to the base style while infusing it with extra flavor and character, care of heavy doses of Centennial, Chinook and Columbus hops.
What was first foreign and a bit abrasive to most imbibers’ palates has gone on to become a go-to and refrigerator staple for craft beer drinkers across the nation for the past 15 years. Just as Wagner served as the father of the cornerstone beers that built the foundation for all Stone has become, Stone IPA is the mother of invention driving the creation of numerous hop harriers ranging from crisp and evergreen to roasty yet botanical.
Without Stone IPA, there may never have been a Stone Ruination IPA (or Stone Tenth Anniversary Ruination IPA for that matter), the ahead-of-its-time black IPA Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, Stone Cali-Belgique IPA or the timely mascot for the drink “fresh beer now” movement, Stone Enjoy By IPA! It’s the hoppy beer that launched a hundred more hoppy and hoppier beers (no, we haven’t released a triple-figure total of hoppy beers yet, but give us time—our run is far from through).
Check out the Stone IPA Video to see and hear more about Stone IPA from Wagner himself, then head over to our new Stone IPA page for anything and everything about the extraordinary brew that has gone from being regarded as refreshingly innovative to a bona fide standard bearer.