Fresh beer is good beer. At least that is true when it comes to certain styles and brands. Several brewers make no bones about the fact that their beer is to be consumed by a specific date. Indeed, Stone Brewing Company put the expiration date right in the name of the beer. Enjoy By 2.14.14 IPA spells it out to beer lovers when the brewery wants the beer to be gone.
According to the breweries website, each batch of Enjoy By is designated to a specific region of the country. Agreements with shippers and distributers in those regions are such that the beer will be available within one week of having been kegged or bottled.
The reason for all this fuss is freshness. As a beer ages the first thing to dissipate from it is the big hop character. Next, the beer’s mat character opens up and often causes the flavor to shift from hoppy bitterness to malty, caramel sweetness. In the case of Enjoy By, the brewers wanted the consumer to get the full effect of the hop character before it begins to fade.
Mitch Steel, brewmaster at Stone, said of Enjoy By, “This beer is nothing but hops… Coming out of the brewhouse it was already massively hopped.” This is done through the use a technique known as ‘hop-bursting’ to infuse the beer with an intense flavor that will fade and disappear in a very short period of time. The process involves reducing the amount of bitterness hops added to the brew kettle and loading the beer up with flavoring hops towards the end of brewing. Enjoy by is also dry-hopped to increase the aroma and intensity of the beer.
On the beer’s website (http://www.stonebrewing.com/enjoyby/#) the brewery displays a countdown clock that tick away the second until the beer is past its prime. When the clock hits zero, the brewery estimates that the beer will begin losing its hop character and is past its prime.
“Freshness is really key to enjoying the beer the way it was meant to be enjoyed,” Steels said.
The site also provides a list of where the beer was shipped and when it is expected to hit the market. Among the cities to receive the beer this release are Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. In addition, beer-lovers in areas that the beer did not ship to can vote for to have the next release come to them on the website.
In Jacksonville, Fla. Enjoy By can be obtained at the following locations:
- Mellow Mushroom – St. Augustine
- Copper Tap House
- Mellow Mushroom – 3rd Street
- Whole Foods
- Harris Teeter
- BP – Jacksonville Beach
- World of Beer
- King Food – Jacksonville Beach
- Golden Ox – Argyle
- Safeway – North 3rd St.
- Brewers Pizza