Gin is a polarizing spirit. The assertive flavor of juniper isn’t for everyone, and gin’s grab bag of botanicals can be too medicinal for some people’s taste. That’s why it’s so surprising to see Stone partner with Aviation Gin on a double IPA that’s only on tap at your neighborhood Yard House. Yes, a botanical DIPA for a pub chain does sound crazy, but we should know better than to count out Stone on any manner of IPA wizardry.
Appearance and Aroma
The beer pours with a slight haze, and leaves a large, lingering foam collar. It’s gold in color with fast carbonation. The brewers manage to match the aromatics of Aviation gin, which means there’s a lot to unpack with Liquid Compass. There’s a tropical and citrus aromas to the hops, orange and mango are here too, along with some white pepper, spice, and pine. There’s also a malty presence of bread and grain, which stands out more than you’d expect with a DIPA.
It’s hard to make brewing look this easy.”
Liquid Compass hides the “double” in the double IPA well, with less alcoholic heat and more malty sweetness than I counted on. The bitter orange and tropical flavors are the star, but this is expertly balanced. So much so that a bartender could talk a malty beer fan into a pint and get a nod of appreciation. The malt notes make the gin flavors of orange and juniper a bit less dominant on the palate. It’s there, but isn’t abrasive. The combination of flavors is lively and refreshing—and rather easy to drink quickly.
For an 8.5% Double IPA, this drinks less like a oddball collaboration, and more like a crowd-pleasing brew that fans of many styles will enjoy. Given the challenging concept, the Stone and Yard House teams have done an admirable job creating something interesting and uncommon, while not sending casual drinkers running for the exits. It’s hard to make brewing look this easy.