Anni-Matter double IPA represents a confluence of two yearly traditions at Stone Brewing. One, the limited-edition IPA debuted each August at the brewery's annual Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival. Two, the Stone Spotlight Competition, where pairs of Stone brewers attempt to outdo each other with pilot batches. The winning brew is bottled and distributed throughout California. Combine the two and you have Anni-Matter, 2018 Spotlight winner (from the team of Jason Smith and Jose Flores) and Stone's 22nd anniversary ale.
The bottle dubs Anni-Matter "the no-haze double IPA," but that's not entirely truth in advertising. A popcorn-hued head dissipates immediately after pouring, leaving a liquid the color of sun tea, with tiny pinprick bubbles racing up through it—and a bit of haze.
After cracking the bottle (Anni-Matter is apparently the first of its anniversary ales that Stone shipped in 12 oz. bottles, but I stuck with the old standard 22), the aroma was all brown bread and raspberry jam. Once poured, the nose opens up into a chain of aromas from very sweet to very bitter: jasmine, mango, more bread, watermelon rind, orange rind, candied orange rind, orange oil, resin and rubbing alcohol, but in a good way. The wide gamut of smells could have something to do with the six hop varieties crammed into this thing: Citra, Denali, Hopsteiner No. 06297, Galaxy, Amarillo and Columbus.
This beer is dominated by orange—pulp, pith, rind and all.”
After taking a sip, malt and sweet aromas from the nose are able to assert themselves for an instant before they're obliterated in a wash of sharp carbonation, bitter orange and pepper, but that bread and berry jam from way back in the bottle sidles along slowly afterward. The bitter orange oil is what lingers, along with a soft, drying heat from the 9.1 % ABV—a full-bodied IPA that lays out a nice spread and literally cleans up after itself.
From the color of the "22" on the label all the way on down through the last bit of aftertaste clinging to the roof of your mouth, this beer is dominated by orange—pulp, pith, rind and all. It forms the backbone of a crisp, four-season double IPA from the brewery that, I'm pretty sure at this point, isn't going to rest until the last person on Earth who's ever said "Eh, I'm not really big on IPAs" is won over.