Cluster's Last Stand is the result of a collaboration with Stone Brewing Company. The beer is described as a "post-Prohibition" IPA recreated from the Ballantine IPA recipe of the 1930's. That piqued my interest so my decision was made. Colleen opted for the Tripel.
|Cluster's Last Stand & Tripel|
Cluster's Last Stand has a nice malty aroma backed with floral and citrus hops. The flavor is well-balanced with an earthy, slightly sweet malt base with pine and citrus hops in the forefront. There's a bit of bitterness that lingers in the finish, but overall it's clean with little hint of the 8.8% ABV. Simply put, I enjoyed this beer. A lot. It was also a fine accompaniment to the Gyro Burger with lamb, red onions, tomatoes, baby spinach, feta cheese and tzatziki on grilled flat bread. Once I finished my meal and drink, I was torn between enjoying another glass of the same, or trying another Smuttynose beer.
I eventually ordered a glass of the Finestkind IPA. The difference between the two beers couldn't have been more distinct. Finestkind IPA is focused on the bitter end of the spectrum. There is plenty of grapefruit zest and grassy bitterness in the flavors. The finish was dry with a lingering bitterness.
It was actually quite interesting to drink the two IPAs back to back to see the differences between two beers of technically the same "style." I am an admitted fan of the bitter, and Finestkind was a beer I've had in the past, so I had no complaints. That said, I did tell Colleen I'd like to get back for another glass of Cluster's Last Stand before that keg is kicked.