Brewery: Stone (CA)
Style: Imperial IPA
Sometimes, with weird or experimental beers, you just need to forget that you read the label. The expectation that you're going to get something crazy (a beer that tastes like _____) can make it hard to judge the actual result, especially when that beer shouldn't really taste like _____, anyway — it should still taste like beer, with maybe just something slightly different about it.
I actually think Stone's Green Tea IPA is a pretty solid Imperial IPA. Now, if you're able to try this in a glass without knowing what it's supposed to be and can say: "Oh, this tastes like an IPA with green tea," you must have an impressively sharp palate. The flavors imparted by green tea aren't much different from those you'd get out of some hops — herbal, somewhat floral, maybe a bit minty. Nothing very extreme. As the beer warms and open up, the green tea makes itself known a bit more, especially in the aftertaste — it goes down really well. But mostly, this just tastes like a good IPA.
What I like about it the most is that it's actually quite bitter for Imperial IPA. It's got some bite, and for a beer of this ABV, it isn't overly sweet. The malts in an IPA at this level tend to overshadow the hops, especially after a few months of age, but Stone really knows their stuff when it comes to brewing a hoppy beer. As just a hoppy IPA, this does the trick. And according to the to the description on the back, it uses some pretty interesting, unique hops too. They didn't skimp on the rest after settling on the novelty factor; Green Tea IPA has plenty of unusual flavors going on in the background that may work for or against it based on your taste, while also avoiding many of the common shortcomings of the style.
Availabilty: Like Stone's other experimentation / collaboration beers, the Green Tea IPA is most likely a one-time, small-batch brew. I haven't seen many bottles of it around. Available in 12-ounce bottles.