Stone Brewery ‘Pale Ale’ – The Review

There was a massive buzz when these Stone Brewing Co. beers came into the shop I was working at, not least because one of them was called ‘Arrogant Bastard‘. I’ve not tried that one, though I have tried Levitation [gorgeous], Ruination IPA [a little overrated] and – the one I’m reviewing today – their Pale Ale. This isn’t my favourite one of theirs, nor is it disappointing, so I suppose you could say it’s a good mid-point.

But what does that really mean? Well, read on to find out more, good people.

Vital Stats:

  • 5.4% ABV
  • 50 IBUs
  • Brewed in San Diego, California
  • Comes in 12 Fl. Oz bottles
  • Hops: Magnum and Ahtanum

Look The bottles look quite dull, because they’re all stencilly, with lots of negative space on a brown glass background. The designs are cool, just not eye-catching. They put lots of effort into the blurb, too – perhaps the most I’ve seen on the back of a bottle – and that’s genuinely amusing, it must be said.

In the glass, it’s amusing. What the hell can I mean by that? Well, it’s typical Stone Brewery to have a pale ale that’s not pale. In fact, I’ve had lighter ambers, but anyway… It’s a nice dark copper colour, vibrant and exciting. Head’s loose, relatively dark and retains itself well. 7/10

Aroma Dead bitter, with a real piny hoppiness. There’s hints of sweetness too, but it’s actually hard to get much. I get this coke-y note – sarsaparilla maybe? Maybe it’s just me, but, as I say, I couldn’t get much. 5/10

Taste It’s quite hoppy, very bitter, but still quite floral and light enough not to anaesthatise the tongue. It was hard to pick out individual fruits… there’s perhaps a touch of grapefruit… I think I get vanilla and even raspberry on the finish. The maltiness is subservient, certainly, but supports the beer well, giving it a refreshing, creamy feel, with milky honey notes. Zesty citricity – yummy but not mind-blowing. 7/10

Value £2.85 per bottle. Not bad – but is this beer special enough to justify the price tag? Compared to other breweries’ beers, perhaps, but certainly not compared to other Stone offerings. 6/10

Session The particular hoppy quality of this beverage would almost be enough to put me off having a lot of it [and I don’t believe I’ve ever said that about anything before…], but the malts do balance it a little, I guess. The experience develops a little as you drink more, but basically I’d say you have to be ‘in the mood’ for this one. 7/10

I’m really conflicted about what I think about this one. Yes I enjoyed it, but there are so many drawbacks – not least the difficult quest for aroma. In short, I could take it or leave it. I wouldn’t avoid this, but I’d look out for other Stone Brewery beers, especially the Levitation.

Final score: 64/100

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