Looking around on The Brew Club, before reviewing the Stone Pale Ale, I’ve come to the surprising conclusion that we’ve never reviewed a beer by Stone Brewing Company!
Stone is one of ‘those’ breweries that everyone in the craft beer world knows and loves. They have a reputation for making great beer, and they have an immediately identifiable brand in that gargoyle guy that graces their labels.
OK, so we’ve never reviewed a beer from Stone. There’s a first time for everything, right? So here we go – why not come along and see what the Stone Pale Ale is all about then?
Stone Pale Ale, according to their website, is their flagship beer which was first introduced way back in July 1996. It’s considered an American Pale Ale and checks in at 5.4% ABV.
It pours a nice coppery color, seems to be perfectly clear, and creates a decently sized foamy off-white head.
While I’m not able to pinpoint particular hop varieties yet in the aroma of beers, I know (from their website!) that Magnum and Ahtanum hops are used and I imagine they are what contribute to the mildly hoppy aroma (duh). To elaborate a bit, the Stone Pale Ale has a characteristic hoppy aroma that one might expect from an American Pale Ale, but to me I pick up something sweet like caramel and and the hop aroma is more piney than citrusy. Overall though, its not in your face and everything is quite mild really, and there is hardly any alcohol in the scent profile.
Getting on to the taste, its very similar to how it smells, but I’d say that the piney hop flavors are a little stronger than they are in the aroma. There’s a sweet caramel that seems to balance the beer, but I think the hops are the dominant ingredient here. Piney, but sharp and clean. The Stone Pale Ale has a nice hop bite to it.
See, until just recently I’ve been avoiding ‘hoppy’ beers like American IPAs. What I’ve been finding though is that I like hoppier profile beers that aren’t as extreme as some of the the American IPAs can be. I’ve found that American Pale Ales, like this example from Stone, and even something a little more obscure like the Mt. Tam Pale Ale are great beers with hoppier profiles that I’m finding that I really enjoy!
Getting back on point, I really liked this first beer from Stone and I was finished with it about three paragraphs ago it’s such an easy drinker! Nice mouthfeel, great aftertaste, I would say it IS a good session beer! It doesn’t seem to push any flavor envelopes, and I doubt you will hear ‘extreme’ being attributed to it, but it does come together in a very nice way. I’m going to try revisiting this beer in the Summertime. Please remind me!
What do you think of Stone’s Pale Ale? Too ‘average’ tasting for you or just right for an APA? What’s a good American Pale Ale to try?