Stone Stands Tall
A Review of Stone Pale Ale by Stone Brewing Co.
Posted on 7/4/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
Great
Being unapologetic about their beer is something that Stone seems to be proud of, and rightfully so. They have a style that is all their own, and you can either take it or leave it. Their ''in your face'' approach can instantly make a life long fan, or scar someone for the rest of their beer existence. That is how I have always thought of Stone. Admittedly, when I got the chance to review their flagship, the Stone Pale Ale, I was prepared for a full on assault of my palate and senses. However, after getting to the bottom of the bottle, I am pleased to say that I not only survived, but I actually turned out to be the winner in this battle.

In the glass its a nice dark copper color with a thick head that disappears slowly, but leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass the whole way down. The first thing one notices about this particular beer is what you don't smell. Typically when you open a Stone offering, you are slapped across the face with a huge hops backhand. And then when you think you are safe, more hops come out and kick you in the teeth. And after that, more hops are there to jump up and down on your lifeless body just to make sure they got you. But not here. This particular offering has a surprising and distinguished malt presence to it that is both foreign, and welcoming to me in a Stone offering. Don't get me wrong, the hops are there. Grapefruit and pine are easily identified. But you don't notice them near as much as normal. You actually get a sweet feel in your nose when you smell it, and that is rare for Stone as well. To say I am confused would be a proper statement. To say that I am loving what I am smelling would be an even better statement.

That first sip had me in beer heaven. The malt detected earlier is there up front along with some very nice floral hops. The toasted malts give this beer a nice quality that I have found missing in many pale ales before. It gives it a good body feel. A thickness almost. To be honest, at this point, the beer reminds me of a brown ale. The hops that I can pick out go between pine and grapefruit, with a rare bit of pineapple peeking through in some cases. It has a bit of an oily feel along with the thickness, but it doesn't get to the point of sticky syrup. It just coats your mouth, leaving you with a nice sweet aftertaste with just a bit of a hops bite blended in. There's not a lot of carbonation to distract you in it, nor is it needed. This beer has enough character to stand up on its own.

Surprisingly, this is the first offering from Stone that I can recommend to any beer drinker. It isn't aggressive to the point of scary, but its bold enough to keep the attention of all. The beginners can get a good feel for what a true pale ale should be. It's full of flavor and aromas, along with being highly drinkable. The more advanced drinkers can appreciate it for its true mastery of the style. I still find myself surprised at how drinkable and enjoyable this beer was. As I stated earlier, Stone is unapologetic and makes no excuses. In this instance, I owe the Stone Pale Ale an apology. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't get my hands on you sooner. I promise that I will learn from my mistake. All of you should as well. Go get some. Drink some. Repeat.

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Stone Pale Ale by Stone Brewing Co.
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