Tuesday, April 28, 2009


i am here to talk about stone brewing company because i have a paper that i am procrastinating and also because i love talking about stone beers. moreso, i love drinking them. in fact, ooooh, what's this? i am drinking a stone beer as i type! yes'r! YES'R! i am a prince! i am bulletproof for the rest of today!

honestly, i have never sipped a stone beer that was not grand. some craft breweries (new belgium, boulevard, sierra nevada, bridgeport, bear republic) set their par at good and occasionally beat their own odds with something extraordinary. other breweries (stone, bells, pabst brewing company) set the par at great and seldom deviate. yes'r, stone is just such a brewery, and everything is write-homeable.

however, there is an odd conundrum that i've discovered with stone. and it is this: stone's pale ale is a finer, more solid, more drinkably hoppy ale than their regular IPA. schyea, i know: that's crazy talk. that's why breweries build pale ales and IPAs, to build a hoppy medium in the pale and then imperialize it in the IPA. but stone seems to be an exception to this rule. (i've also found a similar phenomena with the laguintas brewing company between their new dogtown pale ale and their regular IPA. but that's a different post). 

first and foremost, when chatting up stone and hops, the place to begin is the STONE RUINATION IPA. this is stone's imperial IPA, and it's the muthaload. weighing it at a pithy 7.7% ABV, this sucka boasts over 100 IBUs felt on every inch of the tongue. huge citrus. huge bristling fruit peels. huge mouthfeel and blistering burn. i love this beer. and i'm not shooting for anything eloquent here, i'm just bragging that i've had one and maybe you haven't. if you can only taste one more beer before getting slammed by a bus, make it the RUINATION. this is a beer to prolong martyrdom for, if even just once. after a ruination, everything else tastes like a shiner. 

secondly, STONE IPA, for all purposes, is a great ipa. again, this company does not make a paltry beer. running up close behind the ruination, stone ipa bubbles with a 6.9% ABV and boasts over 70 IBUs. not a small ale by any means. still, this is not an ipa that i run to. there is something overly floral and perfumey in the stone ipa, something not quiet balanced. i find myself half way through a pint of stone ipa always thinking, "shite, i wish i liked this more, even half as much as the pale or a quarter as much as the ruination." that's right: i think in fractions. i taught beginning math at sylvan learning center for over three years. the numbers get into you like those little ear wig thingies in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. anyway. so, yes, this is a good ipa, but i can think of half a dozen ipas that i would put above the stone ipa. don't ask me what they are right now. 

thirdly, STONE PALE ALE takes the gold for, hands down, the best pale ale i have ever tasted. bringing up the rear with a 5.4% ABV and a mere 41 IBUs, stone's pale ale, by the numbers, is stone's weakest hop optional ale; however, that is not the case on my palate whatsoever. i love this beer. and, upon several occasions recently, i reached for stone pale ale over stone ipa at the liquor store and pint shop. this is a good beer. big and burly. balanced on all sides, but still aggressively hopped in all the right places. i find this beer a frustrating single-bottle-beer: i want several of these right in row. the first sets up for the second, sets up for a third and reason to confess to my brothers in the community. i've not experienced such a thing with a pale ale before. usually, i turn to pales when IPAs are not available. not in the stone case. it's just good. damn good. cuss words and soapy candy good. 

this has been my stone brewing company hoppy beer run down. thank you. 

PS. on the STONE RUINATION and STONE IPA, look down the ratebeer page for "hamsterglory." that's me. i left those reviews. haven't gotten around to STONE PALE. will do. just pimping my old reviews.


  1. thank you hamster, i was delighted by this post and it was nice to get another review or three on here. i especially enjoyed your attention to detail in listing the IBU's(Independent Butt-Kicking Units).

    This was a bitter sweet post because i have yet to ever drink something from Stone. Texas is the closest state that they distribute to and that is sad.

    What does make me excited is that the next time i am in Texas to see the in-laws, i am now comfortable in buying beer and keeping it in their fridge and drinking it while i'm there, something that will never happen around my family. I thank Jesus for in-laws that are fine with that.

    you made some serious statements in this post like that it is your favorite pale ale. sheesh. that's brave. You dare to become all that will be a man. i respect that.


  2. baker -

    i am brave. and this is my favorite PALE ALE. ruination might be my favorite imperial ipa, but i've only had like three of those. and i did like ruination better than boulder's mojo risin, which is hard to say, but it's true.

    in my experience, the majority of straight pale ales are usually british in nature and overly generous with the malts: two things i do not particularly care for in my ales. for one, i'm completely racist when it comes to my ale: God save the queen and all, but toss her bloodly booze into the thames! also, i realize the malts are added for the "balancing" act in the pale ale, but most breweries over do the malts. this is where the differentiation between pales and ipas comes into the craft markets: you like something safe, here's a pale; you like hops, here's an ipa.

    stone is the exception to this. this pale ale rivals some ipas (lagunitas, left hand, abita, sierra nevada, harpoon) in hop flavor and overall grandness of flavor. that says a lot. for this reason, i'll reach for a stone pale over half a dozen ipas served in this quaint texas town. yes'r, it's hands down my favorite.

    - new belgium mighty arrow pale ale
    - flying dog classic pale ale
    - sierra nevada pale ale (still good in a pinch)
    - schlafly apa
    - anchor liberty ale
    - boulder singletrack copper ale
    - boulevard pale ale (hometown team)
    - diamond back pale ale
    - deschutes mirror pond pale ale
    - bear republic XP pale ale
    - stoudt's american pale ale (holy mess!)
    - full sail pale ale
    - pine belt pale ale (sold locally here in bryan)

  3. as i've said a number of times, IPA's are not really my thing. but... i've decided that this will be 'The Summer of IPA' (say it like costanza did in that seinfeld episode: 'Summer of George'). I need your help hamster, that way i'll be able to contribute some real thoughts to wonderful posts like this one.

  4. andrew - you ARE real thoughts. you don't need me to help you there. but, buddy boy, i'll drain a draught or two with you this summer if it makes you feel alright.

  5. ohh, mighty arrow! and the mueller pale ale from springfield brew co.