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.