Mention the words Stone Brewing Co. to any hardened beer geek and you’ll see their pupils dilate, a grin cross their face, and a barely audible “oh yes” escape their lips. Stone have been a standard bearer of the US and worldwide craft beer revolution for the last 20 years. They eschew industrial yellow beer for beers with flavour and absolutely never compromise on quality.
They are the 10th largest craft brewer in the US, as defined by the Brewers Association based on 2015 sales volumes. Founded twenty years ago by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, they are based in San Diego and have recently opened East Coast operations in Richmond, Virginia, and of course in Berlin.
It is from Berlin we are receiving the Stone IPA. Packaged in cans, a first for Stone who have a famous drink fresh policy, you should usually drink within 90 days of packaging to ensure you’re enjoying the beer as fresh as possible. I’m happy to say, thanks to their distributors Four Corners, we are enjoying beers that were canned on the 13th of June and available for sale on the 21st.
The brewery in Berlin is housed in a former gas works which dates back to 1901. The brewery will eventually feature a farm to table restaurant, featuring produce grown in their gardens and, of course, a taproom. The scale of this operation when complete will no doubt create a beery mecca for many beer fans throughout the world.
Onto the beer itself. This is a 6.9% IPA, so we know it’s going to pack a punch. The ritual of opening the can releases an unmistakable West Coast IPA style aroma, all pine and citrus. That’s just from the can. Once poured it’s clear and golden with a white head. On the nose I picked up a little hint of cereal, within the piney and citrus aroma. Onto the taste, this is very heavy on the citrus flavour, lemon zest and lime which leads to that magnum bitterness that lasts.
All in all, sometimes I find it hard to judge a beer that’s pretty much as it was since it was launched nearly 20 years ago. Clearly, this is a benchmark beer which is rightly held up as a standard bearer for West Coast IPA style, and no doubt has provided inspiration for many of the flavourful modern IPAs we can taste today. I respect that. I enjoyed this beer, and would definitely drink it again. I look forward to seeing what other beers from the Stone range come to us.
Available in all good Off Licences, and check with Four Corners for your local stockist. RRP approx €3.20-€3.50 per 330ml can.
From IPAs, to Stouts, to everything in between. Wayne is a passionate advocate for Craft Beer and Cider in Ireland. He regularly features in online publications and podcasts, as well as writing with his wife on www.irishbeersnob.com. Wayne’s aim is to kick down the doors of convention surrounding Craft Beer and Cider by writing in a no nonsense style. Drawing on his experiences of many different beers he is going to bring you on a journey that you’ll be asking yourself, why didn’t I join this revolution sooner?