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Beer #28 – January 28, 2010: Stone Levitation Ale

January 28, 2010

Beer: Stone Levitation Ale

Brewery: Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, California

Style: Amber Ale

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle

Price: $9.99 / 6-pack

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: Mug

Strength: 4.4% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: A really hoppy, but relatively low alcohol brew.  While the low alcohol makes this very sessionable, the prominent hops mean you might want to leave this till towards the end of your evening, since any beer after this will taste bland by comparison.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a clear coppery red hue with a frothy, thick and sticky off-white head that clings to the sides of my mug.

Aroma: Smells as piney as a Christmas tree farm, with a tinge of citrus.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, a little chewy and sticky, with moderate carbonation.

Taste: With my nose in the mug, the aroma and flavor of the pine hits me right away.  Then a sour and tangy grapefruit comes forward, followed by the bitter flavors of grape seeds, peanut shells, and green peppercorns.  All of those flavors (pine, fruit, bitter, tangy) just described come from hops, in this case, specifically Amarillo hops, with a few other varieties in the background.  As I drink, the malt finally starts to come through with a mild caramel and doughy sweetness, but the hops still remain prominent, and the finish is dry overall.

Pairing: A nice sharp cheddar pairs nicely: the sharpness of the cheese and tangy hops meld, while the creaminess of the cheese provides contrast to the bitter flavors.

Trivia: Stone Brewing Company also runs Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens where they serve up not only their own beers, but guest beers by some other great breweries.  The food follows the philosophy of craft beer: “fresh/natural/artisinal.”  The menu sounds amazing: dishes meant to be paired with beer, while others are made with beer.  Definitely near the top of my list of great beer destinations I still must visit.

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