Lager. A beer variety that until very recently I have had little to no love for. Some craft lagers have grown on me, but they won’t replace my pale ale or my IPA as my go-to beer style. Until now. And it would have to be Stone Brewing to do that. Welcome to WussieLife. Who you callin’ Wussie?
Stone Brewing. The one single brewery on the planet I love above all others. Stone Brewing has for the longest time brewed exactly the kind of beers that appeal to me. Many of their IPA’s are amongst my favorite beers ever brewed. They got me hooked on Double IPA’s through Ruination. Their Amber Ale, ‘Levitation’ (R.I.P.) was the first real Amber/Red Ale I truly loved. And Saison de BuFF was the first Saison I ever actually liked (I’ve now taken to other Saisons since this – but it was the first to tickle my fancy).
Sure, craft lager is nothing new. There’s a ton of incredibly well made lagers on the Irish market; Fancy Franks by Rye River Brewing, Lager by Yellowbelly, 1601 by Blacks of Kinsale, Barefoot Bohemian by Eight Degrees & Chiller by Porterhouse Brewing Company to name but a few of the Irish options. On the non-Irish side, Sierra Nevada Nooner, Firestone Walker’s Pivo (my absolute favorite of everything here so far), Brooklyn Lager, & Anchor California Lager are the recommended bunch of foreign imports.
Something that always bothered me about Lagers/Pilsners was the sweet finish. I’m not a fan of that part of the style. I also actually want some hop punch in my lager akin to an IPA. Yeah, I get it. That’s not ‘lager’. I don’t care. I like what I like. And Stone have via their Arrogant Brewing spin-off brewery, added a lager styled how I would like a lager to be.
Cracking it open, it’s a big peppery-lemongrass note that sets you up for a ‘go-big-or-go-home’ moment. I love how the beer isn’t massively lively in the glass. There’s a big malty backbone in the first taste, with an up front bitter spike that trails off with a very slight sweetness being pinged with a bitter back-bite which I’m sure is being powered by noble hops that finishes rather clean considering it’s 5.8% ABV, & 47 IBU’s. In terms of eschewing tradition, it’s packing some punch that runs against the traditions of Pilsner.
This is my kind of lager. It’s just a shame a small amount of this came into Ireland from the U.S., but I don’t feel too butthurt by this. I still have some incredible alternatives to this available to me. Would this be my ‘go-to’ beer if it were permanently available? Probably not. But, it would be in the same regular rotation I have Yellowbelly’s Lager currently (but it wouldn’t displace it!!!)