4/1/22: Stone Brewing's Stone Light

4:07 PM

Sure, it may be a chilly, cloudy day here in my little pocket of east-of-Cincinnati paradise but that doesn't mean that summer's far from my mind. This is the time of year when I start to daydream about what I'll be drinking during those warmer, fairer months; those mythic days when I set aside stouts and porters to reach for lagers, sours, and IPAs.

Couple this with the fact that I'm trying to eat/drink a little healthier and pinch my purse a little more, and you might see why I'm excited about today's beer. Stone (man, I haven't talked about them since 2016) is still a major name in the craft industry, and one that commands a fairly hefty price for some of their offerings. I was floored when I saw that I could get their new lager for just $10/24-pack (or, as is my exact case, $5.49 for six pints). And it's a light beer? Very, very cool.

Stone ("About Us" page here) has been in the brewing game for just over 25 years (that means the opened in 1996). Founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner jumped aboard the early IPA train, seizing hops and helping to push West Coast IPAs into the stratosphere. Since, they've expanded the Stone brand beyond its humble California beginnings to now boast a second production facility in Virginia and beer distribution across the United States.

There's no page for Stone Light on the brewery's website (probably because it's so new), but I'll tell you the info I can find on the lager's packaging. It's a subtle 4.1% ABV and drinks at just 101 calories/12 ounces. Sounds like good lawnmower beer.

Just because it doesn't yet have a live presence on Stone's website, don't think the brewery's not excited about the beer. Here's a picture of Greg Koch himself showing off the lager's can. I'm excited for this stuff too, Greg!
Image retrieved from a CraftBeer.com article written by Jess Baker. That's some infectious excitement, Greg!
The lager's nose is crisp and clean. Stone really like to indulge in deep flavors and aroma, but it's nice to see them step back and really let the classicness of American light lager shine through. I'm finding rice, white bread, and fresh biscuits. It's simple and effective, the former of those two qualifiers is something I never thought I'd attribute to a Stone beer.

Perhaps the only downside to Stone Light's bouquet is that it seems to be a little too simple for Purrl. She gave my can two quick whiffs before resuming her birdwatching post.

Stone Light's flavor profile keeps that simplicity train a-rolling. It's bright and light, that riciness I picked up in the aroma shining boldly. There's also a quiet hop bite, another subtlety that helps to differentiate it from Stone's other beers.

The mouthfeel here is exactly akin to a soft, quiet, and crushable American macro lager. Oh, you spent a full day working on your car or lawn? This is the beer for that. I'm amazed at how delicately Stone's crafted this aspect of the beer.

Last year around this time, Michelle and I painted our bedroom. When we bought the house, it was a horrid yellow with chocolate-brown trim. When we were finished, it was a pleasant light terracotta color with white trim. We turned our bedroom from a place of misery where insomnia reigned supreme to a space of comfort and relaxation. 

Why am I tell you this? Well, on our way home from buying all the paint we needed, I also grabbed a pack of some American macro lager to accompany what I knew would be a weekend's worth of work. The reward I felt drinking those cans is damn near equal to what Stone's latest offering is giving me.

A week ago, Stone tweeted a single letter: W. I'm assuming that was in relation to the release of Stone Light. Because this beer is a definite win. This goes above 10/10 fare--it's getting my first ever 11/10. Yeah, I'm breaking the rules with this one. 

Stone Light is, without a doubt, the best Stone beer I've ever had. For a time there, the brewery seemed to be getting ever more pompous, showboating about some of their more mediocre brews. But with this, damn, they've finally crafted a killer app. The future for Stone is bright indeed. Unless, of course, you realize that they think so lowly of their customers that they'd argue in court for years that their die-hard fans are literally unable to discern any difference between their products and Keystone Light. But hey, then you might realize that Stone was never very good. Anyway, go Greg!

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