Friday, April 22, 2011

Beer of the Week (Vol. XCVI)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the uplifting folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who have the knowledge to raise your spirits to new levels.

Before we get to this week’s featured selection, we should note that last week’s Beer of the Week, Surly Abrasive Ale was named Best Local Beer by the City Pages as part of their annual Best of the Twin Cities awards. A most deserving honor indeed.

Our beer this week is another offering from San Diego’s Stone Brewing, whose products only recently have been available on the local market. Stone Levitation Ale:

It's been said that "Gravity Sucks." Simple enough. Well, we at Stone have identified gravitational forces in the beer world. And we have come to the conclusion that they, well, see above. So we avoid these less-than-desirable gravitational forces. We avoid dumbed-down flavor profiles and the vigorous pursuit of the lowest common denominator. We avoid big dollar marketing mentalities. We avoid additives, cheap adjuncts, stabilizers and chemical preservatives. So in the defiance of gravity we bring you Stone Levitation Ale. This deep amber ale has rich malt flavors, a big hoppy character, citrus overtones (courtesy of the hops and our special brewers yeast) and modest alcohol.

12oz brown bottle. Standard Stone gargoyle imprinted label design with ribbons noting the beer’s 2007 Gold Medal award at the Great American Beer Festival.

Style: Amber Ale

Alcohol by Volume: 4.4%

COLOR (0-2): Dark ruby red, slightly clouded. 2

AROMA (0-2): Hoppy with citrus and pine scents. 2

HEAD (0-2): Off white color. Good volume and decent lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Again mostly on the hoppy side with noticeable citrus and bitter tones, more than you would expect from an amber ale. The sweet caramel malt flavors are there too, but mellowed. Medium-bodied, thin mouthfeel, with a clean finish. Overall, it’s pretty smooth and moderately drinkable. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): The flavors linger, but I found it a little light. 1

OVERALL (0-6): Another stellar offering from Stone. The two most notable aspects of Levitation Ale are that it’s much hoppier than most amber ales and that it packs a lot of taste in with a low alcohol content. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another beer with 4.4% ABV that has such robust flavors. It’s probably a little too hoppy to be a true session beer, but you could definitely put a few back in short order. At $9.99 a six-pack it’s on the higher end of the price scale which is not surprising given Stone’s stature in the craft beer world. 5

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16