Even Their Ambers Have Balls
A Review of Levitation Ale by Stone Brewing Co.
Posted on 6/16/2011 by Chops
I really wish there were more breweries out there like Stone Brewery. And before I make a big bold statement that I may regret, I'm not saying that every brewery should be like Stone. That would be bloody madness. I'm just saying there needs to be more like Stone in the game. Breweries that just don't give a rat's ass what you think about them. They make brews that THEY like, and the fact that we love their delicious nectar is beside the point.

Stone makes bold beer. Period. End of discussion. They don't care about ancient tradition, or archaic recipes, or candyass drinkability, or summery foo foo bullshit. So when I saw Levitation Ale for the first time, I was perplexed to find a 4.4% ABV amber in their line up. WTF? That's not very Stone like. How dare they make a beer for the unworthy novice. And then I had my first sip. Okay, my mistake. I shall never doubt Stone again. I hope the big scary devil will forgive me for my insolence.

Talk about an unexpected slap in the face. This little amber has some serious attitude. Once in the glass, you are forced to redefine what great ambers look like. This coloration is stunning, a burnt reddish brown, almost like a heavy Irish Red. None of those watered down coppery hues, this beer looks mean. Then you get that first whiff and immediately wonder where the amber went. It comes across like a sweet hopped IPA or a piney ESB. It's definitely confusing to start out with, but it is a Stone brew, so you already know that first sip is going to be an adventure.

And it certainly didn't disappoint. Wow, this amber has bite! A very nice bitter hop profile right from the get go, similar in fashion to a quality ESB. The middle ground introduces a battle between grapefruit and tangy malts and in a weird way, it's almost like an Arrogant Bastard light. Not that the Bastard would ever allow a lighter version of it's awesomeness, just making an observation. The body is much bigger than your average amber which nicely amplifies all those big flavors. The finish has a citrusy bitter twinge that hastily dissipates. I would imagine that Levitation Ale is as close to an easy drinker that Stone will ever let slip past their gates.

Overall, Levitation Ale is a kick ass amber. It has definitely become one of my favorite ambers, if not my favorite. Course, I have to recognize that most fans of ambers would probably find this beer too aggressive. But then again, that's the Stone way. This is a beer for Stone fans, and they will love it. So I have a hard time rating this as an amber, not because it isn't great, but because it's very bold and off-center. And in the crazy world of Stone Brewery, I would imagine that's just the way the like it.

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Levitation Ale by Stone Brewing Co.
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