By Steve Lonsway
Today we will talk about a beer that is very close to the hearts of all who put this article together; the Stone Arch Brewery staff. You see, when we embark on a beer article, we go to a nearby store and purchase a beer that jumps out at us from the shelves. It could be really cool packaging, a great name, a unique style or a strong recommendation from our peers. Well, this months’ choice is one that we make ourselves (and we make a lot of it!) Stone Arch Scottish-Style Ale. Our Scottish Ale is our flagship beer, meaning it is one of the main offerings our brewery is known for.
Because it is not brewed in Scotland, we must name it a ‘Scottish-Style’ Ale. Many folks have confused this style with a Scotch Ale, and that is not what this is formulated to be. A scotch Ale is a big, heavy, thick, malty beer that has a higher alcohol concentration. Our Scottish Ale is much more quaffable having a lot less malt in the recipe meaning that is also contains less alcohol, a comfortable 4.9% alcohol by volume. This style is a great first step into the world of craft beers because it has a very inviting amber tone to it and the use of hops is restricted, so that the bitterness is not off-putting. With 22.6 International Bitterness Units it is in the lower quadrant of the hoppiness scale and with the rich malt flavors, it balances amazingly well.
Being brewers, it’s important to taste the beer as we progress through the brew day from the first stages of malt and water mixing, to tasting the yeast before we pitch it. Then, of course, before and after filtration. So needless to say we know this brew from front to back, from top to bottom. This made it quite entertaining to sit down with the crew and have them write down their tasting notes on paper. The responses were very similar from one staff member to the other. Here is a sampling of what we came up with:
We used nonic style pint glasses for our sampling session, and served the beer at about 43 degrees Fahrenheit which is ideal for this style. We formulated this beer not to have an overabundance of carbon dioxide which can strip away some of its attributes so it pours with a gentle head. The color is a gorgeous amber that is brilliantly clear and inviting.
The aroma has a bit of sweetness and a fresh biscuit smell as well as scents of freshly baked bread. A very gentle hop aroma does appear ever so slightly, and a brush of smokiness comes through at the very end. The flavors are quite similar to the aromas with biscuit, bready, malty, caramel, soft and chewy sweet and that little push of smoke at the end. An earthiness is noted and fruity yeast esters are barely perceivable. The finish is sweet, but dissipates quickly allowing for the next taste to enter the palette.
Food pairings for the Stone Arch Scottish Ale is quite an extensive list so we will break them down to food categories:
CHEESES: Asiago, Gruyere and Gouda all work amazingly well.
MEATS: Niman Ranch Lamb Shank, Red Deer Stroganoff, and Stone Arch Shepherd’s Pie
PIZZAS: Three meat, Mediterranean or Chicken Alfredo Broccoli
SEAFOOD: Grilled Salmon with Lobster Cream Sauce or Seafood chowder
DESSERTS: Chocolate cheesecake, vanilla ice cream or white cake
Now let’s talk about the makers of this libation. Stone Cellar Brewpub got its start in late 2004 when father and son team, Tom and Steve Lonsway purchased the business from John Jungers who named his entity Adler Brau/Appleton Brewing Company. John started the business in 1989 and at the time was Wisconsin’s third brewpub. Since that time the first and second brewpubs in the state either shut down or burned down which makes us the states’ longest operating brewpub. In 2012 Stone Cellar attempted to trademark the name “Stone Cellar” for its beers as we were about to release it into the retail market, but the government refused the application so as to not to confuse the consumer with the Stone Cellar wine that was already on the market. With that news came a new branding tactic and Stone Arch Brew House was born. Now, five years later, we are bridging the gap between the two names and rebranding to Stone Arch Brewpub. Same great food, same great beers, same ownership, new condensed name….STONE ARCH BREW PUB!
FINAL WORD: Buy, enjoy, repeat!