Name – Stone Faced
Brewer – Lymestone Brewery
Classification – Bitter
Strength – 4.0% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Deepest rosewood.
On the nose – Toasted jungle. Fierce and fulsome.
On the tongue – Turbo hops. A robust and relentless bitter. Impressive stuff.
On the subject – Staffordshire's Lymestone Brewery is growing as fast as any in Britain at present. A recent nationwide deal with Wetherspoons pubs is just one example of this. The broad appeal of their complete range of beers and their flair for branding are often sighted as causes of their success.
On the market – Increasing options, but online is still as good a bet as any. Try Beer Here
On the whole – 8/10
On the whole – 8/10
This is a powerhouse of an English bitter.
There's a definite SAS or Green Beret feel to the hops, which don't so much 'enter' your mouth as 'storm' it, before taking control of your taste buds by force.
I'm not kidding – the first gulps of this brew are properly 'full-on' experiences.
My mouth felt like it had been grabbed by a playful grizzly bear, which then proceeded to toy with it until the drink was finished.
It's an impressive experience.
There's real substance here too though, with all that sharpness countered wonderfully with an understated roast chestnut-like malt base. There's even a hint of fudge in the finish.
I worried a little at first about the size and the behaviour of the bubbles – which were large, abundant, and pretty frisky, and it brought briefly to mind my recent encounter with Robinson's Unicorn. But if I'm honest, I worried about this for around 10 seconds, after which that grizzly bear and those SAS guys showed up and filled my concerns with hot lead and claws.
The fact is, this beer simply will not tolerate any amount of doubt about its own appeal. I've never witnessed 'mild concerns' being dispatched and erased with such consummate ease. If you tend to look for beers that will forcefully remove all your cares and concerns – your search is pretty much over.
Those, like me, who appreciate it when a beer arrives with great self-confidence and takes control of the drink experience – you will absolutely love this ale.
For those who prefer their beers to be a little more reserved and demure, all I can say is – give this a try. You might find that being raided by bears and gunmen is every bit as exciting as it looks at the movies.
That's now two very impressive ales from Lymestone - a company I knew very little about before this project began.
Another from their range is coming soon... and I can hardly wait.