Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stone Levitation Ale - The Stone Brewing Company - Escondido, CA

I don't know how many times I have to say it...but The Stone Brewing Company is clearly one of the  finest Brewers that the Craft Beer movement has to offer. Their ability to fuse great ingredients, and an uncanny amount of attention given to the smallest details, almost guarantees an amazing brew every time.

Tonight, we're reviewing their Levitation Ale. Some have described it as a light beer for those who hate light beers. In a typical Mega-Brewery Light Beer (see the Buds and Coors of the world), you get a serious lack of flavor and a beer that can truly only be enjoyed cold...really cold. In Stones Levitation Ale, you're promised a brew that is decidedly lighter then other offerings from Stone, but still packed with flavor and attitude. Here's what the website had to say:


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.

September 2002

Columbus, Crystal & Amarillo

ALC/VOL 4.4%, 45 IBUs

12oz Bottles, Sixpacks, & Draft


A Brief History of Time...

• Stone Brewing Co. was founded in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in San Marcos, CA. (In the spot where our friends at Port Brewing Company/The Lost Abbey now call home!)
• First keg of Stone Pale Ale sold on July 26, 1996 to Vince Marsaglia of Pizza Port fame
• Arrogant Bastard Ale unleashed upon the world November 1, 1997
• Moved to our current facility in Escondido, CA, in December 2005
• Opened the adjacent Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in November 2006
• Named "All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth" by BeerAdvocate magazine in 2008…AND 2009! "The most popular and highest rated brewery – ever!"
• In December 2009, we published a formal Request For Proposal to evaluate potential sites for a brewhouse in Europe. We have narrowed the field from 79 different submitted locations (from nine different countries!) down to two—Berlin and Bruges—and hope to reach a final decision soon
• In May 2011, we unveiled huge local expansion plans, including Stone Company Store – South Park, Stone Farms, Stone Catering, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station (Fall 2012), and Stone Hotel (Early 2013)

One of the fastest growing breweries in America in the past fifteen years...

• INC 500 list two years in a row (2002 & 2003)
• San Diego Business Journal's "Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies" seven years in a row (2004-2010)
• Averaging 43% year-to-year growth over the past 15 years
• Currently distributed to 36 states (plus Washington, DC!), and a minute amount of our beer is exported to the UK, Sweden, Japan, and Singapore
• Now the 14th largest craft brewery in the United States (2011)

The brewery...

• 55,000 square feet and growing!
• 120 Bbl brewing system built by Rolec in Bavaria, Germany

Selected Awards and Recognition

• Malt Advocate magazine's "Brewery of the Year" (2004 and 2005)
• BeerAdvocate magazine's "All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth. The most popular and highest rated brewery – ever!" (2008 and 2009)
• – "Stone Brewing is one of craft brewing's stars – one of the 10 best breweries in the world"
• Forbes – "Stone has America's Top Brewery Tour" (55,249 people toured our facility in 2011 alone!)
• Greg Koch is knighted by the Belgian Brewers Federation (2010)
• Greg Koch named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2011)
• Great American Beer Festival medals
• Silver Medal for Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (2000)
• Bronze Medal for Stone Pale Ale (2006)
• Gold Medal for Stone Levitation Ale (2007)
• Bronze Medal for Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (2010)
• Silver Medal for Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers (2010)
• Gold Medal for Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine at the World Beer Championships (2002)
• Gold Medal for Stone IPA at the Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival (2007)
• Gold Medal for Stone Imperial Russian Stout at the Australian International Beer Awards (2007)
• Bronze Medal for Stone IPA at the Australian International Beer Awards (2007)
• Silver Medal for Stone Pale Ale at the European Beer Star Awards (2009)
• Silver Medal for Stone IPA at the European Beer Star Awards (2010)
• Gold Medal for Stone Smoked Porter at the Asia Beer Awards (2010)
• Silver Medal for Stone Imperial Russian Stout at the Asia Beer Awards (2010)
• Silver Medal for Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale at the Australian International Beer Awards (2011)
• Silver Medal for Stone Imperial Russian Stout at the Australian International Beer Awards (2011)

Environmental, Sustainable, and Philanthropic Efforts

• Our rooftop solar panels produce about 35% of the power for the brewery and our restaurant, preventing approximately 160 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually
• Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is the largest purchaser of local, organic produce in San Diego County
• Our Meatless Monday menu prevents 110,448 lbs. of CO2 from being released annually
• "Spent grain" that has been used in the brewing process is then repurposed as a mulching tool in our garden. The rest is used by local farmers as livestock feed, and as ingredients in locally made soaps and dog treats (creatively named Stone Bones)
• We do compost some of our kitchen waste, some for use in the garden and Stone Farms, and some to be picked up by our local farmers
• We are having two electric car charging stations installed in our parking lot to accommodate eco-minded drivers (including our CEO, who drives a Chevy Volt)
• Our water reclamation system prevents 30,000 gallons of wastewater from entering the sewer system each day
• Our new centrifuge helps us filter our beer with less waste, and increased our yield by over 5000 bbls last year
• Stone Distributing added its first hybrid delivery vehicle to its fleet of 28 bio-diesel trucks
• Over $1.5 million donated to charity, with the annual Stone Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival responsible for raising over $1 million of that total
• In addition to financial donations, our in-kind support of local charities adds up quickly! In 2010 along, we donated a total of 7,190 case equivalents (about 1,044 kegs…or over $330,100 worth of beer) to 322 different charities



First off, I didn't quite know what to expect with The Levitation Ale. I knew that it had a lower than normal ABV, and this made me wonder if I was going to be subjected to a flavorless attempt to appeal to the more mainstream beer drinkers looking to give something new a shot. What I got instead was vintage Stone. The pour was clean producing a nice tight head. The only downside here was that the head crept away pretty quickly, allowing the aroma to escape prematurely. The coloring is a deep amber, hinting that this was not your average fizzy yellow beer. But the flavor was what really made this brew pop. Rich in Malt and fruit overtones, combined with a nice hopped up attitude made this a brew to enjoy. But was there a downside? Unfortunately, yes there was. Although the aroma was tingling, the hop tickling and the flavor all went away just a little too quickly. The flavor is there, but it just fades away too quickly. Combine that with a low ABV left me a little thirsty for something more arrogant.


7/10 - Fades quickly


  1. I love this brand beer Stone Levitation Ale - The Stone Brewing Company
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  2. This was an outstanding brew. Pretty much everything out of Stone gets high marks from me.