Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stone Tepee Pale Ale – Tyranena Brewing Company

                I was looking through the archives recently and realized to my surprise that I had no posts on any of Tyranena’s excellent brews.  This was even more surprising since the very first brewery that I visited after moving out to Wisconsin 3.5 years ago was Tyranena.  Founded by Rob Larson, Tyranena has been producing Legendary Wisconsin Beer from their Lake Mills location since October 21, 1999.  Lake Mills is situated between Madison and Milwaukee on I-94, 25 minutes east of Madison and 50 minutes west of Milwaukee, making them an ideal stop on a drive between the two cities.  If you are near the brewery on a Saturday, be sure to stop by before 3:30 to get a spot in a brewery tour.
                Their taproom is staffed by a knowledgeable crew of bartenders who will happily recommend a beer if you are not sure which you should start with, or share the stories behind the beers in their Brewer’s Gone Wild series, their line of extreme beers.  Every beer that I have had from Tyranena has been extremely enjoyable and I am always on the lookout for their next BGW release.

                Most recently I was at the store and realized that I had not yet tried a bottle of Stone TePee Pale Ale, and that was unacceptable.  Stone Tepee takes its name from a group of stone pyramids and effigy mounds that are now located 60 feet below the surface of Rock Lane in Jefferson County, WI.  There are many rival theories for who built the pyramids, what their purpose was, and what they represent.  That however, is a question for an anthropologist and not one that I am in a position to provide an answer to.  I am here for the beer, the Stone Tepee Pale Ale is the only stone tepee that I feel qualified to provide information on.

                On Beeradvocate, Stone Tepee Pale Ale currently has a score of 86.  Over at ratebeer it has a score of 67 overall and a 51 for style.  Those of you who read this regularly might remember that I often disagree with the ratebeer ratings, and this is yet another case of that.  For some reason many of the reviewers who post over at ratebeer have some strange interpretations of what a style should be, but that is a discussion better saved for my upcoming post on beer rating sites.  On to the review!

They say:

Stone Tepee Pale Ale is brewed in the tradition of an American Pale Ale and celebrates the American hop, with its characteristic bitterness, flavor and aroma.

Our APA is hazy golden and straw colored, settling nicely into a glass and offering up an appeasing eggshell foam.

Wafts of barley and pungent citrus from a triple dose of Cascade hops abound.  The duet of hops and malt tantalizes your olfactory with swirling allusions of fruity, orange zest and sweet caramel. But not to worry… the malt flavor does little to adulterate this vessel of pure hop enjoyment!

Stone Tepee bestows a zesty bite tempered ever-so-slightly with a soft malt sweetness and finishes on a refreshingly dry and somewhat spicy note. Don’t be fooled by its moderate body… This APA packs a hop punch without being over-the-top. If a beer could be compared to the balance of yin and yang, then Stone Tepee Pale Ale would be that beer!

Malts: 2-Row, Pale, Carapils, Caramel
Hops: Cascade, Mt. Hood, Amarillo
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 32
Serving Temp: 50-55°F

Food Pairings:
Wide range of food: meat pie,English cheese; great with a burger!
Cheese: English cheese such as cheddar or Derby with sage.
Dessert: Pumpkin flan, maple bread pudding, bananas Foster.

I say:

                Stone Tepee Pale Ale pours a gorgeous golden color with a thin off-white head that has excellent retention.  It has a sweet, malty aroma with a grapefruit and orange hoppy notes and a slightly bitter finish.

                The flavor was sweet and malty upfront giving the combination of Carapils and Caramel malts plenty of attention.  The sweetness faded into a mild bitterness, and finished with hop spice and orange/grapefruit citrus notes.  There is an excellent balance of hops and malts making this a very drinkable beer.  It is not as over-the-top hop bomb like some American Pale Ales, but it has just the right amount of American hops to make it a superbly refreshing APA.

                If you want a major hop bomb APA, this probably is not the beer for you, and that is probably the reason why it received negative reviews on ratebeer.  However, this is an excellent APA that a majority of craft beer drinkers would be very happy to have the experience of drinking.  Be on the lookout for Stone Tepee near you if you live in Tyranena’s distribution area: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana.  If your local liquor store doesn’t sell it, ask for it and they should be able to special order it for you.

                That’s all for today, check back later this week for a write up on Founders Cerise.
    Happy Drinking!!!

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