Stone Levitation Ale --- A Beer Destined For Love

San Marcos, CA --- Way back in September 2002, Stone Brewing released a unique ale called Stone Levitation Ale. Unique in that the Stone Levitation Ale had a rather modest alcohol percentage (4.4% abv) with a rather immodestly large flavor profile thanks in a large part to its high level of IBUs (International Bitterness Units). 55 IBUs to be exact. Or so they thought...

From the very beginning with the first batch, the brewers at Stone really liked the brew. However at Stone, "like" isn't enough. After all, they're accustomed to brewing beers that evoke emotions that start off at "love," and move up from there.

To begin with, they felt that the beer's bitterness was a bit heavy and a bit harsher than it needed to be. The beer had been publicized as a 4.4% brew with "a full 55 IBUs." However, during tasting panels conducted with Stone CEO Greg Koch and brewers Steve Wagner, Lee Chase and Bill Sherwood, it was agreed to make whatever tweaks the brewers felt necessary to take the beer to that higher level.

One of the changes the brewers agreed upon was to modify the hopping, both by changing some of the hops used as well as by backing off the total amount of hops used. What? Stone "backing off" on the hops? "Yes, I know that is quite contrary to Stone style, but when I told the brewers that they should do what needs to be done," said Koch, "and that meant even if it hurt. Around here, lessening hops hurts but we all know that sometimes there's some hurt on the way to true love."

When the latest batch was brewed and bottled --- the batch that everyone finally agreed they absolutely loved --- a sample was sent off to a lab to get the IBUs tested. "We wanted to be absolutely certain that the IBU info we were giving to the fans of our beer was correct. After all, where true love is concerned there's no room for anything but absolute truth," said Koch.

And the result of the testing? "It came back with a report of 57 IBUs," says Stone Head Brewer Lee Chase. "All in all, it was way trickier than we thought to brew a beer of this alcohol level with this much complexity. Now that we have it nailed, I am really loving this beer. I am drinking it way more often than any of our other beers right now. Sure," Chase admits, "the infatuation may subside a bit in some time, but I know I'll never stop loving this beer."

Koch thinks you'll feel the same. "In love, there often must be forgiveness," he said, fighting back a lump in his throat. "If our fans truly love our beer, then they'll have no difficulty forgiving us for slightly missing the bullseye when we first released the Stone Levitation Ale. If anyone can't forgive, then I have to wonder if they ever truly loved our beer in the first place."

Stone Levitation Ale is currently available only in Southern California and Arizona. To share in the love, visit </placementlist/index.html> to find retail locations for Stone Levitation Ale in Southern California. Stone Brewing is located at [OLD ADDRESS REMOVED] (760)471-4999.