For almost a thousand years, the town of Stone in Staffordshire has been a brewing town. Stone’s first recorded brewers were Augustinian Monks who brewed ales blessed with the sign of the cross.
Lymestone is a small independent or “Micro brewery” situated a small distance from Stone town centre in what was described to the owners as “a brick built industrial unit”. Actually it turned out to be a former brewery, and quite a large one at that. First built in 1889 by Montgomery and Company, a large brewery was built on the edge of the town within easy reach of the canal, and later the railway. The brewery changed hands in 1902 when, due to a failed court case over the use of the name Stone Ale; Newcastle under Lyme brewers, Roland and Edward Bent, bought the brewery lock stock and barrel! The acquisition of the Brewery included an estate of 23 tied houses. The Brewery was altered and enlarged throughout the early 20th century. Production at the Stone site ran round the clock during the Second World War when Bent’s sister site in Liverpool was heavily damaged by enemy bombing. By the time Bents Brewery Co Ltd was closed by Bass Charrington in the 1970’s, Bents operated 514 pubs.
Some time after the closure of the Brewery bottling continued on site, however it was not long before the brewing industry drew to a final close and any beer related business was relegated to the history books. Well, that’s the history according to various sources so it must be more or less right!
History of Lymestone Brewery
Brad has been in the brewing industry since 1990 when he joined Titanic Brewery as a driver⁄general brew house worker. After 18 years spent with Titanic getting involved with all aspects of the Brewing industry, Brad decided that it was time to go alone, and in 2008 he resigned from his post as Brewer and began the process of setting up Lymestone Brewery. Brad immediately saw the advantages of having the brewery based in Stone. As well as the historic values of a brewing town with a supportive population; there is a building (though for many years neglected) that had been designed for that very purpose. The floors in the “brick built unit” are sloped and all run to drains originally installed when the brewery was first built. The main room is a huge production area of some 15 metres which we now believe would have been the old fermenting rooms with the upper floors removed to incorporate the cellars below. This huge area houses the Lymestone brewing room and also has space for dry storage.
Also on the site is the old well which is available to the brewery should they choose to use it.
Lymestone currently has a 10 barrel brew plant capable of producing approx 40 firkins (casks containing 72 pints) per brew. It has fermentation capacity for 60 barrels meaning that Brad can if he wishes brew 6 times per week. The brewery produces a range of permanent cask ales as well as seasonal brews which can be found in and around Stone, Staffordshire and up to 50 miles from the Brewery. Lymestone beers can be found all across the UK, however they are delivered via wholesalers as the van just cannot make it that far!
Information taken from their website:
Facebook: Lymestone Brewery
This is a huge beer by anyones standards!
Abdominal Stoneman 7% is not the faint hearted!
Three powerful US hops dominate this monster of an American Pale Ale. From its crisp Maris Otter base to its massive hoppy finish this is a beer that will have you on the edge of your seat.
After reading that I was a mixture of “kid in a candy store” excited and at the same time slightly dubious… I don’t usually go for “big” beers in terms of alcohol the majority of the time, and although I don’t think that 7% is huge, certainly not by American standards, it is still not an everyday level I would go for, and my homebrews usually clock in at around 4%. Add to that the words “dominate” and “monster” and “massive hoppy finish” and I thought that this was going to go one of two ways- utterly undrinkable, or abso-fucking-lutely smashing.
As it turned out, I thought it was neither. Well, that might be a bit harsh. It was certainly a lot closer to the abso-fucking-lutely smashing end of the scale, but not for the reasons that I was expecting.
Easy on the eye, the beer is a bright red-tinted ale with absolutely perfect clarity and a big, bubbly head of quite large bubbles, not a tight, creamy head such as you might find on other styles of beer.
Aromas of citrus and pine, but also sweet caramel, giving a less powerful hit than I was expecting from the build up, but an enjoyable, well-balanced aroma.
Mouthfeel is fairly thick and satisfying, this isn’t a thin, watery drink- this is man-stuff (no offence, ladies!).
Taste- now this is where I need to be clear- I enjoyed this beer immensely. However, I didn’t think that it lived up to the expectations that had been set. It did not have me on the edge of my seat- instead I was slumped back in my seat enjoying every satisfying mouthful. The “massive hop finish” was a bit of a let down- not in flavour, just in size, and that may well be a good thing, for me at least. A “monster” it was not, but a damn fine beer it was.
The balance of hops and malt was, quite frankly, made this one of the most enjoyable beers I’ve reviewed on . The hops had all the great stuff we want and in perfect balance- some pine, some citrussy grapefruit, even a hint of grass-cuttings on a summer breeze. Wonderful. Malty character of caramel bringing a deep richness to the beer.
Overall, I much preferred the Abdominal Stoneman to the Little Wild from last week, and it was streets ahead of the Gladeye IPA from a while back.