For two decades, Stone Brewing has pushed its intensely hopped, extra-potent IPAs and flavorful barrel-aged stouts as the antithesis of mainstream beer. Even as Stone, based in Escondido, Calif., has climbed to become one of the 10 best-selling craft breweries in America, it has kept up its outsider image with extremely hoppy ales dubbed Arrogant Bastard and Sublimely Self-Righteous.
When you visit the Team Stone page on the brewery’s website, the sneering quote under founder Greg Koch’s picture reads, “Fizzy Yellow Beer is for Wussies!” Stone’s newest product, coincidentally, is a fizzy yellow Pilsener named Who You Callin’ Wussie, produced by Stone’s spinoff, Arrogant Brewing. So has Stone turned over turned to the light side, making beer for the masses?
The black matte 16-ounce can has a leering gargoyle on one side and a “WUSSIE” logo in a font lifted from a 1980s heavy-metal band. In the glass, the beer is a vibrant gold with a lingering white head. Both the aroma and body are packed with notes of grassy, floral hops, a toasted-biscuit malt and a bit of lemon. The finish is crisp and dry, but the lingering, spicy hops are what set this beer apart. It might not appeal to the cognoscenti who sip Victory’s traditional Prima Pils, in the same way that its aggressiveness might not steal fans of that self-described “true pilsner,” Miller Lite. It’s probably not meant to.
In true Stone fashion, each six-pack box has a sticker with canning date and a 90-day “Enjoy By” window. (The one I bought on July 20 had been canned on June 23 and should be good through Sept. 21.) Very helpful.
— Fritz Hahn
Arrogant Brewing Who You Callin’ Wussie. arrogantbrewing.com. $11.99 per six-pack.