Stoneface Brewing Company is a small pale ale-centric brewery located at the base of the White Mountains, just outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The brewery is clean and modern, and features a large tasting room that has one glassed wall that gives you a full-on look at the entire brewery including the tanks and manufacturing lines. Outside the taproom is a small beer garden with about six tables on a small patio.
Stoneface IPA is the first-ever brewed beer the company made. It remains one of their most popular beers and they even use the original recipe, only replacing the type of yeast, to brew another beer, their ‘Full Clip’ but it’s the IPA that got it all started. To many, it's the best available in New Hampshire – our own Chris Woodard took one with him when he had a beer with Umphrey's McGee, as an example.
Stoneface IPA pours into a pint glass a light yellow color. The beer looks hazy but is not cloudy, and there are no visible bubbles rising in the glass. The head pours out at about an inch thick, and looks light and airy. The light taste matches its look, and disippates in about a minute.
Taking a whiff of this beer you’ll get a burst of citrus, mainly tangerine, with notes of pine. The high-dosage of Citra hops are the most prevalent in the bouquet, though the beer does contain a combination of various other American hops including Columbus and Simcoe.
The mouthfeel is clean, and the taste of subdued and mellow. When the beer hits your palate, it is highly effervescent despite the fact that you don’t see bubbles after pouring it into the glass.
Stoneface strives to find the perfect pitching and aeration rate and this strive for perfection is not lost in the daily activities.”
Stoneface’s IPA is juicy, but maintains a nice, easily drinkable balance that differs from some of the region’s ‘juice bombs’. The slight bitterness balances out the fruit well, which contribute to a refreshing taste; overall this is a very drinkable beer. The bitterness lingers, and there are no traces of alcohol left on your palate. The flavors remain on the palate quite a while after drinking Stoneface IPA, with the aftertaste being a tad more bitter than the initial taste.
The environment in Stoneface is relaxed and fun. I had a chance to chat with Woody, one of the brewers who was sitting and chatting with customers in the taproom late on a Friday afternoon. He stressed that Stoneface strives to find the perfect pitching and aeration rate and this strive for perfection is not lost in the daily activities.
Woody hustled around the taproom and operations line to ensure all the beer being served was of the highest quality and everything was running smoothly both in the front and back of the house. Decked in a bright pink tee-shirt with a cupcake, and the phrase ‘Don’t Call me Cupcake’, Woody took great pride in discussing the techniques and recipes that make Stoneface one of the best in the region, competing with the likes of Bissell Brothers and Maine Beer Co. which are both less than an hour away.
You can find Stoneface beers at bars, restaurants, and retailers throughout New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.