For this installment of Tasting Notes, we seek refuge from the unrelenting summer heat in a tall pour of Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager from Stone Brewing (Escondido, California).
Created to serve as the “perfect island companion to [Stone Brewing’s] tropically-inspired, fruit forward lineup of IPAs”, Stone Tropic of Thunder is a refreshing “Tropical Lager” that possesses “aromas of citrus, pineapple and coconut . . . followed by flavors of lime, orange and passion fruit.” This sensory experience is framed beautifully by “a newer hop variety – Cashmere – [which] . . . imparts flavors of ripe cantaloupe that elevate the juicy qualities of this beer.” Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager clocks in at 5.8% ABV and 58 IBUs.
Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager originally debuted in California near the end of 2018 and is now officially available across the country. You can expect to find this new Year-Round offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution territory.
Alright . . . now that we have properly covered all the information behind Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager, let’s get into these Tasting Notes and see what this Tropical Lager is all about!
Tasting Notes for Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager from Stone Brewing
Appearance: A careful pour from a 19.2 oz. can produces a lager that is straw yellow in color and topped with over two fingers of pillowy, bright white foam. When held to direct light, the yellows grow a bit more vibrant as they take on soft golden tones. The beer is perfectly clear and shows off the lively carbonation presence coursing within. Head retention is good, falling slowly to a thin but complete top cap that leaves a perfect notch of lace on the glass after each sip.
Aroma: The aromatics open with a delightful trio of tropical notes: sweet melon, pineapple and mango. A burst of citrus – grapefruit, orange and lemon – lends support and draws even more attention to those tropical notes. The grains round everything off with a gently sweet crackery quality. Very subtle here, but still refined and quite tempting.
Taste: To firmly assert that this is indeed a lager, the grains take point here with a clean biscuity malt presence. The malt sweetness ultimately gives way to a beautifully delicate, juicy hop character filled with notes of cantaloupe, passion fruit, tangerine, pineapple, dragon fruit, and lime zest. The profile closes with just a hint of herb and a lingering grace of crisp white wine.
Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium in body with a bright carbonation level, this lager is incredibly easy-drinking and finishes nice and dry. The beer further increases its overall level of drinkability by finding a gorgeous balance between its biscuity malt sweetness and fruity hop bite. We had a difficult time believing that this beer clocks in at 5.8% ABV because there is not even a hint of alcohol to be found. The aftertaste leaves behind a wonderful combination of white wine and passion fruit.
Final Thoughts: Just as any good lager should be, Stone Tropic of Thunder is ridiculously drinkable and flavorful. The true beauty of this beer lies in its balance. Sure, the hops dominate the flavor and aroma, but the not at all shy malt character takes the edge off the hop bitterness and makes damn sure that its presence is known.
Above all, this beer does everything it can to emphasize that it is definitely not just another lager pretending to be an IPA. No . . . Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager is more of a nod to those classic, hop-forward European lagers that have been around forever, but this one just uses fruitier new school hops rather than Noble hops. It is clearly a beer that has learned plenty from the past but has also picked up a few new tricks along the way.
If you have love for the lager in your heart and are on the hunt for something crispy and new, Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager absolutely deserves a place in your fridge or cooler this summer. Be sure to keep an eye out for this one the next time you hit your favorite craft beer store or bar. Prost!