Beer for the Weekend: The Stone of Arbroath

stone of arbroath 2by John Ellis

It’s not that I dislike the “Buy Local” campaign, it’s that I’ve never heard a good explanation of what constitutes “local.” For example, the selection for this week’s Beer for the Weekend, DC Brau’s The Stone of Arbroath, is brewed in the District of Columbia. I live across the river in Arlington; if I take I395, the brewery is a mere 10.07 miles from my apartment[1]. Of course, those who actually live in the District look down their wonky noses at those of us who live in Arlington[2], and they roll their eyes and derisively grunt if they overhear one of us Arlingtonians tell tourists that we’re from DC. Since the neighbors of the brewery probably scoff at me and don’t consider me a “local,” does this mean that when I buy beer brewed by DC Brau Brewing Company that I’m not shopping local? Or do the opinions of DC snobs not count, and I can proudly trumpet from the Temple steps that I shop local? I’m not sure that I care since my pretty much my only concern about beer is “does it taste delicious?”[3] And local or not, DC Brau’s The Stone of Arbroath is delicious.

The Stone of Arbroath is a Scotch Ale; or, in the popular vernacular of Scotland – a Wee Heavy. Scotch Ales tend to have a higher abv than the average ale, and, at a comforting 8% abv, The Stone of Arbroath gives due credit to the Wee Heavy tradition. Scotch Ales have a focus on the malts, and are rich and sweet with deep brown coloring. If you’re unfamiliar with Scotch Ales, The Stone Arbroath from DC Brau is a great introduction.

AROMA: I love the smell of sweet malts, and The Stone of Arbroath’s aroma is full of luscious caramel, plump raisins, and ripe plums. A hint of floral from the hops keeps the malt sweetness from being overwhelming. A very nicely balanced and appealing aroma. 10.5/12

stone of arbroathAPPEARANCE: The Stone of Arbroath pours the color of dark caramel with a light, toffee colored head. The head has good retention and leaves delicate lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Lots of rich caramel. The malt flavors also speak to raisin bread and dark fruits. There are some fresh grass notes from the hops. The finish is long with a nice and mellow bitterness. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with a nice dryness. The Stone of Arbroath has a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is a bit reductive, but think caramel for adults. The Stone of Arbroath is much more complex than that, but if you love caramel and alcohol, you’ll love this beer. The sweetness is balanced very well with a satisfying and subdued bitterness. 8.5/10

TOTAL: 45/50

Outstanding (45-50), Excellent (38-44), Very Good (30-37), Good (21-29), Fair (14-20), Problematic (0-13)


[1] At the moment, according to mapquest, those 10.07 miles will take me 46 minutes to drive based on current traffic.

[2] To be fair, those of us who live in Arlington look down our wonky noses at people who live in Falls Church.

[3] Look, I’m also concerned about things like fair business practices, environmentally sustainable practices, and that the beer is delicious.

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