Lymestone Brewery, Abdominal Stoneman and Ein Stein
Lymestone (an amalgamation of the names of the towns of Newcastle under Lyme and Stone, both in Staffordshire) Brewery was founded by self-confessed “hophead, motorcyclist, foodie, rugby retiree, sustainability nerd, Stoke City fan, and a bit of a leftie” Ian ‘Brad’ Bradford in 2008. He had spent the previous twelve years at Titanic Brewery where he joined as a driver and left as an accomplished brewer.
Based just outside Stone town centre, this was a good place to set up shop. For almost a thousand years, the town has been a brewing hotbed. Stone's first recorded brews were by Augustinian Monks who brewed ales blessed with the sign of the cross.
When searching for premises Ian came across a building advertised simply as "a brick built industrial unit". It turned out to be a former Victorian brewery. Quite a large one at that. Talk about landing on your feet.
The brewery was built in 1889 on the edge of the town within easy reach of the canal, and later the railway. It changed hands a number of times, being altered and enlarged throughout the early 20th century. Production reached its peak during the Second World War but the brewery was closed by Bass Charrington in the 1970's, with the site being sold and turned into industrial units.
Now Lymestone are in the building it houses a 10 barrel brew plant capable of producing about 40 firkins (casks containing 72 pints) per brew. It has fermentation capacity for 60 barrels meaning that Brad can brew up to 6 times per week. Brad’s wife Viv and Lol the spaniel keep the place ticking over.
The brewery produces a decent range of permanent cask ales as well as seasonal brews which are usually found in and around Stone, Staffordshire and up to 50 miles from the Brewery. We (and now you) have got our hands on two of their pale ales (our favourites from their core range) in bottle.
Ein Stein, described as a “blonde continental style pale ale” pours straw yellow with a decent pillowy white head and a fresh floral nose. Slight whiffs of lemon and rich tea biscuit will make you desperate to get stuck in. German Hersbrucker hops steal the show in the taste, offering up oranges, lemons, grapefruit and elderflower. Fresh as a daisy and crisp enough to make it dangerously drinkable. A summer pub garden pale if ever there was one.
Abdominal Stoneman is a more heavy hitting American Pale Ale. A more prominent Maris Otter base provides a solid backdrop, reflected in the burnt amber colour and big toffee flavours. Three attention-seeking US hops make a good fight for the limelight. The bitterness is prominent and just about the right side of astringent. This is a heavy hitting beer with big flavours and against all odds, great balance. Not as scary as it sounds.