- JESS ROBERTS
- Belgian Pale Ale
How fitting it is that Stone’s Throw Brewing, Arkansas’ newest craft brewer, should hold their soft opening on a Sunday, the traditional day of beer scarcity in these parts. I’ve been following the “nanobrewery” since last spring, and at that time their future brewing facility and taproom on the corner of 9th and Rock Street was a mass of half-hung dry wall, gutted ceilings, and some shiny new brewing equipment still in crates. But the men behind the brewery — Theron Cash, Ian Beard, Shawn Tobin, Brad McLaurin — have all been working hard to get their brewhouse up to Health Department standards and ready to serve, something that’s even more impressive given that each of the four holds down a day job in addition to their beer-making activities.
The scene at today’s soft opening was quite a bit different than that first visit: a small, attractive taproom stood ready to greet the enthusiastic crowd who showed up to sample the beer and perhaps get a bite to eat. We arrived just a few minutes after they started pouring, and by the time we got our pints in hand, the place was standing room only. We sampled two of Stone’s Throw’s house brews, the Belgian Pale Ale and the Ripple Effect Rye and were impressed by both. The BPA was as good as any Belgian-style beer I’ve ever sampled, with a nice, rich flavor on the front end that gave way to just the right amount of yeast flavor and slight sweetness on the finish. The Rye was a bit wilder in flavor (in a good way), with a dry finish that we found quite refreshing. In addition to the two beers we sampled, the brewery currently also has a house-made stout on tap as well as beers from local favorite Diamond Bear and Northwest Arkansas breweries Core Brewing and Saddlebock. Pints are available for $4 a glass, and a flight of 8 beers (encompassing everything that is on tap) runs a very reasonable $8.
Stone’s Throw isn’t big enough to house a full kitchen, but don’t think that there aren’t some good things to eat available. Parked outside today was the Southern Gourmasian, a cooperative effort between brewery and food truck that Ian Beard had first talked about back last spring. Inside, the inter-connected local support continued, with a meat, cheese, and pickle tray that featured products from Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Kent Walker Cheese, and Natchez Restaurant in the Tower Building. Seeing so many local businesses cross-pollinate like this is pretty exciting, and it’s the sort of business model that I think has a lot of potential to revolutionize the local food and drink scene here in the Rock.
Take a look down there under the jump for more pictures from the soft opening, and be sure to check out Stone’s Throw when they open for real on August 1st.