THE JONES BREWING COMPANY
Smithton, Pennsylvania - Founded in 1907
Legend has it that William B. “Stoney” Jones won the Eureka Brewing Company in a friendly game of cards in Sutersville Pennsylvania back in 1881, adding it to an impressive list of coal mines and hotels he owned. Jones was an immigrant from Wales, and the local population (heavy Italian and German) couldn’t pronounce the word “Eureka”, instead asking for “Stoney’s” beer. So Stoney changed the name to “The Jones Brewing Company” and the flagship brand was now called “Stoney’s”. In 1907, Jones moved the brewery down the Youghiogheny River to Smithton, and built a brewery right on the river bank in the center of town. The brewery prospered from Smithton, and by the time of Prohibition they were producing over 500,000 barrels of beer a year and were the toast of Eastern Pennsylvania. One of the keys to the success of “Stoney’s” beer was how it was produced. “Stoney” was a diabetic and he wanted to produce a beer that he could drink, so the “Stoney’s” Lager was produced without the addition of brewing sugars or any other chemicals. This made Stoney’s Premium Lager crisper and dryer than the competition and gave the beer it’s distinct style. Prohibition closed most of the breweries in Pennsylvania, but not the Jones Brewery, who made a living selling purified water and ice from the River. When Prohibition ended, the Jones family were well equipped to start producing and promoting the “Stoney’s” beers again and soon led the way in volume numbers with their flagship “Stoney’s” Lager and their “Fort Pitt” and “Esquire” beers. These were considered in their day some of the finest beers ever produced in Pennsylvania and are still talked about with much reverence today by the Pennsylvania old-timers. Stoney’s son Paul took over in the 1940s as sales continued to climb and his only daughter was often found scampering around the brewery back then; Shirley Jones became a very famous actress (Oklahoma, Partridge Family etc). Paul’s nephew William Jones III took the Brewery into the 20th century with savvy marketing, continued high quality and inventiveness. The brewery hit it’s Zenith by the 1960s with production hitting 1 million barrels a year. Bill Jones III was also very active in the Small Brewers Association during the 60s and 70s and helped many small brewers get their feet wet - the main reason Pennsylvania has been one of the leaders in today’s craft explosion here in the U. S. - Finally, in 1988 the Jones family sold the brewery to a local couple by the name of Gabriel and Sandra Podlucky who were high school sweethearts and married in 1960. The Podlucky’s were devoted Stoney’s fans, and have made sure that the original brewing recipes are painstakingly adhered to, even as their brewery fell apart and production was moved down the road to Pittsburgh. Gabriel passed away from Cancer four years ago and Sandy has taken over the company with great passion and a unique business sense. That dry, “roasty” crispness is still there over 100 years later as the “Stoney’s” recipe has been altered little since those early days. A truly treasured brew.
STONEY'S PREMIUM LAGER
Jones Brewing Company - Smithton, Pennsylvania
Stoney's is a classic American Lager with European roots. Crisp, clean and slightly bitter, it is appetizing yet refreshing and thirst quenching. The finest American grains are used for brewing and the domestic hops add the slight bitterness. 4.6% Alcohol. 160 Calories per bottle - Under 10g Carbohydrates per bottle.
“Being a big fan of the pilsners, this to me is a session beer! Medium golden hue with a small crown and minor glass ring. Carbonation is limited but seems stronger. The body is full medium. Aroma has a very slight yeasty scent. The taste starts a slim malty sweetness and finishes to the hops and a burning quality that requires further consumption to continue the loop. Very nice. Recommended!”
THE BEER ADVOCATE (Shiloh)
“I have to admit that being from this area where this beer is made, this is the first time I've had it on tap. I was pleasantly surprised! Taste is of corn but with a slight hint of hops. Not too sweet and very drinkable of a hot day. Not bad at all for what it is, a mild lager with no surprises and very drinkable. Much better than BMC.”
THE BEER ADVOCATE (Kolsch)
STONEY'S PREMIUM LIGHT LAGER
Jones Brewing Company - Smithton, Pennsylvania
Stoney's Light is a Premium Light American Lager. Stoney's Light is brewed specifically to ensure a refreshing beer with a crisp, clean, light finish. With 90 Calories and low carbohydrates. 4.3% Alcohol. 90 Calories per bottle - Under 5g Carbohydrates per bottle.
Stoney's Light identifies itself as "The Light Alternative." "Alternative to what?" we ought to ask ourselves. To standard American macro-brewed lagers? To "heavy" beers that have high ABVs, more carbohydrates, and higher caloric contents? Or to other light lagers, which are notorious for sacrificing flavor in order to offer a brew with slightly fewer calories? The only thing "alternative" about the beer's appearance is that unlike most light lagers it offers no head. Even a vigorous pour fails to produce any foam to speak of. But then there's the nose. I'm interested. There is no hoppy aroma to speak of, but the smell of honey is distinct. The beer is moderately carbonated, just like most light beers. The flavor of orange blossom or clover honey lingers on the palate. There is not much complexity or depth, and half way through the bottle I am asking myself if the nectarous aroma and flavor is unique enough to keep me interested. The hops are overpowered by the honey malt; this lack of balance flattens out the flavor in some measure. The bottle tells us to expect a "light, refreshing" beer, and to some extent this is what it delivers. It is refreshing, but not because it is crisp and somewhat watery, as most light lagers are. It is light in terms of body, but because of its lingering sweetness its lightness is different from that of other light lagers. Stoney's Light offers an alternative to the kinds of crisp, mildly hoppy, somewhat watery light lagers that we have come to expect. You might drink one on a hot summer afternoon; but, as an alternative to this standard way of appreciating light lagers, you might also try pairing one with an antipasto plate of cheeses, olives, peppercorn crackers, and dried meats."
THE BEER ADVOCATE (GMB)
INCLINED PLANE INDIA PALE ALE
FLAT ROCK BREWING COMPANY - Smithton, Pennsylvania
Flat Rock is a new line of beers from the Jones Brewing Company. These new ales have been ramped up in hops yet still admirably balanced. Up high or down low, inclined plane ale is the way to go!
"For the non-knowing, an inclined plane is also a funicular and we have a couple in Pittsburgh and one in Johnstown. The Crack & Glug went nicely and produced just over two fingers of dense, tawny head with good retention. Color was a slightly hazy orangish-amber. Nose was very minty with hops, kind of spearmint or evergreen, but definitely hoppy. Mouthfeel was medium and it had a definite hops bite on the tongue. Finish was semi-dry and I got a caramel sweetness on the extreme finish to accompany the hops. The site has it as an APA, although some have speculated in their reviews that the name is a nod to the IPA style. I think that I would review it more highly as an APA, given that the hops are not overly dominant. Let me research this a bit further. All in all, not bad at all. Recommended."
THE BEER ADVOCATE (WoodyChandler)
"Cloudy dark gold with a thick white head. Aged creamy grains and honey. Strong scent. Tastes much like it smells though there is a better taste of grains. It's a light taste with a crisp matching after-taste. Much better quality than the nose suggests. low carbonation with a semi-dry finish. A very drinkable APA. Always going to be able to find something better, but for an alternative, in a can, this is a decent substitute if you're looking for something new to try. Recommended."
THE BEER ADVOCATE (AdamBear)