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No fizzy yellow beer here: A visit to Stone Brewing in California

May 24, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Travelin'

Mike and Stone Greg

I’ve been to a lot of breweries, big and small, but Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, Calif., may be the swankiest brewery of them all. The brewery features the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, which includes a 300+ seat restaurant, open-air patio, one-acre organic beer garden and company store.

And by sheer luck, I happened to show up at Stone on the day of the book release of “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.,” a behind-the-scenes look at the history of Stone Brewing, with recipes from the bistro and never-before released homebrew recipes for Stone beers.

As a result, I got to meet Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, co-founders of Stone Brewing Co., and Randy Clemens, public relations coordinator at Stone, who are co-authors of the book. (That’s me and Greg pictured up top.)

And that’s not all! I happened to show up at Stone for a special tasting of the excellent 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, which was aged in bourbon barrels. Later, on a tour of the brewery, I also got to sample Stone Pale Ale, Stone Smoked Porter, Stone India Pale Ale and Arrogant Bastard Ale. It’s hard to beat fresh Stone beer on tap.

Stone - tabletStone was founded in 1996 in San Marcos, Calif. The first keg of Stone Pale Ale was sold on July 26, 1996, to Vince Marsaglia of Pizza Port fame.

Stone - bottles & grainsThe tour at Stone started with everything you need to make beer!

Stone- tour guideOur tour guide’s sage advice: “If you’re worried about calories, ride your bike to the liquor store.”

Stone - Long view of tanksStone projects that it will produce 180,000 barrels of beer in 2012.

Stone - tanksThe brewery is among the fastest-growing in America over the past 15 years, averaging 43% year-to-year growth in that period.

Stone - bottling lineStone’s bottling line can produce 20 cases per minute.

Stone - Cases of Stone IPAStone IPA, along with Stone Pale Ale, are Stone’s flagship beers.

Stone- WussiesStone is known for brewing beers with “big character.” They are not for wussies.

Stone - restaurantStone’s restaurant, which seats 385, has 32 craft and specialty beers on tap, plus more than 100 bottles, as well as an extensive wine list.

Stone - GargoyleA gargoyle is the mascot for Stone Brewing Company and appears on Stone’s labels, which are some of the coolest labels around.

•••

So it’s been eight months since my visit to Stone Brewing Co. in the San Diego area, and I’m just now getting around to posting these photos from the trip. And guess what? I’m headed back to San Diego very soon. So before I head that way again, please leave a comment below and tell me what breweries and brewpubs I need to check out in San Diego.

Grant rejoices as six-packs of Stone IPA now available in Memphis

August 05, 2011 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Memphis

grant-excited-about-stone-ipa

Grant is super excited that Stone IPA is now available in Memphis in six-packs. He celebrated his birthday and International IPA Day with a cold Stone. (And if you ever wondered where we got the name FuzzyBrew, behold the fur.)

Thursday was International IPA Day, a grassroots celebration of the iconic craft beer style adored by hopheads around the world.

It was also Grant’s 29th birthday.

So it was fortuitous that I heard some excellent news Thursday morning about a recent beer addition to the Memphis market.

Southwestern Distributing is now carrying the California-brewed Stone India Pale Ale in 12-oz. six-packs. The beer was previously available in 22-ounce bottles, but as of this week, you can buy a sixer to share with friends.

I passed this information on to Grant’s better half, Carrie, who surprised Grant last night with a six-pack of Stone IPA for his birthday and to toast International IPA Day. Witness his excitement in the above photo.

If you’ve never had Stone IPA, here is Stone’s description of it just to make you thirsty:

An “India Pale Ale” by definition is highly hopped and high in alcohol – you’ll find our Stone India Pale Ale to be true to style with a huge hop aroma, flavor and bitterness throughout. If you’re a hop-head like us, then you’ll love our Stone India Pale Ale! Medium malt character with a heavy dose of over the top hops! Generous “dry hopping” gives this beer its abundant hop aroma and crisp hop flavor.” [source]

Since the Stone IPA is a high-gravity beer — it clocks in at 6.9% ABV — it’s only available at liquor stores and restaurants that sell big beers. Here’s a list of the local liquor stores that have bought it so far:

Natalie’s Liquor Warehouse
Buster’s Liquors & Wines
Great Wine & Spirits
Joe’s Wine & Liquor
Kimbrough Towers Fine Wine & Spirits
Poplar Wine & Spirits
Yorkshire Liquors

Also, Mellow Mushroom in Germantown has bought some and other Memphis-area restaurants may get it soon.

Stone IPA

A six-pack of Stone IPA.