Brewer Exchange Program Kicks Off Next Week

Matt Steele
Representing our part in an international Craft Brewer Exchange Program with our friends at BrewDog, our Brewhouse Supervisor Jeremy Moynier is jumping on a plane for Scotland today. We’ll be getting BrewDog’s Lead Brewer, Stewart Bowman, in return. Both brewers will spend two weeks getting their boots wet and learning the ins and outs of each other’s domain.

“I’m excited to go,” said Jeremy. “I’m looking forward to brewing on a smaller scale again and seeing how those guys do things. The Metric System should make things interesting.” Jeremy isn’t all work and no play. He said he’s also looking forward to pubs, food, scotch, sight-seeing, and traveling with his girlfriend, Andrea, who is meeting up with him after his two week stint at BrewDog to enjoy a bit more of the continent before flying back home on Thursday, November 12. Jeremy did express some hesitation about the weather. “Martin Dickie (BrewDog Brewmaster) said the weather in Scotland is ‘pretty miserable’ right now. You know that when a Scot says the weather is miserable it’s going to be BAD.” Stewart, on the other hand, gets to escape the misery to sunny San Diego and bask in our laughably mild 70-degree Fall weather (just watch, he’ll probably complain about the balmy heat).

Brewhouse Supervisor Jeremy Moynier

Stone Brewhouse Supervisor Jeremy Moynier

The weather isn’t the only thing Stewart will enjoy when he flies in on Saturday night. He’ll also enjoy two weeks of Stone boot camp where he’ll better acquaint himself with brewing on a larger scale and perhaps glean a thing or two from our “we mean business” approach to brewing. He’ll also get a chance to learn from our mistakes and hopefully help BrewDog avoid some of the growing pains associated with rapid expansion. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to come over to Stone and work with some of the masters of the US craft brewing scene,” said Stewart. “I can’t wait get in there and help make some of the beers which have been so inspirational to all of us kids over at BrewDog.”

BrewDog's Stewart Bowman cozying up to a lovely cask of bashah maturing with tayberries

BrewDog's Stewart Bowman cozying up to a lovely cask of bashah maturing with tayberries

We don’t plan on letting the guys at BrewDog show us up with their hospitality; it’s our mission to show Stewart a damn good time. Unfortunately, he’ll be returning to Scotland right as San Diego Beer Week is revving up, but that won’t stop us from treating him to the time of his life in one of the most vibrant brewing scenes in the world. If you see him out around town you can help us out. Buy him a beer and show him that San Diego is where it’s at. Between that and the weather—and the beer of course—he may not want to leave.

-Matt Steele

Ken Schmidt Returns Home From GABF

Matt Steele
Alas, the 2009 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is over. All 495 competing breweries have packed their beers and headed home, some with shiny pieces of bling dangling from their necks (or if you’re Jeff Bagby, A LOT of bling), others sans bling but with the bolstered pride that comes from wowing thousands of beer fans with their delicious creations. Ken Schmidt happened to be part of the latter camp, and although he didn’t win in the Pro-Am Competition at the GABF, he came away with his head held high from the insane buzz that Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter generated. He called me during the fest to relay the results of the Pro-Am and left this message:

Ken Schmidt Voice Message from GABF

Just like at the Stone 13th Anniversary Celebration and Invitational Beer Festival, Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter was the object of bountiful adoration. It was the first keg to blow at the Pro-Am table, and it generated the longest lines. Ken said that he had a blast competing in the GABF, but it was only part of the exhilarating journey that began with his victory at our homebrewing competition back in March. “Competing in the Pro-Am Competition at the GABF was thrilling,” Ken said, “but being chosen by my brewing peers and the panel of eight from Stone (to help brew the Pro-Am selection with Stone) holds the greatest excitement for me. It has been a wonderful journey.”

Ken Schmidt toasting with fans at our GABF send-off party on September 21

Ken Schmidt toasting with fans at our GABF send-off party on September 21

We anticipate our next AHA Rally and homebrewing competition will be some time in March. Sign up for our homebrewing email newsletter for updates. When I talked to Ken on Monday, he said that he’s already brainstorming some more special brews to share. If they’re anything like his Aloha Plenty, we’ll be giddily awaiting their appearance.

-Matt Steele

The Stone and BrewDog Saga Continues…

Matt Steele
It’s no secret that we’re fans of our friends James, Martin and the whole team over at Scotland’s BrewDog. We’ve brewed two collaboration beers with them – BrewDog/Cambridge/Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner, and the more recent basha — and we admire them for having the guts to brew big, aggressive beers in the UK and the skill to succeed with it.

The last episode in the ongoing saga of Stone and BrewDog left off with a newly fermenting collaboration brew and some choice hand-selected Scotch whisky barrels stuffed with native Scottish fruit. So what’s next for our two breweries? Why, a Brewer Exchange Program of course.

Our Brewhouse Supervisor, Jeremy Moynier, playing with malt

Our Brewhouse Supervisor, Jeremy Moynier, playing in the malt

From October 23rd to November 12th, we’ll be trading our very own Brewhouse Supervisor, Jeremy Moynier, for BrewDog’s Lead Brewer, Stewart Bowman in an open exchange of brewing acumen. Stewart will get a chance to experience brewing on a larger scale and get a feel for how we do things (or as Mitch put it, “learn from our mistakes”), and Jeremy will get a chance to experience brewing in a smaller, fast-growing brewery in an entirely different beer culture. However, since BrewDog will be out of their Lead Brewer for two weeks, Jeremy will definitely have to step up and fill his boots.

This will be a “working trip” rather than a vacation for both brewers, but they’ll probably manage to throw in some diversions along the way. Jeremy did express interest in visiting a Scottish distillery or two and scoping out some choice barrels (hint hint, James and Martin!).

We’re incredibly excited to take Stewart under our wing and to live vicariously through Jeremy and reap the benefits of his stint at BrewDog. Stay tuned as this story takes shape.

-Matt Steele

San Diego Beer Week is Coming November 6-15

Matt Steele
This month’s issue of Men’s Journal names San Diego the “beer capital of the U.S.” We San Diegans have been saying that for years, but it’s nice to see other slightly less biased sources come to the same conclusion. And the folks over at Men’s Journal aren’t the only ones praising San Diego as a barley and hops mecca. Food & Wine Magazine calls San Diego County “one of the most dynamic beer scenes in America and arguably the world,” and Sunset Magazine says “…when it comes to beer, all roads lead to San Diego.” While there are countless craft beer innovators in the great state of California and the entire nation, we agree that our little palm tree-bedizened county has earned a special place in the craft beer movement. That’s why we, along with our San Diego craft beer brethren, decided to start San Diego Beer Week.
San Diego Beer WeekSan Diego Beer Week (SDBW) is a ten-day, county-wide festival from November 6-15th. We’ll be hosting special events here at Stone every day during SDBW, and our own “Grandfather of Beer Geeks” and infamous beer hoarder, Dr. Bill, has put together a phenomenal lineup of events so far. More will be announced in the coming weeks, but check out what’s planned so far:

Nov. 6 – Ten Year Lineup of Stone Imperial Russian Stout
Nov. 7 –
Incredibly awesome party yet to be announced
Nov. 8 – Ultimate Beer & Chocolate Pairing
Nov. 9 – The Tomme Arthur Experience
Nov. 10 – Allagash/Russian River “Dual Not Duel” Beer Dinner with Vinnie Cilurzo & Rob Tod
Nov. 11 – Patrick Rue of The Bruery Meet the Brewer Night
Nov. 11 – Beer U: Craft Beer Appreciation w/special guest Patrick Rue
Nov. 12 –
Wild and crazy bash still to be determined
Nov. 13 –
Kick-ass event still in the works
Nov. 14 –
Craft beer blowout yet to be finalized
Nov. 15 – Belgian Beer & Cheese Pairing

We’re not the only ones pulling out all the stops. Our craft beer compatriots are all upping the ante to ensure that SDBW is crammed full of spectacular events that will make even the most seasoned beer geeks squeal with joy. Stay tuned as more events take shape, and be sure to check the SDBW website for new developments and an ever-growing schedule of events.

The man behind our SDBW events, Dr. Bill

The man behind our SDBW events, Dr. Bill

With all the extraordinary brewing talent and craft beer fanaticism in this town, SDBW is destined to be one of the best beer weeks around. Sound a little too Arrogant for our first time? Well, San Diego didn’t rise to craft beer prominence by remaining meekly and humbly in the background.

Quite the opposite.

-Matt Steele

Ken Schmidt Hits the Road to Compete at the GABF

Matt Steele
Monday night we had a Great American Beer Festival (GABF) send-off party in the Bistro for Ken Schmidt, the gifted home brewer behind the Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter recipe. Local beer enthusiasts came by to wish Ken luck and to taste some of the delectable beer he’ll be competing with in the Pro-Am Competition at the GABF. Word on the street is that the beer is maturing nicely, with the coffee notes prevailing in the beginning and the coconut and macadamia nut coming on later as the beer warms up. Some starry-eyed beer geeks were so impressed with the beer and its creator that they even asked Ken to sign their bottles—proof that Ken is a bone-fide beer-lebrity now.

Ken Schmidt celebrating with fellow craft beer revelers in the Bistro on Monday night for our Ken Schmidt GABF Send-off Party

Ken Schmidt enjoying Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter with fellow craft beer revelers in the Bistro on Monday night for our GABF Send-off Party.

Word spread so fast about the deliciousness of the revered brew that all the cases allocated to the Stone Company Store sold out by 7pm Monday night. The beer only enjoyed a brief 8 hours of shelf life before every last bottle found it’s way into the anxious hands of local beer enthusiasts. The Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens also drained their allocated keg, so don’t expect to get it here any time soon (we are sometimes able to squirrel away a little for special appearances, so keep your eyes peeled for it in the future). Lest you now feel in the depths of despair, here’s some good news: we’re still distributing the beer to certain lucky locales, and we put together a list of places where you can find it. Southern and Northern California, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington, New York, and Colorado will all be getting some eventually, but it may not arrive until as late as mid-October, so ask your local specialty bottle shop and be patient. Our collaboration brews are notoriously low yield and extremely limited in availability, so count your blessings if you’re in one of the above locations.

Greg Koch celebrating Ken's victory at our AHA Rally and March Madness Competition back in March. Ken won the opportunity to brew his beer on our system and submit it to compete in the Pro-Am Competition at the GABF.

Stone CEO Greg Koch and Ken Schmidt toasting Ken's victory at our homebrewing competition back in March. Ken won the opportunity to brew his beer on our system with Garrett Marerro from Maui Brewing Co. and our very own Mitch Steele. He also won the chance to compete with the beer in the Pro-Am Competition of this year's GABF.

If you are fortunate enough to find Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter, then raise a glass to Ken for fashioning such divine nectar, and wish him luck at the GABF!

-Matt Steele

Stone Invades Connecticut


As you know, over 59 million Americans tragically suffer from the devastating condition of Stone Deprivation, but the fortunate residents of Connecticut won’t have to suffer much longer. We’ll begin distributing in the Constitution State on September 22, making Connecticut the 32nd state to receive Stone beer.

To celebrate our benevolent invasion, we’ll be throwing a series of kick-off events. The first will take place on Tuesday, September 22nd at 6pm at Prime 16, and the second will be later that night at Delaney’s at 9pm. Check out our Stone CT Events google calendar for a complete list of kick-off bashes. Keep an eye out for our hard-working Connecticut Sales Representative, Dennis Flynn, and be sure to thank him for helping spread the Arrogance to your once-thirsty state.

Our Connecticut Sales Representative, Dennis Flynn, means business

Our Connecticut Sales Representative, Dennis Flynn, means business

If you’re dying to know what Stone beers will be available and where, consult the CT section of our distribution page, and don’t be afraid to make a few phone calls. And for those of you who still suffer from Stone Deprivation, know that we haven’t forsaken you. It’s only a matter of time until we stage a take-over of your state, so be patient. In the meantime, continue to drink local and champion the cause of craft beer!

-Matt Steele

Our Estate Hops


If you’ve ever enjoyed a leisurely beer in our Gardens, you may have noticed a few clusters of that magical flower that we embrace so ardently: Humulus lupulus—or the Hop. Not only do we jam our beers packed full of this heavenly little plant, but we also deck our Gardens with beautiful vines of Chinook Hops. September is a common harvesting time for Hops, and it just so happens that ours are about as ripe as they come.

Our resident Botanical Wizard, Chili, is picking the cream of the crop from our Gardens today for later use in specialty casks. Whenever you see a cask in the Bistro or on our growler fill schedule with the words “Estate-grown hops” written next to it, you know exactly what you’re getting: fresh, organic Chinook Hops sustainably grown right here at Stone. Enjoy the stunning, Eden-like pictures, and raise a glass to the glory of the hop!

-Matt Steele

Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter – Mitch's Tasting Notes

Editor’s Note: Here are Mitch’s tasting notes for our upcoming collaboration brew, Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter. You’ll be able to judge the flavor profile for yourself when the beer starts hitting shelves (in very limited quantities!) on September 21. Until then, enjoy Mitch’s take on this delicious brew!

Appearance:
Deep brown, opaque with a creamy light brown head of foam.

Aroma:
Intense Kona Coffee combined with chocolate malts. The toasted coconut is also prominent, and when combined with the coffee and roasted malts, helps make this beer’s aroma reminiscent of a chocolate macaroon!

Flavor:
Coconut is more intense in the flavor with the coffee notes fading a bit to the background. Roasted chocolate malt and fruity esters make more of an impact here also, and the finish is where the macadamia nuts come in. It’s amazing how the flavor changes as this beer travels across the palate, and how all three of the special ingredients make their presence known in different stages.

Palate:
Full bodied, rich and luscious. It is simply incredible how smooth and silky this beer is.

Overall:
This is just an amazing beer to taste. The 3 special ingredients, Kona Coffee, toasted coconut, and macadamia nuts combine wonderfully, and come across at three distinct stages of tasting this beer. Just a wonderful beer to relax with and drink slowly, especially while thinking about the islands!

The masterminds behnd the beer (from left to right): Garrett Marrero from Maui Brewing Co., Homebrewer Ken Schmidt, and Stone Head Brewer Mitch Steele

The masterminds behind the beer (from left to right): Garrett Marrero from Maui Brewing Co., Homebrewer Ken Schmidt, and Stone Head Brewer Mitch Steele

Bottles of Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter on the bottling line

Bottles of Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter on the bottling line

-Mitch Steele

Over 59 Million Americans Suffer From Stone-Deprivation


As you may already know, we’ll be expanding distribution into the incredibly lucky state of Connecticut near the end of September. The fair people of the Constitution State will soon be enjoying our sweet, hoppy nectar and dancing in the streets, rejoicing in their shared good fortune while poor, unfortunate beer geeks in Stone-deprived states will continue to languish in their cosmic misfortune, shaking their fists at the sky and wondering why the beer gods have forsaken them thusly. If you find yourself in the latter, ill-fated camp, let us explain how we choose new areas to distribute in so that you’re no longer doomed to a life of pleading for our beer over email, facebook and Twitter (yes, we hear you MO!), forever uninformed and feeling perpetually slighted. Believe it or not, it’s slightly more complicated than a coin toss or “eenie meenie miny moe” (slightly).

It all depends on three main factors. The first and foremost consideration is a no-brainer: Can we make enough beer? Usually the answer is no, because we’re busy trying to brew enough beer for our current areas of distribution. Sure, we’ve experienced ridiculously explosive growth since we opened our doors in 1996, but even with two new fermenters coming in and another building in the plans, we’re still hard-pressed to meet demand for our beer in our present territories. What can we say? We have thirsty fans…

The second consideration is that of demand. We have to ask ourselves if a new territory harbors sufficient demand for our beer, not only among fanatical beer geeks and hop-heads, but also retailers. Without considerable longing from both camps, expansion into a new territory is simply not wise. You see, we need steady turnover for our year-round fresh beers. Without that, our beers might sit waiting for the knowledgeable beer buyer just a little too long on the shelves.

The third and final variable is an acceptable distribution option. We need a wholesaler who 1) understands great beer, 2) is knowledgeable about how to sell great beer, 3) knows how to take care of great beer, 4) has the proper infrastructure to get it to all the great retailers in their region that would like to stock Stone.

Now for the question we always get: Do we ship directly to homes? No, we don’t—but dry up those tears and spare us the hate mail, because you have a few options. Below is a list of people who CAN ship you some Arrogance right to your doorstep:

- Hi Time Wine Cellar  (800-331-3005)
- Liquid Solutions  (503-496-1942)
- Bottle Trek  (1-866-503-9049)
- Beer on the Wall  (1-888-840-BEER)
- Arctic Liquor  (877-817-9463)
- Holiday Wine Cellar  (760-745-1200)
- South Bay Drug & Liquor  (619-424-5164)

These places will usually send a decent selection of our beers to MOST states. Keep in mind that many states prohibit the shipping of beer from out of state, and as such, are typically not on the “eligibility list” for many of these shippers. State laws are complex and change frequently, so some may ship where others will not and vice versa.

The bottom line is, we’ll get to your state eventually. Maybe. As long as we’re able to meet the above parameters. Although we may not have immediate plans to invade your state, we have heard your cries for help. In the meantime, do your best to advocate craft beer. Supporting your local craft breweries, requesting better beer from retailers, and helping to convert others is the fastest way to get the choices you want. Until then…CHEERS!

- Matt Steele

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale: Mitch's Tasting Notes


The Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale is a bit of departure from the last two Stone Vertical Epic Ale editions, which were golden in color. The newest one can best be described as a Belgian style Imperial Porter. The beer is deep brown, with intense roasted character provided by chocolate malt.

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

During the brewing process, we also added dark candi sugar, vanilla bean, and tangerine peel to complement the flavors of the porter. The vanilla bean addition is fascinating, as it actually enhances the chocolate character from the roasted malts, and the candi sugar adds a nice hint of molasses flavor to the finish. The tangerine actually turned out to be quite subtle on the finish (and didn’t impart as much of an orange flavor as we reported earlier), and combines nicely with the chocolate malt character. We aged this beer on French Oak chips, which contributes a smooth and subtle woody undertone and even more vanilla flavors.

Mitch and the brew crew proudly displaying their newest creation

Mitch and the brew crew proudly displaying their newest creation. From left to right: Mitch Steele, Sean Brennan, John Egan, Jessica Gilman, Jeremy Moynier, Laura Ulrich, and Justinian Caire.

All in all the Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale is a very complex beer, the flavors evolve and develop as the beer warms in your glass, making the enjoyment of it a very fun and delicious experience!

Appearance:
This beer pours deep brown with a thick, frothy, creamy head of tan foam.

Aroma:
Many layers, starting off with chocolate and coffee from the chocolate malt, and vanilla notes from both the vanilla bean and French Oak. A balanced oak flavor comes through in the mix. As the beer warms, the influence of the Belgian yeast is more evident, as tropical fruit and spice flavors become more pronounced.

Flavor:
Begins with chocolate roast malt character and vanilla. The vanilla accentuates the chocolate nicely. Layered in are banana esters, and hints of clove, and then the finish is a bit stronger on the oak with hints of molasses and citrus from the tangerine peel.

Palate:
Medium body, very complex, and finishes very smooth. The 8.6% alcohol is not overly evident, and the flavors blend together nicely.

Overall:
A delicious, complex beer. It should age nicely over the next three years, and the flavors should continue to meld together wonderfully.

-Mitch Steele


Editor’s Note: Look out for Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale on September 9, 2009, and check the website for the latest info.