Stone Ruination IPA turns the big 1-0

Stone Blog -- Randy Clemens

You know what the problem is with you young punk craft beer drinkers today? You don’t know how good you’ve got it! Double IPAs everywhere, flowing like water! Heck, when I was your age, I had to trek over 100 miles uphill in the snow to get something even remotely hoppy! Oh, gosh, who am I kidding? I’m only 27. The fact is, *I* am a young punk, reveling in the bounty of lupulin-loaded libations at my fingertips.

But thinking back, it’s crazy to see how far my tastes have come. And I know for a fact I’m not the only one who can say that. I remember tasting my first Stone IPA years ago… and absolutely hating it.  (Sorry Greg. Sorry Steve. I was young and naïve!) It was so much more bitter than anything I’d ever had, and I was sure that I was not, and would never be, a hophead. But I remember telling a friend about my less-than-stellar experience, and he immediately replied, “Oh, you should try Ruination! It’s their Double IPA!” Wait a tick; if their straight IPA was way too bitter for me, why in the hell would I want to try their Double IPA?! But my friend persisted, twisted my arm, held a gun to my head, and somehow got me to try a sip. And then… a HOPIPHANY.

He-Man Tripping Balls

This is how I felt when I had my first Stone Ruination IPA

Holy bitter breakthrough, Batman! What was this beautiful, citrusy magic I was tasting?! My eyes were opened. My worldview changed. I had seen the glory of the almighty hop, and it was good.

Your 2012 Itinerary, According to Stone

A few weeks ago we took a walk down memory lane, recounting for you the many accolades and accomplishments Stone achieved over the course of 2011.  We are not content, however, to rest on our laurels.  We’ve now turned our sights to the future and all the amazing things we have in store for you in 2012.  Dates have been set for our annual special releases as well as all of our epic beer fests.  So read on and prepare yourself for a whole year of beer-tastic-ness.  Ale-mazement?  You get the idea…

2011 San Diego Beer Week, Part 2

Jacob McKean

San Diego Beer Week: Nov. 4-13th

Last week we presented you with the 11 amazing San Diego Beer Week events we’ll be hosting at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. This week, we venture a bit further afield, out into the broad, welcoming arms of America’s Finest City for 26(!) devastatingly awesome events (more to come — we’re shooting for an even 30.)

An exciting point about this year: virtually all of the events we have planned will feature an actual, live member of Team Stone on hand to answer your questions, raise a toast, and/or adorn your body with their signature.

A startlingly large number of these events will be attended by Stone CEO & Co-Founder Greg Koch, who has apparently obtained a hoverboard or Star Trek-style transporter; without such a device, I struggle to explain how he will be able to make so many appearances. So if you’d like to meet Greg, this is your chance because he will probably go into some kind of anti-social hibernation mode after it’s all over.

Now, on to the events. They’re helpfully listed on the right side of our SDBW website in a super handy Google calendar, allowing you to import them directly into your own Google calendar if you happen to use one. As you can see, there are a ridiculous number of events per day, but if you manage to attend all of them, Greg will reward you by covering every inch of your exposed skin (…or at least the back of your hand) in #gregface temporary tattoos. You wouldn’t want to miss that opportunity. Greg’s a bit of a shrinking violet, so it helps him come out of his shell.

As far as strategy goes, we recommend reading through all of these listings and determining which reservations/tickets you want to jump on. These events are popular and tend to fill up. Missing one means you’ll have to carry the pain of your failure-to-act until next year, so don’t let work or family or probation check-ins interfere with your browsing. It’s San Diego Beer Week we’re talking about here.

2011 San Diego Beer Week, Part 1

Jacob McKean

Not only is San Diego Beer Week simply too much beer week for a single blog post, it’s too much beer week for a single week, thus stretching to a slightly more comfortable but still utterly intense 10 days from November 4th-13th, 2011.

And in those 10 days, we will quite literally be taking it to 11 by hosting 11 incredible events at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. And we’re just talking about events actually at Stone; events around town are coming up in the next blog post.

Returning gems include:

Rare Beer Breakfast, Friday, November 4th, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. Our kick-off event for San Diego Beer Week returns for a second year with decadence galore. Amazing food, hard to find beers and live music. (Read: Lotsa tasty bacon. Lotsa tasty rare beers. Lotsa tasty live tunes.)

Beer U: Intro to San Diego Craft Beer, Monday, November 7th, 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Stone’s beloved blabbermouth, Ken Wright, tells the story behind San Diego’s brewing success while offering samples of some of the brews that put San Diego on the map, along side some up-and-coming greats.

Meet the Brewer: Firestone Walker, Friday, November 11th, 6:00 PM. Rub elbows with some of the award-winning crew from Firestone Walker Brewing Co. They’re visiting us to continue their 15th Anniversary celebration and will be bringing extra special beers with them, including just-released barrel-aged Firestone Walker 15.

That is, as they say, just the beginning. We’ve added a slew of new events to our roster, which will surely blow the minds of all those brave enough to attend. Here are some of these newfangled wonders:

Bitter Sunday, November 5th, 11am – 11pm & Saison Saturday, November 12th, 11am – 11pm. These spectacular all day celebrations will feature 24+ world-class IPAs and 24+ Saisons on-tap, respectively. A brilliant way to taste your way through these classic styles.

Master Pairings Dinner: Stephen Beaumont vs. “Dr.” Bill, Tuesday, November 8th, 6pm – 9pm. Our renowned beer expert “Dr.” Bill Sysak (@BistroBeer) goes head-to-head with acclaimed beer writer and notorious Canadian Stephen Beaumont (@BeaumontDrinks) in a showdown of beer pairing excellence. The diners will vote on the superior pairing for each course of this decadent feast. The loser will drop down to one knee and bestow the winner in this high-ego matchup of the year! (Make sure to bring your cameras kids!)

Stone Pour It Black Festival, Sunday, November 13th, 10am – 4pm. Joining the ranks of Oakquinox and Sour Fest in our panoply of epic beer festivals, the first annual Pour It Black festival will dance freely among porters, stouts, schwartzbiers, and Black IPAs from around the world mixed lavishly with modifiers ranging from Belgian, Double, Imperial and Barrel-Aged. If you’ve been to our other festivals, you know the level “Dr.” Bill brings to the taps, so no further hyperbole is necessary.

Next up: San Diego Beer Week events around America’s Finest City.

2011 National Book & Beer Tour

Jacob McKean

Did you hear that we wrote a book? It’s called The Craft of Stone Brewing: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance.

We bet you hadn’t heard that, which is why we’re sending our demonstrative CEO & Co-Founder Greg Koch on a 9-city book tour. That’s right, Greg & his face are coming to your town, assuming you live in one of the selected 9 cities east of the Mississippi.

What will Greg do on this book tour, you ask? Well, lots of things, but he’ll be talking a lot about exactly how Stone morphed from a tiny two person operation into one of fastest growing, most widely known craft breweries in the world, all while maintaining a fierce commitment to business ethics and the principles our founders hold dear.

So what exactly can the lucky folks who attend these events expect? Well, we’ve selected a veritable potpourri of venues, so it depends on which one(s) you go to.

  • If you choose to attend one of Greg’s talks at a university, you’ll hear about the history of Stone, his entrepreneurial philosophy, and the secrets to the company’s success.
  • If you attend one of his events at a bookstore, you’ll get to meet Greg, have the opportunity to get your photo taken with him (instant holiday card material), and get your beloved copy of our tome signed by him.
  • And finally, if you attend one of his events at a bar, you can expect an absolutely stellar selection of Stone beers, the opportunity to share a beer with said CEO, hear his stump speech, catch him as he dives off the bar, get a temporary tattoo of his screaming visage affixed to your person, and have a generally joyful time.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at every event. That may also be true of the temporary tattoo thing.

So check out the handy interactive map on our book tour website and see if your city has been selected as one of the lucky hosts. Regardless of whether or not it has, we highly recommend that you stop whatever you’re doing and attend all of them. Dedicated “roadies” will receive additional temporary tattoos and inscrutable words of wisdom.

The Great American Beer Festival Was Utterly Fantastic

Jacob McKean

Whew, well, the Great American Beer Festival is over, and now, just over a week after it ended, things are finally getting back to normal.

It’s hard to encapsulate just how much work goes into putting together the GABF.

The sheer enormity of America’s premier beer festival, which occupies a staggering 300,000 square foot portion of the Colorado Convention Center, requires a seemingly endless swarm of green shirted volunteers, along with hundreds of security guards, cleaners, and staff. All told, 49,000 beer fans attended this year, with tickets selling out faster than ever before (literally in days once they went on sale months earlier).

The feeling of walking into the GABF is incomparable. With excitement building for months in advance, the line to get in nearly a mile long, virtually half the crowd dressed in a variety of absurd costumes, and a gaggle of bagpipers in full Scottish regalia playing at an almost inconceivable volume, the buzz and excitement somehow manages to fill every corner of the cavernous room.

It was an incredible joy to meet so many Stone fans, many of who had very nice things to say to us as we poured countless 1 oz. tasters of our precious beer. And to see so many people wearing Stone t-shirts, hats, and the like was a disproportionate show of pride from our loyal legions.

Overall, the 2011 Great American Beer Festival was a characteristically rewarding and tiring experience. Stone Colorado Regional Sales Representative Chris Cantrell put countless hours into planning Stone’s presence at the festival and lined up a series of tremendous events at some of the fantastic craft beer establishments that have cropped up around Denver in recent years.

Stone CEO & Co-Founder Greg Koch was out and about with characteristic verve, signing copies of our book, “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.” with co-author Randy Clemens and posing for a seemingly endless series of photos with fans.

Several other members of Team Stone, including yours truly, made their presence felt, either by helping with booth set-up, pouring beer, or appearing in a rigged and preposterous quiz game against Durango, Colorado’s venerable Ska Brewing Co. (who were the victors of said game; we’re contesting the results and demanding a rematch).

All in all, it was a tremendously good time and an unparalleled opportunity to try an epic assortment of incredible craft beers; which is, of course, the point of the whole exercise.

In fact, the tidal wave of extremely high quality offerings at the festival can only lead this beer lover to a larger conclusion: that now is, undoubtedly, the best time & place in history to drink beer…and you don’t even have to be at the GABF to do that!

A Book Release, Stone Style

Some might be content with a folding table in a bookstore for (their) book release, but you know us better than that. After all, The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. is the first (ever) book about us, and we spent over a year writing it. Tomorrow (9/27/11) is the big national release day, and here’s what we have planned to celebrate at the brewery…

To start, a book signing:

Greg Koch, Steve Wagner & Randy Clemens will be signing your books  and graciously posing for pictures out in the gardens starting at 5pm. We’ll even have staff on hand to take the picture for you. So that you don’t have to wait in a never-ending line for your coveted signatures, we’ll be calling people to the table in groups. If your group isn’t up yet, you can go get a beer in the meantime. Pretty good customer service, huh? Well, it gets even better when you look at the tap list…

On tap starting at 4pm:

  • Stone Ruination IPA Double Dry Hopped w/ Delta & Galaxy Hops
  • Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale Double Dry Hopped w/ Apollo & Target Hops
  • Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Double Dry Hopped w/ Motueka and Pacific Jade Hops
  • Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA
  • 2004 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine*
  • Dogfish Head / Victory / Stone Saison du BUFF*
  • Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout in bottles*
    *Look for these homebrew recipes of these beers in the book!

Books for sale in the store, along with rare 500ml bottles!

You can pick up the book for $25 +tax at the store starting at 11am. We’ve released three rare Quingenti Millilitre beers that will only be available for purchase by those who own The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.. Each copy of the book you own* entitles you to buy ($25 +tax and crv) one of the following 500ml bottles:

2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels
2010 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels**
2010 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Red Wine Barrels**

*Regardless of where you bought it. This offer is good to anyone visiting our store in Escondido until 9/30/12 or until we run out of bottles. (If you pre-ordered through Warwick’s or at the GABF, you are still guaranteed the right to purchase a bottle through 9/30/12.)
**the BELGO versions are in very limited supply. First come, first served.

Live Cooking and Beer Pairing Demonstrations

Chef Alex Carballo will be hosting a complimentary cooking demonstration of recipes from the book on the upstairs balcony from 6pm – 7:30pm, with tasting included. Not cool enough? “Dr.” Bill Sysak will be with him expounding the art of food and beer pairing and providing corresponding samples of beer.

So there you have it!

The book and bottles are on sale all day long, but the bulk of festivities start at 5pm. Hope to see you at the brewery tomorrow. If you can’t make it, there are plenty of options to buy the book online – or at the GABF!

The Great American Beer Festival: See You There

Jacob McKean

The Great American Beer Festival is one of the world’s classic beer drinking experiences. This will be the 30th year of this epic celebration of American brewing, and it’s almost impossible to put into words how much it has changed.

From its very humble beginnings, to the colossal event it is today—which nearly takes over the city of Denver for three amazing days—the GABF is the ne plus ultra American beer festival.

In case you couldn’t tell, we’re very excited about it. The GABF is always an amazingly good time. From pouring beer on the festival floor to seeing old friends at the great beer bars around town, the GABF is more than the world’s premier beer drinking opportunity, it’s a gathering of the craft beer tribe.

In celebration of this fact, we’re putting together 5 worthy events at some great craft beer loving venues in Denver. For details on these amazing events, head over to the Stone Brewing in Colorado Facebook events page.

As for the Festival itself, we’ll have a very special opportunity for fans: Stone CEO & Co-Founder Greg Koch will be signing copies of our brand new book, The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance, along with co-author Randy Clemens.

The book is an insider’s guide on the history of Stone, and it shares homebrew recipes for many of our celebrated beers including Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, Stone Smoked Porter, and Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

In addition, it features recipes from the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens like Garlic, Cheddar, and Stone Ruination IPA Soup, BBQ Duck Tacos, and the legendary Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings, among other fascinating tidbits contained in the tome.

The dynamic duo of Randy & Greg will be signing & selling books at the Stone booth on the Festival floor at the following times: Thursday 9/29 from 7:30-9:30pm, Friday 9/30 from 6pm-8pm, and Saturday 10/1 from 2pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm.

But that’s not all, folks. We’ll also be pouring a bevy of wonderful Stone beers at our booth, including:

  • Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
  • Double Dry Hopped Stone IPA
  • Stone Levitation Ale
  • Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
  • 2011 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine.

Yeah, you’re not going to want to miss our booth.

We’ve Exported Greg Koch

Jacob McKean

Well, Mitch is back from the U.K., where he brewed a monstrously hoppy yet sessionable IPA, but now we’ve sent Greg to mainland Europe for a series of historic events. Seems like we’ve got someone in Europe all the time these days.

Here’s the situation: Greg has gone to Europe to continue the search for a brewery location. We’ve been searching for almost 2 years now, but we’re doing our absolute best to nail down a site. It’s been a challenge. Hopefully we’ll have news to report soon.

While he’s over there, he’ll be breaking some new ground in the European beer world. This Friday, September 16th Brussels’ legendary Moeder Lambic bar will be hosting Greg & 30 insane taps of Stone beer.

As far as we know, that is the most beer ever from a single brewery on tap in one place in Europe. Feel free to correct us if we’re wrong, but we believe this is a first. We know for certain this event will feature the first non-grey market Stone beer on draft ever in mainland Europe, which means you can be assured it will be fresh & served properly. We don’t expect to do this again until we open our European brewery.

The event will actually be a mini-festival of sorts, featuring Stone merchandise, bottled beer, and, of course, Greg’s now famous speech, usually delivered from the top of a bar. No word yet on whether or not he’ll deliver it in Dutch, French, or German. Oh, and this amazing event just got a great write-up in The New York Times.

While he’s traveling, he’ll be doing a variety of other events as well:

  • On Sunday, September 18th, Greg will travel to Amsterdam’s “American BeerBar BeerTemple”, an innovative new establishment bent on bringing the American craft beer revolution to Dutch beer lovers. The event will feature 8 palate-wowing Stone beers from bottles along with the aforementioned Mr. Koch and his shenanigans.
  • Greg will then travel to sunny Glasgow, Scotland for an event at BrewDog Glasgow on Tuesday, September 20th. The event will feature an array of heavy hitting beers, cockney speechification, and rollicking good times.
  • The Greg/awesome beer train then rolls into BrewDog Edinburgh on Wednesday, September 21st for more of the above-mentioned activities.
  • And finally, Greg will come back to the good ‘ol U.S. of A for an epic event at New York City’s legendary Rattle ‘n Hum on Thursday, September 22nd, featuring 17 Stone taps. Should be a blast.

This will be quite the trip. Feel free to come along for any or all of it. You’ll like it, we promise.

Buy A Book, Buy A Beer

Jacob McKean

UPDATE 3: The pre-order offer has ended, but every copy of the book, regardless of how you get it, still allows you to buy a bottle of 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels or 2010 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Wine or Bourbon Barrels, as supplies last. Whether you pre-order it or buy it at the book signing on Tuesday, September 27th or anywhere else, bring your book (no receipt necessary) to the Stone Company Store–Escondido to gain access to this amazing beer.

UPDATE 2: The good folks at Warwick’s have found a way to extend the online purchase option through September 9th, 2011.

UPDATE 1: Our friends at Warwick’s Books have graciously allowed us to extend our Quingenti Millilitre offer to encompass online sales through August 31st September 9th. That means that for each copy of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.–Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance you purchase at warwicks.com through 8/31/11 9/9/11, you will be able to purchase one of these very limited bottles. Details on how this whole thing works below.

As loyal readers of this blog, you undoubtedly remember that we’re hard at work on a trifecta of books (here & here.) Well, we are incredibly excited to announce that The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.—Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner with Randy Clemens is on the verge of release.

And because we’re just brimming with ideas, we’ve concocted a rewarding scheme to get the first book into your eager little hands with a brilliant bonus. You’ve probably been following our Quingenti Millilitre release drawing, which raised $15,000 dollars for the Escondido Creek Conservancy and Interfaith Family Services.

Well, the next beers in the Quingenti Millilitre series are:

  • 2010 Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels
  • 2010 Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels
  • 2010 Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Wine Barrels

Pretty frickin’ tasty sounding, eh? Well, they are.

As you may have discerned from the introduction about the book, there’s a tie-in. Folks who pre-order the book at the Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival will get the opportunity to buy the above beers. Here’s how it’s going to work:

  • Come to the Stone Anniversary Fest
  • Pre-order as many copies of the book as you like from the Warwick’s booth (they’re an awesome independent bookstore based in La Jolla.)
  • Each pre-order allows you to buy one bottle from the above mentioned list (as supplies last, some are significantly more limited than others)
  • Starting on September 26th, 2011, you’ll have a little more than a year, until September 30th, 2012, to come to the Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido and purchase your bottle

As an added bonus, each pre-ordered book will come signed by Greg, Steve, & Randy (additionally, they’ll be at the Warwick’s booth on Saturday at 12pm and 4pm.) With the one-year plus purchase window, if you’re coming in from out of town for the Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration and you pre-order the book, you’ll have plenty of time to plan a return visit to America’s Finest City.

Oh, what’s that? You don’t have tickets to the Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival? And now you’re a bit panicked because there are fewer than 10% of tickets remaining? Well in that case, you might want to get your tickets immediately.

Although these beers aren’t bottled yet, we’re expecting there to be about 4,776 of the 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels, and 550 of the two Belgo renditions. We’ll have a similar deal going at the Great American Beer Festival, where the actual book itself will be officially released (Greg & Randy will be there in person to sign your copy and compliment you on your choice of reading material).

Unless an unexpectedly huge number of people take advantage of this little scheme at the Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration and the GABF, we expect to have other opportunities for folks to participate, potentially in a variety of places around the country.

We will also have a book release event at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens on September 27th with the same parameters, with Greg, Steve, & Randy on hand to sign books.