Announcing the Most Bitter Bars of 2011

Jacob McKean

From June 4th-11th, one hundred and ten lupulin-crazed bars competed in our “Most Bitter Bar Challenge.” The premise was simple: the bar that pours the most of Stone’s hop-focused beers wins the undying glory of being named “Most Bitter Bar” for a period of one year.

And now, after counting each drop, we’re ready to announce all of the winners.

The Petrol Station in Houston is the national winner and is thus deservedly named America’s Most Bitter Bar! Congratulations Petrol Station, your patrons have demonstrated a ceaseless thirst for bitter beer and tremendous loyalty to your bar. A victory well earned! Naturally, we’ll toast you with an extremely bitter beer.

Drilling down from there, we decided to name winners for each state and major region as well. So for the rest of country, here is the list of winners by state and region:

State
Connecticut: Eli Cannon’s Tap Room (Middletown, CT)
Illinois: The Blind Pig Co. (Champaign, IL)
Florida: World of Beer – Viera (Melbourne, FL)
Kentucky: Pazzo’s Pizza Pub (Lexington, KY)
Louisiana: The Avenue Pub (New Orleans, LA)
Minnesota: The Happy Gnome (St. Paul, MN)
Missouri: Flying Saucer (Kansas City, MO)
New Jersey: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
New York: Rattle N Hum (New York, NY)
North Carolina: Hannah’s Haus (Beaufort, NC)
Ohio: Boston’s Bistro & Pub (Dayton, OH)
Oregon: North 45 Pub (Portland, OR)
South Carolina: Closed for Business (Charleston, SC)
Washington: Super Deli Mart (Seattle, WA)

Regional
Chicago: Fountainhead (Chicago, IL)
Columbus: Bob’s Bar (Columbus, OH)
Dallas/Ft. Worth: Flying Saucer – Lake (Garland, TX)
St. Louis: International Tap House (St. Louis, MO)
Upstate NY: Cole’s Restaurant & Bar (Buffalo, NY)
Tampa: Datz Deli (Tampa, FL)

A hearty congrats to all the winners! Your perseverance and dedication to serving tremendous quantities of Stone IPA, Stone Ruination IPA, Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, and Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale is astounding. We were truly impressed and humbled (!) by the amazing effort put forth by all of the participating bars. We raise our glasses to you all.

Please note that we are prohibited by California and Michigan state laws from announcing the winners in those states (protects puppies, we think.) In order to find out the winners in those states, please visit all of the participating bars and search their walls for a plaque.

And keep your eyes open for our “2011 Most Arrogant Bar Challenge”, which will kick off around the time Double Bastard Ale is released in mid-October.

Stone New Year’s Countdown Keg A.K.A. The Doomsday Keg of Radness

Here at Stone, I get the privilege of working on some really fun, random projects. Greg will turn to me and say something like, “What if we put a 17 foot tall gargoyle into the inside wall of the Bistro?” From there, I figure out how to make it work and pull the resources and people together to make it happen.

Well, another opportunity to have some fun recently presented itself when we decided to throw our most lavish party ever for New Year’s Eve. With a swing band, jazz band, laser light show and DJ all performing at the same time–along with the amazing beer and food–we needed a midnight countdown that could be monumentous enough to equal the festivities.

I thought about using projectors to play a countdown video, but that just seemed boring. The ceremony of the ball dropping has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve, but we wouldn’t just copy that–we had to do this Stone style. And that’s how we arrived at the Stone New Year’s Countdown Keg. Here’s how it all went down:

The Keg
First, we found a defective keg to play the leading role in this bit of theatrical awesomeness. Our Maintenance crew then plasma cut the top off and drilled out the keg for lighting effects.

The Computer and Monitor
This is the part that really ties together the whole countdown. There’s an old Macbook laptop inside the keg that is hooked up to a 24″ monitor that is mounted to the front of the keg. This displays a countdown timer that our Web Programmer, Bill Sobieski, wrote that displays hours, minutes, and seconds. At 10 minutes to midnight, an iCal event will open a video that one of our graphic Artists, Sergio Salgado, is working on.

The Lighting
I opted for all LED lights. There were some cheaper non-LED effects that may have been brighter, but the space constraints within the keg and the temperature were my first concern.

So here’s what I went with: four motion LED tube lights on the sides to give it the feeling of motion, 3 LED strobe lights inside that flash through the holes in the keg, and a color light show that comes out a hole in the bottom of the keg where we mounted a Moonflower LED light (watch the video to see these in action.) The last effect is really pronounced by the fog machine that we’ll have on the floor, which the beams of colored light seem solid. Each lighting effect is controlled remotely by an RF transmitter.

The Drop
This whole thing is going to be suspended 20 feet above the fountain in the middle of the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. We’ll be attaching this to an electric winch so our Brewmaster, Steve Wagner, can lower the keg at midnight while Stone CEO and Co-Founder Greg Koch MC’s the countdown.

So there you have it. We had some fun yesterday doing a test run in the office and making a video of it. I’m really happy with how it turned out and look forward to seeing it in action on New Year’s. See you there!

The GABF: Awesomeness to the Point of Exhaustion

Jacob McKean

The 29th annual Great American Beer Festival has finally come to a close. I say “finally” because getting through nearly a week of the GABF can resemble an uproarious endurance race.

The yearly powwow of American breweries and craft beer fans features dozens of daily/eveningly events in addition to the 16 hours of actual beer-pouring, glass-dropping, high-flying Festival. Add to that the minimal oxygen supplied by Denver’s thin, high-altitude air, and brewers can start to look a little worn around the edges by the time Sunday rolls around.

I know, rough life we lead. Attending beer festivals, drinking endless varieties of the world’s greatest libation, and schmoozing with hoards of adoring, appreciative, informed fans. Poor, poor us.

Another reason to pity us is that Stone only took home two medals at this year’s GABF. Granted, those two medals (a Silver in the Herb/Spice or Chocolate Category for Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle, and a Bronze for Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale in the newly minted India-Style Black Ale Category) mark a 50% increase in our total GABF medal count.

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Stone brewers Laura Ulrich & Cecil Menasco show-off their hardware, flanked by Stone Sales Rep Marty Saylor

Nonetheless, we had a phenomenally good time in Denver. In addition to the Festival, we attended the “Pints For Prostates: Denver Rare Beer Tasting” at the handsome Wynkoop Brewery, an important awareness and money raising event. Fans greedily drank through our keg of GK’s Mad Man Mix, a mash-up of Stone 10th Anniversary Imperial Russian Stout Blend, chipotle, sage, and a dash of Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale. Additional charitable monies were raised by Greg, who signed copies of our DVD for $2 a pop at this event and the GABF, which resulted in a $650 donation to Pints For Prostates. We had a blast.

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And Marty rejoices in the funds raised for charity

There were too many fantastic events to name. The long and short of it is that the GABF seems to get bigger, grander, and more wondrous every year. The host city, too, has added a substantial number of new craft beer-centric bars, a promising sign that Denver is beginning to fully embrace the breweries from near and far that help make the GABF America’s most important beer festival.

In fact, we can hardly wait for our next trip, which will mark the 30th time brewers have converged on the Mile-High City. Hopefully we’ll see you there, and if you see us, give us a high five (or a low-five, if that’s how you roll.)

Stone at the GABF—Spoiler Alert!

Jacob McKean

The Great American Beer Festival is the ne plus ultra beer event in the U.S.

For beer people, it’s like a combo Academy Awards/Star Trek convention/family reunion, with a dash of ancient Greek Bacchanalia thrown in for good measure.

For sheer size alone, nothing comes close to the GABF: 462 breweries serving 2,200 beers to 49,000+ attendees. But quantity does not trump quality in Denver; many breweries pour their rarest and most delectable offerings to the assembled thirsty throngs. In fact, there’s so much outstandingly great beer at the GABF, it’s a wonder the Denver convention center doesn’t implode into a supernova of awesomeness.

Naturally, we’re doing our part to make sure the 2010 GABF is an epically good time. On the festival floor, we are serving some extremely rare and unique beers. Check it!

  • Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
  • Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA
  • Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
  • Stone Imperial Russian Stout 10th Anniversary Blend—GK’s Madman Mix
  • Double Dry-Hopped Stone IPA
  • Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers
  • 2010 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine
  • Kelsey McNair / Ballast Point / Stone San Diego County Session Ale (at the ProAm booth)

Naturally, we’re not content to merely pour our delicious liquid arrogance at the Festival, so we’re also mixing it up with a handful of wicked events. Behold!

  • 9/14 at 6pm, Mizuna will be hosting an absolutely eye-popping 5-course Brewer’s Dinner featuring Stone, Great Divide, The Bruery, and Moylan’s. Promises to be an incredible food-pairing event.
  • 9/16 at 10pm, the good folks at the Falling Rock will be busting out their private stash of cellared Stone beers, including vintages of Stone Imperial Russian Stout and Stone Vertical Epic Ales.
  • 9/17 at 3:45pm, the Cheeky Monk will be hosting a special Dogfish Head / Victory / Stone Saison du BUFF collaboration tapping, with Sam Calagione, Bill Covaleski, and our very own Greg Koch in attendance.
  • 9/18 at 1pm, Wynkoop Brewing Company will play host to the second annual Pints for Prostates Denver Rare Beer Tasting. This charity rare beer event was a raging success last year, and this year promises to double down on the yumminess.
  • 9/18 at 7:30pm, yours truly ill be hosting a panel in the Brewers Studio Pavilion entitled “How to Ignite a Revolution: Craft Beer Activism” on how you, the noble drinker, can make the world safe for the beer you love. Joining me on the panel will be Ashley “The Beer Wench” Routson, Pete “Legislative Smackdown” Johnson, and Scott “Short’s Brewing Co. Maven” Newman-Bale.
  • And a few others, so check back for updates.

So if you’re not among the lucky 49,000 beer Trekkies who snagged a ticket to this year’s festivities, let this be a lesson to you.

Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA Is So Close You Can Watch Other People Taste It

Jacob McKean

Our President & Brewmaster Steve Wagner and Head Brewer Mitch Steele took a minute out of their cluttered schedules to sample their British-inspired hop monster: Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA, set for release on June 21st (for those who missed it, Mitch and Steve explained the concept behind this most unusual beer a few weeks back.) So here’s Mitch and Steve doing the difficult work of sampling beer in our gardens:

For those who prefer the analog version, here are Mitch’s tasting notes:

tasting-banner

Appearance:
This beer pours golden with a creamy head of foam. It is very pale in color, with a slight haze.

Aroma:
The aroma is strongly hoppy, a blend of peaches, light citrus and earthy/herbal flavors. It’s a bit of a departure from the classic American citrusy and piney IPA hop profile, but it is unmistakably hoppy.

Taste:
Upon tasting, the classic pale malt character becomes apparent with a touch of sweetness and a light biscuity flavor, yet this beer remains incredibly hop focused. Resiny, fruit flavored hops dominate the palate upfront and through the middle. Yeast esters are blended into the flavor mix in the middle palate, and the beer finishes very bitter and dry, with just a tiny hint of sulfur.

Overall:
Our Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA may defy today’s expectations of a British inspired IPA. It’s not a ‘maltier’ IPA, and no crystal malts were used in the brewing of this beer. British brewers in the 1800’s made their IPA’s as light in color and as dry as possible, and that was our inspiration. And though we still like to encourage everyone to drink our IPA’s fresh, this one may be interesting to age. Especially on a 6 month long ocean voyage…”

ABV: 8.9%

IBUs: 100

Our 14th Anniversary Celebration Grows Some Appendages

Jacob McKean

Summer is almost officially upon us, which means it’s time to prep your palates for our biggest, boldest charity fundraiser: the Stone 14th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival. Our annual tribute to another marvelous year of brewing is our grandest event, a veritable avalanche of awesomeness compressed into one short weekend—with all the proceeds going to charity.

You may have noticed that I wrote, “weekend,” not, “day.” Let me explain.

In the past, the Stone Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival has been a one-day, two-session event, with upwards of 40 breweries pouring well over 100 of their finest nectars for throngs of enthused fans. The event has been so stupendously successful, both as a bringer of good cheer and as a charity fundraiser (last year we raised over $150,000), that we’ve decided to double down on the radness and add a couple of new events, all still taking place at the eminently hospitable CSU San Marcos.

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On Friday, August 20th, we’ll be holding a VIP/Brewers Reception, which will be open to the ticket-buying public for the very first time. Brewers and fans will mingle over a special selection of beers and food (including the famous Mike’s Beer Cheese made with Winchester Gouda and Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale) not available during the regular sessions. A commemorative tasting glass has been made for the event, which will look fabulous next to your Princess Diana memorial dinner plate (too soon?)

Saturday, August 21st also features a brand spankin’ new event, albeit one that runs concurrent with the Festival. A special, new, and all together different wristband will get you into the newly christened Rare Beer Section, a cordoned off arena in which rare beers go head-to-head for the hearts (and palates) of fans. The Rare Beer Section will be hosted by Stone’s inimitable Beverage Supervisor “Dr.” Bill Sysak, infamous bringer of insanely rare and delectable beers.

Admission to the Rare Beer Section also grants you the luxury of attending both Saturday sessions, a heretofore unavailable indulgence allowing you to take in the day’s decadence at a leisurely, civilized pace. Alas, Rare Beer Section ticket holders will still receive the standard 10 tasting tickets for the entire day.

This is all, of course, in addition to the Main Event on Saturday: two sessions of outstanding breweries from near and far pouring luscious samples, plates of the legendary Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings (an annual release at least as desirable as a certain Midwestern Russian Imperial Stout, in our humble estimation), and more excellent food than you can shake a stick at.

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All-inclusive ticket packages go on-sale Friday, May 28th at 5AM PST, and Main Event tickets go on-sale Friday, June 4th at 5AM PST.

Hey, Chicago. The Least You Can Do is Send Us a Postcard.

Jacob McKean

The marketing manual for sheeple herding says that we’re supposed to engage you by soliciting user-generated content with catchy challenges like this: “Hey die-hard Stone fans! Show you’re the Ultimate Stone Head by posting sweet pics of you and your BFFs at Stone Beer Week-Chicago events on our Facebook fan page! And don’t forget to Twitterize us with #StoneWeek hash-tags! Win a Frisbee!”

But we know you’re a whole lot smarter than that.

In all seriousness, since we won’t be sending everyone from the brewery to Chicago this week, we’d like to get some vicarious pleasure from the absurdly decadent events we’ve been working so hard to plan, which is why we’re asking you, for real, to post those Facebook pics and Tweets about Stone Beer Week-Chicago.

So do us that favor, will ya?

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Now let’s back up a bit. As a supremely plugged-in Stone fanatic, you are undoubtedly aware that our exceptionally beautiful beers will finally be available in Chicago starting April 1st. Yes, the wait has been long and arduous for the legions of bastardly disciples in the Second City, but we aim to make up for lost time—in a hurry.

To that end, we have planned an epic week-long celebration of all things Stone, entitled Stone Beer Week-Chicago*. A veritable carnival of Arrogance will introduce us to Chicago with proper gusto from April 1st-9th.

This extravagant series of soirees will see us taking over an entire grocery store, hosting 30 taps at a single bar, offering an ultra-rare tasting of Stone Vertical Epic Ales with Greg Koch himself, grilling up Stone Smoked Porter sausages, presenting incredibly tasty barrel-aged versions of our most ambitious beers, pairing exceptional food with fine vintages from our past, and the list goes on and on…

Do those kinds of events sound enticing to you? What if I told you that the events mentioned above represent a mere fraction of the 34, yes thirty-four, events planned for Stone Beer Week-Chicago? And what if I added that the remaining Stone events will be every bit as awesome, such that Stone Beer Week-Chicago will feature a concentration of Stone awesomeness that the world has never seen before?

That would be exciting for you, wouldn’t it? Well that’s great, because while I’m stuck here in sunny San Diego, you’ll be cabbing/bussing/train-ing/shuttling/walking from one jaw-dropping Stone event to another, having the time of your life sipping some of the sweetest nectars this brewery has ever made.

So enjoy yourselves Chicagoans. You’ve earned it. Just don’t forget to send us a postcard, mmmmmk?

*Best said in a Big Announcer Voice with lots of reverb.

2010 March Madness AHA Rally & Homebrew Competition Crowns a Champion

Jacob McKean

Saturday marked our annual March Madness AHA Rally & Homebrew Competition, a celebration of Southern California homebrewers and their wildly inventive creations. The goal of the event is threefold: 1) to build awareness of the American Homebrewers Association, 2) to select a winning homebrew to be brewed on Stone’s beautiful, ultra-shiny brewing system (if we do say so ourselves), and 3) to have an incredibly good time while sampling a marvelous assortment of homebrews.

OK, it’s mostly #3.

Needless to say, the event was a rousing success on all three counts. The drama, however, emanated from the homebrew competition. Although friendly, it is a hotly contested taste-off of 23 beers submitted by Southern California homebrewers confident enough to believe their beer might be worthy of being brewed at Stone.

The homebrews readying themselves for competition

The homebrews readying themselves for competition

Yours truly got the opportunity to sit on the judging panel and sample the top-5 beers, as voted on by the assembled homebrewers. Each beer was a marvelous tribute to the originality and craftsmanship of Southern California homebrewers. In fact, the exceedingly delicious beers created quite the quandary for the judges, as we spent enough time debating the relative merits of the beers to draw some rumbles from the anxious homebrewers.

After over an hour of intense debate and vigorous tasting (yes, we take the task quite seriously), the judges chose “West Coast Bitter” brewed by Kelsey McNair of QUAFF, a truly distinctive and regionally appropriate take on the Bitter-style. Though it was positively stuffed with hops, “West Coast Bitter” was remarkably quaffable, and at only 4.3% ABV, a phenomenal session beer for the die-hard hop zealot.

Kelsey McNair is joined in celebration by Chris, Greg, Dr. Bill, Mitch, and Gary Glass, AHA Director

Kelsey McNair is joined in celebration by Chris, Greg, Dr. Bill, Mitch, and Gary Glass, AHA Director

So raise a toast to Kelsey and get your brew kettles ready for next year. You could be the next homebrewing rockstar…

Check out more pictures from the Rally here:

Women and Craft Beer, or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pints!

Kathryn Bouscaren
I’ve participated in well over a dozen of our previous Beer U’s, so I can say with authority that this was one of the best ones yet. Beer U: Women Only rocked! Laura Ulrich and Jessica Gilman, two of our brewers here at Stone, led the class with me and we all had a blast. And no, we didn’t sit around gabbing about shoes and manicures the whole time. As a matter of fact, there was no mention of shopping, clothes, hormonal issues, or the shortcomings of our husbands or boyfriends* the entire evening. We talked about beer. A lot!
(*I believe the salient point here is that our husbands and boyfriends don’t have any shortcomings. Women who like craft beer obviously have an abundance of good taste and sound judgment, and couldn’t possibly choose partners who were anything short of stellar.)

Beer U: Women Only

Class photo! A group of passionate, intelligent, and inspiring women.

The diversity of the attendees impressed me—there was a significant range of ages, careers, and beer knowledge represented. Several women were recent converts to the craft beer scene while others had been brewing their own for years. I asked for a show of hands at the beginning and counted eight homebrewers out of a group of 44 women! The energy in the room was lively from the beginning—and only got more “lively” as more beers were sampled.

All the beers we tasted that night were from breweries that employ prominent female brewers, and in a few cases, the brewmaster and/or owner is a woman. Surprised? Don’t be. While women are definitely still a minority in the craft brewing industry, there are a lot more of us around than you might think. During the Beer U we enjoyed some exceptionally tasty beers, like Moylan’s Hopsickle, Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, Traquair House Jacobite, and the ever-popular Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans, Laura’s tasty signature creation. After taking informal polls, I was happily validated—women’s tastes definitely range beyond the mild (wimpy), less hoppy (boring), and pale (where’s my malt?) flavors we’re taught that we should like. Many preferred Hopsickle’s huge hoppy punch to the sweeter, malty, and mildly spicy Jacobite, blowing stereotypes out of the water.

The beer was absolutely awesome, but the real highlight of the event was the sense of camaraderie we all enjoyed, and it only increased throughout the evening (hope it wasn’t just the beer!). And by the time it was over, many of the women were totally pumped up and inspired to go home and start brewing. There was even talk of beginning an all-female homebrewing club (count me in!!). We owe a big round of gratitude to all who made this happen, and especially to the women who attended. Thanks so much, ladies, for making our inaugural* women’s only event such a huge success!

Women Only: We Can Brew It

*In case you didn’t catch the significance of that word there—we’re doing this again. We know that a lot of women didn’t get the chance to go, so we’re doing the same thing this month, too.  Monday, November 23rd will be the occasion of our next women’s only event: the same class, but with a different name. Get the scoop on “We Can Brew It” here.

Beer vs. Wine Dinner — And the Winner is…

Greg Koch
Thought you might like to learn about the results of the recent epic “Beer vs. Wine Dinner” at the Rancho Bernardo Inn’s highly regarded “El Bizcocho” restaurant.

First, a short recap of what the dinner was all about….

  • The recent October 16, 2009 dinner was the third in a 3-year series.
  • The premise is simple: A multi-course fine-dining dinner served with a specially selected wine to go with each course, as well as a specially selected beer. All the attendees of the dinner get a specially prepared card to mark their preference for each course – either the beer or the wine. At the end of the dinner, the results are tallied and the one winner is announced based on the total number of votes for the evening.  “Wine” was represented by Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator Barry Wiss of Napa’s Trinchero Family Estates.  Barry has flown down from Napa each year to participate in the challenge.  Neither I nor Barry had any say in the creation of the menu — each year it was presented to us with a “Gentlemen, here you go…do your best!”
  • In October 2007, “Beer” won. However, it was very close. Beer took three of the courses and wine won three. Yet, beer edged out with more total votes during the evening. This dinner was captured on film and an entertaining documentary was created by our friends at Redtail Media (the same team that created the viral I Am A Craft Brewer video with me). The “Beer vs. Wine 2007″ doc is on the promotional Stone DVD. If you haven’t found the opportunity to view it yet, grab the DVD and watch it. I think you’ll find it quite well done and entertaining. If you haven’t gotten one yet, it can be obtained at the Stone Store either at the brewery, or online here.
  • This clip is a preview of the beginning of that 2007 documentary:
    And this 30-second clip featuring Chef Gavin Kaysen is from the middle of the 2007 documentary:
  • In October 2008, “Wine” won. Again, very close with three courses to three courses, with wine winning more total votes in the evening. Again, documentary footage was shot, but it has not yet been edited. This 30-second promo spot was created. Hell, even knowing the results doesn’t stop you from wanting to see the whole match after watching this punchy spot:
  • Thus, Friday, October 16th, 2009’s dinner was going to determine the “best two out of three” winner. The rubber match. The champion. Once more, our documentary film making friends at Redtail Media captured the action. While it may take several months for them to get the editing done, both the 2008 dinner and Friday’s dinner will be edited into episodes.

OK, so without further ado, I’ll now reveal the results: BEER! Yes, beer won the night. This time, it was so close that they had to recount…twice. Turned out WAY too close for comfort for me, but ultimately it was indeed Beer that won…and just by ONE vote.

This is a big deal. The premise of the dinner–the motivation for me to do it–was to prove a point. I intentionally picked a wine-centric fine dining chef-driven restaurant for the Beer vs. Wine Dinner. I wanted to show that even in this “hostile territory” the ability of great craft beer to pair amazingly with great food was equal, or better, to that of fine wine. And we succeeded. We ALL succeeded.  This includes YOU because we are all a very important part of the craft brewing movement and we are collectively showing the world how wonderful and amazing the world of great craft beer can be.

I’d like to give special thanks to our Head Brewer, Mitch Steele, as he helped pick the selections with me for the beer pairings for each of the dinners.

You can view the grueling tasting and selection process in these two “Greg’s vBlog” clips (you’ll see that we should get a Medal of Valor or something for our willingness to self-sacrifice for the betterment of craft beer):

This year, we were further aided by the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens’ Beverage Coordinator, Dr. Bill, and his educated and insightful palate in the decision making process. Ultimately, we succeeded in our mission. We demonstrated that craft beer is to be reckoned with in the culinary world. You and I already knew that, and now even more people will have the opportunity to know it!

Here’s a picture that was shot just moments after the results were announced and I was given the trophy. Standing next to me is Barry Wiss of Trinchero Family Estates, the Napa-based Sommelier challenger who flew down for the event:

All in all we all had a terrific time.  I gotta hand it to the wine guys, they were consummate good sports.  Barry didn’t skip a beat in offering a genuine “Congrats!” when the voting results were announced, and even went on to tell me that the Beer vs. Wine dinners had really opened his eyes to the depth and complexity in the world of great beer.  Barry’s compatriot at Trinchero, Chris Siconolfi, emailed me the next day writing “Thank you for the competition and the partnership last night, it is like we all agreed, at the end of the day it is about opening the consumers’ eyes and educating on the fact that beer and wine pair amazingly well with food.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Stay tuned as the Beer vs. Wine saga WILL continue.  Barry and Chris have invited me to conduct a soon-to-be-scheduled Beer vs. Wine Dinner in the heart of Napa wine country.  I can’t wait.  And I’m gonna go in swinging.

Hey, just ’cause we’re all friendly and everything, and we are, doesn’t mean I’m going to pull any punches.  When I go, I’ll go to win!

Winner Greg Koch with Executive Chef Judd Canepari and Barry Wiss of Napa's Trinchero Family Estates

Winner Greg Koch with Executive Chef Judd Canepari and Barry Wiss of Napa's Trinchero Family Estates

Cheers,
Greg Koch, CEO & co-founder

Stone Brewing Co.