Evil Twin/Stillwater/Stone The Perfect Crime

 

 

 

Years spent as close colleagues with a bent for the gypsy lifestyle have bred a great deal between brewers Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin Brewing Company and Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales: respect, friendship, creativity…and a wee bit of deviance. The latter remained pensively dormant for a long while until one night in Copenhagen, greased by firewater and many pints’ worth of fine craft beer, the unlawful wheels inside their heads began to turn. It was a process that could not be reversed, at least not until that overbearing beast’s appetite for havoc had been satisfied.

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2012 GABF: We Loved You

Stone Brewing Co. Blog -- by Randy Clemens

Great American Beer Festival… the name says it all. Heck, I’ll go out on a limb and say those four words strung together in that order is darn near poetic. Every year, many of the nation’s greatest breweries descend upon Denver for a three-day beer-a-thon, much to the delight of the ecstatic 49,000+ attendees that are lucky enough to nab tickets.

Beyond pouring about 36,000 gallons of beer (check out some other cool GABF stats from the Brewers Association), this is also the premier beer judging competition for U.S. brewers. And while we don’t always walk away festooned with shiny medals, we ALWAYS have a damn good time. This year was no exception. Though we did get some neat-o awards!

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Stone Vertical Epic Ale: Going Out In Style

Stone Brewing Co. Blog -- by Randy Clemens

They say all good things come to an end. And as much as it pains me to admit it, I think they’re right. Unfair? Absolutely! Especially while some of the most awful atrocities refuse to go away. (Can you believe that Kenny G is still churning out new CDs?)

But enough about the bad. Let’s focus on the good… the REALLY good. I’m talkin bout Stone Vertical Epic Ale. Travel back in time with me to February 2nd, 2002, before someone inexplicably thought to give Dr. Phil his own show when the groundbreaking Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale came to be. The premise was visionary, and hadn’t ever been tried with beer before. Eleven beers in total—each one with its own unique twist and turn in the saga—were to be released one year, one month, and one day after the previous edition (i.e. 03.03.03, 04.04.04, etc.), with the intention of aging them all until at least December 12, 2012, when the series would officially draw to an end with its final delicious release: Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale.

Did a little light go off in your brain to make you look at your calendar just now? You’re right, that is, like, two months away! So, what are we planning to do? Go gentle into that good night? Hell naw! We’re Stone! And as usual, we’ve got BIG plans…

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale label

The end of an era

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Ground Breaking Ceremony: Stone Packaging Hall

Stone Brewing Co. Blog -- by Randy Clemens

Just like the universe, we’re expanding. All the time. You may recall from our big announcements back in May 2011 that we were embarking on a $50M+ expansion plan to include several new adventures including: Stone Farms, Stone Catering, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, and arguably the coolest of all, the Stone Hotel. While some of those super sweet items have already been completed and others (like the Liberty Station restaurant and hotel) have been slightly delayed, we’re very excited to announce that ground has officially been broken on the brand new Stone Packaging Hall!

So what does that mean for you? Simple: MORE BEER. You see, we’ve been working ’round the clock to get our new 120bbl brewhouse installed next to our current one, but it’s displaced quite a few fermentation tanks. The bottom line? We’re running out of room!

Stone Packaging Hall renderings

Stone Packaging Hall renderings

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Happy 16th Birthday To Us

Stone Brewing Co. Blog -- by Randy Clemens

July 26, 1996. A sliver in time that shall go down in history as the day the world changed forever! Well, perhaps a bit of hyperbole, but it was the day that the first keg of Stone Pale Ale was ever sold. (Kudos to our buddy Vince Marsaglia from Pizza Port Solana Beach for coming to pick it up! … ‘course back then, there was only one Pizza Port, so putting Solana Beach to its name wasn’t necessary.)

We’re celebrating here as anybody should for their Sweet 16, with pillow fights, gossip, and a shiny new driver license a really stellar cake! Besides all the obvious perks of working at a brewery, we’re fortunate enough to have a really talented kitchen crew at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, and our pastry chefs were kind enough to whip something up for Team Stone as a small token of appreciation for all the hard work they do.

Stone Brewing Co. 16th Anniversary Cake

Reason #456,742,403 why it doesn't suck to work here

To answer your question, this deliciously decadent mochaccino cake made with layers of almond biscuit, pecan candy, chocolate cremeux, and coffee mousse was just as ridiculously good as it looks. And those mini “tap handles” you see? They’re made of fondant mixed with various herbs and spices to resemble our original tap handles which were actual stones that Greg used to go out and find at the beach on his “days off.” Pastry chefs Tony Martin and Tonya Ziegler (pictured below with GK) really knocked it out of the park!

Ye olde Stone Brewing Co. tap handles

Stone tap handles from days of yore

Stone Brewing Co. 16th Anniversary Cake

Pastry chefs Tonya Ziegler and Tony Martin show off their tasty creation with GK

In the midst of devouring this cake like rabid dogs who hadn’t eaten in a week, we collectively took a moment to recognize the incredible growth that Stone Brewing Co. has seen over the past 16 years, and how we couldn’t have done it without YOUR continued support and dedication! THANK YOU!

And while we can’t get each and every one of you a piece of cake, we can keep cranking out insanely good beers, and hosting epic events to showcase the glory of craft beer! (Like next month’s Stone 16th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival.</plug>)

Cheers to our first 16 years, and to the next 16! Thanks for being our friends.

The Fight Against Expired Beer

Jacob McKean

It is hard to overstate the importance of drinking fresh beer. But it may not be immediately obvious to the uninitiated that beer is best served fresh in the first place. It is, after all, fermented, and fermented foods often get better with age. Kimchi, yogurt, miso, kefir, kombucha: these are foods whose quality depends on the serene patience of their creators, a willingness to let the invisible magic of fermentation happen at its own pace, and be ready to enjoy when it’s ready.

Further complicating matters is the fact that some beers do indeed improve with a degree of age. Properly cellared (55 degrees or less, dark, cozy), beers on the robust, high ABV end of the spectrum can evolve & improve with time.

The nine year-round beers we brew DO NOT fall into this category. They are—dare we say—delicate creatures that only express the full-spectrum of their brilliance when FRESH. Freshly brewed beer is bright & fragrant, with clean, well-defined flavors that reflect our brewer’s intent.

Once expired, beer can become a sad, faded reflection of its former self, as age, oxygen, and light sinfully corrode the precious liquid. Drinking such beer can leave a less than favorable impression that’s hard to shake.

For that reason, we go to tremendous, expensive lengths to ensure that fresh beer is available to you. But we can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why we need YOU to join in the fight against expired beer. Read More

Big, HUGE, Gigantic Announcements About Stone’s Future

Jacob McKean

As you may have heard, we’ve got some big plans on the table (and in the ground.) The reason you may have heard this is that we had a special press day on Wednesday, in which we invited a group of journalists to join us on a tour of our ever-expanding operations.

Now that our friends in the media have had a chance to feast on the news, we’re proud to announce this to you, our loyal blog readers, ourselves. Here’s what we’re working on (in chronological order of when you’ll be able to enjoy them):

1) Stone Farms is 18-acres of beautiful farmland and oak-covered hills located just 8 miles north of our brewery in Escondido. After the previous operators of this local farm were forced to shutter, Stone stepped in to revive the farm. Under the experienced guidance of Mil Krecu, a founding member of the Tierra Miguel Foundation, Stone Farms is already providing an array of unique produce to the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens (which, by the way, is San Diego County’s largest restaurant purchaser of local, small farm organic produce) under biodynamic farming principles. We’re planning to expand the farm to include event/educational space and more as time goes on.

The wood-fired oven at Stone Farms

2) The Stone Company Store—South Park will include (up to) a 14 tap growler & tasting station in the heart of one of San Diego’s core neighborhoods. It will also feature over 1,100 square feet of retail space filled with luxurious Stone merchandise (if you, like us, consider fine Stone glassware & wearables to be ‘luxurious’). This spot will give San Diegans the ability to refill their growlers with fresh Stone beer at a convenient, eco-friendly location in much closer proximity to downtown than our Escondido brewery.

The storefront in South Park

3) Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens—Liberty Station will be a 20,000 square foot restaurant & bar with 3/4 acre of gardens and bocce courts. Featuring 40 taps, a 10 barrel brewing system, and a menu featuring a commitment to local organic ingredients, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens—Liberty Station will be a centrally located beer paradise. Expect special beers brewed on-site, along with loads of wonderful events, like Master Pairings dinners, Beer U’s, and many more.

The future Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens--Liberty Station

4) We’re expanding the brewery in Escondido. In January, we were able to purchase some adjacent lots, which will allow us to double the size of our brewery. We’ll use a new 55,000 square foot building for packaging and cellar space, which will allow us to eventually grow to a maximum of approximately 400-500,000 barrels per year (for reference, last year we brewed 115,000 barrels.) And with the other lots…

5) Just across the street from our brewery, we’ll be building a 40-50 room specialty hotel! To boot, the facility will be replete with space for large events, a special barrel-aging room (incorporated into the event space), and a catering kitchen. The Stone Brewing Co. / Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is the 3rd largest tourist destination in North County San Diego & fans have been asking us for a place to stay since they starting visiting us. Sometime in 2013, we will be able to direct them to the most beer friendly hotel in the world, a perfect launching pad for a tour of America’s best beer city. Yeah, we’re pretty excited about this one.

Grand, eh? Yeah, well it comes with a grand price tag too: $26.6 million invested over the next several years. We expect this major investment in San Diego’s economy to create approximately 250 permanent jobs and a significant number of construction jobs to build it all.

So what does all this mean for Stone? It means that as we grow, our beer & food will be more accessible to people near and far. It means you’ll get to experience Stone in new ways. And hopefully, it means that we’ll have the opportunity to introduce even more people to the awesomeness that is the blossoming culture of craft beer.

From our perspective, Stone is not really changing. Just growing. Our commitment to sustainability, creating unique spaces, and brewing the best, most imaginative beer we can, is, if anything, deepening. These projects reflect our obsession with freshness, bold character, our love of innovation, and our unmitigated willingness to embrace ideas that may seem a bit nuts from the outside. Or even very, very nuts.

But that’s the way Stone does it, and it’s worked pretty damn well so far. We hope you’ll stick around to see how it all turns out.

Here’s some of the coverage of our big announcements:

Drink, Eat, Travel

WestCoasterSD

TheFullPint

San Diego Beer Blog

SanDiego.org

Fox 5 News with video

SignOnSanDiego, Part 1 & Part 2

More info on our upcoming projects page