You’ve heard the legend of a cavernous hall filled to the brim with beer from around the country. Maybe you’ve even experienced for yourself the glories of unlimited pours of more than 3,100 brews. But you haven’t seen the Great American Beer Festival—the country’s largest annual suds celebration—from the perspective of Team Stone before…until now. We just got back from this massive and spectacular event, and are ready to give you a behind-the-scenes view of our GABF experience
Whenever we put out a new beer, I’m always asked “who came up with the recipe?”, and am always uncomfortable answering that question, because it is a simple answer that really doesn’t accurately convey why the beer is successful and tastes delicious.
Too much credit is given to the formulation/recipe for a beer’s success. I honestly believe that recipe formulation is the easiest part of making a great beer, and accounts for about 5% of its potential success. In my opinion, anyone with some understanding of ingredients and styles can create a great recipe, but actually working with that recipe to brew a great beer is the hard part.
What began as a San Diego Beer Week show of brewing solidarity has metamorphosized into a quarterly tradition that brings out not only fans of Stone beer, but members of Team Stone looking to check out inventive takes on the brewery’s year-round beers. Every three months, we round up a dozen of our brewery staff and invite them to build casks incorporating tasty ingredients ranging from fruits and herbs to tea, specialty hops and different varieties of wood. Then, to stay true to the camaraderie theme that inspired the event in the first place, we hand them mallets (customized to include each brewer’s name and the date of the event) and have them simultaneously tap their casks in the midst of a crowd of thirsty attendees. The next 12 Brewers 12 Casks 12 Mallets event will take place on August 22, 2013 at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido. The beers being offered up are…
- Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA w/Lychee Fruit & Hersbrucker Hops by Callaway Ryan
- Stone IPA w/Cacao Nibs & Plums by Zach Goldstein
- Stone IPA w/Chervil, Savory, Thyme & Lavender by Laura Mirsch
- Stone IPA w/Tamarind, Lemongrass & Ginger by Josh Hagquist
- Stone Levitation Ale w/Peppercorn & Cilantro by Kihei Hutchinson
- Stone Pale Ale w/Lemon Verbena & Bergamot by Steve Via
- Stone Pale Ale w/Spanish Cedar & Spirals & Szechuan Peppercorns by Jeff Fanno
- Stone Ruination IPA w/El Dorado Hops, Cilantro & Pineapple by Sander Banta
- Stone Ruination IPA w/Kumquats & American Oak Chips by Ben Maushardt
- Stone Ruination IPA w/White Peaches & Chamomile by Anthony Tallman
- Stone Ruination IPA w/Moroccan Mint Green Tea, Cacao Black Tea & Toasted American Oak Chips by Justinian Caire
- Stone Smoked Porter w/Shaved Coconut & Toasted Almonds by Joaquin Bowman
We added a new riff to this tradition during its spring rendition, holding a lottery among all members of Team Stone who were interested in participating but had jobs outside the brewery component of our business. The winner that time around was one of our graphic artists, who busted out a cask of Stone Smoked Porter w/Toasted Hazelnuts. This time around, we invited two non-brewers to the festivities, our EH&S Manager and an Assistant Supervisor from Stone Company Store – Escondido. And they’re no slouches. Their casks are every bit as ambitious and slobber-provoking as their fermentation specialist comrades. Take a moment to meet this dastardly dozen before coming out to sample their creations.
Bottle art is serious business at Stone. Great beer without great packaging would be like presenting filet mignon and lobster on a trashcan lid. Fortunately, we have incredible artists on our team, plus writers (and a CEO) to pen short novels on the backs of our bottles, all of whom are Worthy of the beers whose virtues they promote. These individuals are more than capable, but when it came time to develop designs for a beer released in connection with celebrities and around the same time as San Diego’s annual Comic-Con—Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout—we decided to go above and beyond, crafting three unique bottles that have become collector’s items among beer fans, thanks to three gifted and diverse artists.
Taking place from May 13 to 19, American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) will provide quality beer fans and first-timers across the country a chance to celebrate the growing craft brewing industry and its members’ delicious wares. Dubbed by the Brewer’s Association as “the mother of all beer weeks,” this seven-day span is comprised of thousands of pint nights, tap takeovers, beer dinners and meet-the-brewer events put on by the nation’s 2,200-plus breweries. We’ve created a listing of more than 50 events we’re holding throughout the country for your itinerary-building pleasure, but don’t feel compelled to limit your activities exclusively to Stone happenings (though if you did, we’d be flattered). This is about every craft brewing company in America. (more…)
During last year’s San Diego Beer Week, we conducted an experiment in the name of creativity and good taste, enlisting a dozen of our brewers to craft cask versions of Stone beers, dry-hopping and infusing them with highly flavorful ingredients. Those 12 casks and the brewers were assembled at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens along with a dozen personally monogramed mallets. Then, at the stroke of four post-meridian, the brewers tapped their casks and served them to hordes of thirsty Stone fans.
It was an expanded take on the Stone Brewer’s Cask events we hold each Thursday afternoon at the Bistro and, in addition to being a wildly good time, the event provided a stunning and varied taste of the ingenuity and skill our talented brewers bring to the table. It was far too magnificent to do just once, so we’re turning it into a series of events. The exact frequency has yet to be determined, but we know for sure that the next edition of 12 Brewers, 12 Casks, 12 Mallets will take place 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 6 at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Books. You know, actual, physical pieces of paper covered in information, bound between covers. Retro perhaps, but we love those things. Unlike computers, you can hold them close and not feel like you’re cuddling our future robotic overlords. And that’s precisely why we’re writing not one, but two, books.
That’s where you come in. Before we even tell you what these books are about, you should know that you can play an important role in their creation.
The most important way you can contribute is with pictures. Both books will need pictures of our brewery, gardens, beer, brewers, and everything else. We know we have a ton of talented fans that have taken (literally) tens of thousands of amazing pics, so if you have high resolution, book-worthy pictures from any time in Stone’s illustrious history and you want your photo credit immortalized in Stone (get it!?!), please post them on our Facebook wall. (If you don’t use Facebook, please send them to email@example.com with the subject line “Book submission”, but only as a LAST resort.) If we want to use you picture, we’ll contact you on Facebook or email, so check your inbox.
A couple things with the pictures. First, they need to be GOOD. Like really, really good. Phone camera shots of a half empty pint glass do not fall into this category. Beautiful, crystal clear shots of the sun setting over our gardens, do. Etcetera.
Second, if any people appear in the pictures, you’ll need to have their written permission to appear in the book. We can provide you with a release form, but you’ll need to get it signed and returned to us.
Alright, on to the books themselves. The first is called “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance,” which will be a puff piece written by Greg, Steve, & Randy, our PR Coordinator a hard-hitting, definitive guide to all things Stone. That recipe for Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings you’ve been begging for? It’ll be in there. The fascinating entrepreneurial story of how Greg & Steve started the brewery? In there too. Plus a whole lot more.
Can’t wait for the October 18th, 2011 release? Pre-order it here.
The second book is called “The Brewmaster’s Apprentice.” It’s a romance novel about a brewmaster and his loyal, eager apprentice master course in brewing, featuring interviews with many of the great specialists in the craft brewing industry. Greg is conducting the interviews, and early results indicate it will be a tremendous resource for homebrewers and professionals alike.
So those are the books. We’d really love to put your incredibly awesome pictures in them. Won’t you be a pal and send them to us?
ADDENDUM: Just to clarify, we are not seeking replacements for professional photographs, nor are we on a mission to reduce employment for professional photographers. As the cover of the book illustrates, many professional photographs will be used in the book. We have a photographer/videographer on staff & we contract a very skilled photographer for special occasions. We’re virtually a photographer employment agency over here. What we’re looking for are fan pictures our photographers can’t take, such as those taken in the past or in places we can’t be, like your house or during a random visit to our gardens. And yes, of course, the photographers will receive credit, as is stated above.
Yes, we know, it’s February, and we’re just now finishing up our list of accomplishments from 2010. But once you scroll down a bit, you’ll realize why it took us a little time: we did A WHOLE LOT last year. Stone is growing at a geometric rate, and is set to become self-aware in 2014. We will then challenge IBM supercomputer Watson to a game of pinochle, which will be broadcast on network television.
All kidding aside, we are mighty proud of everything we managed to do last year. The list pretty much speaks for itself, so without further ado…here’s what we did last year (ed. note: Greg has said that if we accomplish three times as much this year, we’ll get beer-filled Faberge eggs for Christmas.)
- Highest Rated and Most Popular Brewery, Ever!–BeerAdvocate Magazine (2nd year in a row)
- Installed centrifuge, improving filtering and reducing beer loss by 5%
- Released first Belgo version of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine on a limited draft only basis
- Stone hosted the second most attended rally in the history of the American Homebrewers Association
- Opened our new (to us) 59,500 square foot Warehouse and Distribution building
- Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale went to full-time year-round status
- Stone Brewing Co. rocked Chicago with 10 epic days of roll-out events and served over 240,000 12oz servings of our beer in one month.
- Conducted the 5th annual Craft Beer Wholesaler’s Conference (founded by Greg Koch and Arlan Arnsten) at the Craft Brewers Conference
- Released first Belgo version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout on a limited draft only basis
- Opened the new 11,000 square foot Los Angeles area branch for Stone Distributing in Carson, CA
- Opened Catering / Commissary Kitchen on Harmony Grove, Escondido
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout – 10th Anniversary Blend released
- Built a new fermenting cellar, moved 6 fermentors, and installed 8 new fermentors (each holding 360 bbls)
- Released Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA, perhaps the world’s first all-English-hops-and-malt West Coast-style double IPA
- Kicked off the Inaugural “Stone Anniversary Celebration – Brewers/VIP Reception” event at CSUSM, attended by 425 people
- Stone 14th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival had 5,725 attendees and raised more than $200,000 for local charities
- Conducted “Open House Career Fair” with over 200 attendees
- Completed the membrane filtration and RO filter process for wastewater recovery and started using reclaimed water for cleaning and other utility operations
- Brewed our first “fruit beer” the Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale with wine grapes
- Won 2 medals at the Great American Beer Festival – our most ever!
o Silver medal: Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers in the Herb & Spice or Chocolate Beer category
o Bronze medal: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale in the American Style India Black Ale category
- Stone CEO Greg Koch gave the Keynote Speech to 100 managers for BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse chain
- Stone was #32 in the San Diego Business Journal 100 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies for 2010, making Stone one of a select few companies to make the list in each of the seven years of the award’s existence
- Showed our 70th movie in the Gardens since we began our summer movie series at the Stone World Bistro & Gardens
- Stone CEO Greg Koch conducted 7 events in 7 cities in 7 days for the 2010 Stone Total Tap Tower Takeover Tour, resulting in capacity crowds in all 7 cities
- Stone CEO Greg Koch was knighted by the Belgium Brewers Federation
- Installed 3 new Bright Beer tanks – 2 @ 650 bbls; 1 @ 360 bbls
- Local sales successfully completed over 90 events for San Diego Beer Week
- Stone Brewing initiated the first annual “Winner, Winner Turkey Dinner” for Thanksgiving and donated 50 complete meals to Casa de Amparo
- Arrogantbastard.com website revamped and relaunched
- Hosted a Pink Boots Society meeting for women in the brewing industry and a Master’s Brewers Association [District] Southern California Meeting
- Brewer Exchange: Hosted BrewDog brewer Graeme Wallace for 2 weeks. Stone Brewing’s Kris Ketcham went to BrewDog in Scotland for 2 weeks
- Opened new HQ offices on Harmony Grove, Escondido
- Built new office for the brewing team
- Arrogant Bastard Ale celebrated its Lucky 13th by introducing the world to its half-brother, Lukcy Basartd Ale in November.
- Stone Cali-Belgique IPA / Stone Cali-Belgie IPA went to full-time year-round status
- For the 5th year in a row Stone Brewing collected over 1,000 pounds of food in the annual food drive!
- Hired the 351st Team Stone member; recruited and filled 238 FT/PT positions
Whew! That’s a whole lot of stuff. But that’s not all folks! There’s more!
- TripAdvisor named Stone as one of “America’s Top 10 Brewery Tours.”
- We hosted two blood drives, which resulted in 154 people donating 137 pints (enough to save up to 333 lives according to the San Diego Blood Bank!)
- Added three new full time Sales Representatives to our SoCal Sales Team, representing Stone and our portfolio of other craft and specialty beers
- Stone brewed 115,000 barrels of beer in 2010 (ed. note: to put this in perspective, that’s substantially less than a mega-brewer makes in a day)
- Stone Brewing Co. grew 31% in beer sales in 2010
- Stone Brewing won beer awards at the Australian International Beer Festival, GABF, Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival, European Beer Star, BeerAsia, and numerous other local, regional, and national beer festivals
- 38,032,800 twelve ounce servings of Stone beer were consumed in 2010 by loyal Stone fans and our own team members
- Stone Brewing Co. became the 9th largest craft beer supplier to grocery stores in 2010 up from #10 a year ago (Symphony IRI stats)
- Brewed four collaboration brews at Stone:
o 21st Amendment/Firestone-Walker/Stone El Camino Unreal Ale (Jan)
o Dogfish Head/Victory/Stone Saison du BUFF (Mar)
o Ballast Point/Kelsey McNair/Stone San Diego County Session Ale (Jul)
o Green Flash/ Pizza Port Carlsbad / Stone Highway 78 Scotch Ale (Dec)
- Collaboration brews brewed at other breweries:
o Saison du BUFF at both Dogfish Head and Victory
o Fat Head’s/Stone Blacken Your Rye at Fat Head’s Brewery in Cleveland (Oct)
- 47,204 folks took the Stone Brewing Tour in 2010, a 36% increase over 2009
- Since setting up the “online charitable donation form” Stone has received well over 1,500 hundred requests for beer…or an average of over 136 each month, or nearly 5 each day!
- And we have donated to 322 different charities in the past year w/ a total of 7,190 case equivalents…which comes out to 1,044 kegs…or over $330,100.00 worth of beer.
- We more than tripled the number of Stone Facebook fans, from 18,502 to 63,606
- We increased our Twitter followers by 57%, from 14,000 to 22,000 (approximately)
- In the past year, the combined Stone Websites have had over 4,473,959 page views; over 60% being new visitors. About 8% of those visits came from 161 different countries/territories
- We sold out 50 of 52 ticketed events
- Every ticketed event at Stone during San Diego Beer Week was sold out, except for the inaugural Rare Beer Breakfast (which turned out to be a good thing). Stone hosted a total of thirteen events over SDBW’s ten days
- We replied to more than 21,000 fan emails
- Stone Distributing Escondido received over 1,098 truckloads of beer from the brewery
- Stone shipped 800 truckloads of beer across the country for national distribution
- Stone Distributing Co. delivered to approximately 4,000 different stores and bars in Southern California
- Stone Distributing added its first hybrid delivery truck to its fleet of 28 trucks – all refrigerated and otherwise bio diesel up to this point