This summer, we posed a simple yet serious question via our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ accounts—If Stone could brew ANY style of beer, what would you, our fans, want? Instantaneously, the interwebs started to buzz with ideas ranging from the outlandish to the ridiculous, straightforward to outrageous, adjunct-laced to style-stickling, best-drunk-fresh to barrel-aged. On Twitter and Google+ we were able to track responses using the #dreambeer hash-tag, which went crazy for the first 24 hours. After collecting all of the ideas that came through, we took some time to catalog them and do a bit of analysis. We discovered some things we already knew, like most of our fans crave IPAs and generally hop-forward beers, but we were surprised to find an overwhelming amount of interest in Stone brewing a hefeweizen or witbier (Not one, but two fans actually requested we bring back Stone Heat-Seeking Wheat?!?!). Actually, one of the coolest things that came out of the Stone #dreambeer experiment was seeing so many of our fans use their opportunity to have us make anything their mind could fathom to bring back beers we’ve already produced. Well, we listened and are bringing back one of our greatest hits!
News flash—even the über-talented members of Team Stone who bring phenomenal craft beer to masses of fans with stellar taste are, brace yourselves for this one…only human. Like everyone else on this blue-green, spinning orb we call home, we make mistakes. Some of them turn out to be triumphs—hey, we wouldn’t have Arrogant Bastard Ale if it hadn’t been for errant mathematical calculations one fateful brew day, and we all know how that turned out! So, to an extent, we embrace our human nature, especially since that’s where discovery and new ideas often come from. Well, as some of you astute Stone fans may have noticed when picking up our new Stone Mixed 12 Pack featuring four rotating varieties of our year-round beers, there’s a goof-up we didn’t catch in time. The first edition of the Stone Mixed 12 Pack included OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Levitation Ale, Stone IPA and…Stone Runination IPA.
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.
We all know what we’ve come to expect from a visit to the airport, the whole experience can, and often does, inspire utterances of the phrase: “I need a beer!” Well, fliers, both frequent and infrequent, we have heard your cries and are doing our part to elevate the air travel experience with the installation of Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at the San Diego International Airport (SDIA).
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.
Stone Brewing Co. has been in business now for 17 years. (We know, we can hardly believe how quickly the time has flown, either.) Over that span, we’ve lifted pints, snifters, bombers and magnums of aggressively hopped, intensely flavored craft beer like vibrant, flashy banners proclaiming our mission and progress in pushing the American craft beer movement forward. But accomplishing that has been about more than making great beer. We aim to elevate everything about the craft beer culture. That includes events ranging from beer education to food-and-beer symbiosis to beer festivals. We think we’ve done a heck of a job with the latter, offering fests devoted to sour beer, barrel-aged beer and dark beer. But our expertise at putting on grand-scale festivals springs from extensive experience putting on our yearly, incrementally more incredible Stone Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival. It’s never the same, yet it never disappoints, and this year will be no different.
Do you like Piña Coladas? Well, do ya’, IPA lover? How about an India pale ale expertly engineered to bring the flavor and refreshment of that tropical tipple to life in a new adult beverage form? It’s only now, three questions in to this blog post, that we realize there’s no way you can have an answer because you likely haven’t had the chance to taste an IPA that delivers such flavors. But that all changes today, as Robert Masterson & Ryan Reschan/Rip Current/Stone R&R Coconut IPA debuts on draft and in bottle across the country.
In addition to the obvious mission of fighting to make exceptional beer available to the people and freeing shelf space from the white knuckled “Me me me!” grip of the industrialized fizzy yellow facsimile of beer in the process, I’ve always strived to leverage my position to make positive changes within the craft beer culture.
Some know me to be fairly vocal, and yes, even a bit disruptive at times. To that, I say, “Thanks for noticing. I’ll take those as compliments.” In my opinion, it’s the responsibility of people in craft brewing to be stewards of our industry and help move things in the right direction—by sheer force of will if necessary. (It’s taken a lot more than great beer to get our industry this far. If not, all us craft beer guys would have turned totally fat and lazy by now.) Truth be told, there continues to be room for craft breweries to improve our collective efforts and keep this wonderful thing we love called “craft beer” going.
But to put the onus solely on those in the business of making beer would be short-sighted. There’s also a lot beer fans can do to keep craft something we can all enjoy and be both proud of and excited about. Quite often it can all come down to acceptance, civility, understanding and, dare I say it, basic courtesy. The beautiful thing is that, even with diverse opinions and perspectives, this civility is not only possible, but bonus, our industry flourishes best when civility is a leading attribute.
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.
In a March post on the Stone Blog, we shared the news that three unlikely collaborators would embark on a brewing odyssey on our system. That trio was comprised of actor and champion of proud geekery Wil Wheaton, creator of the alternative news website Fark.com Drew Curtis, and our own CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch (admittedly, he bleeds Arrogant Bastard Ale, but seldom mashes in). Back then, the beer they would brew was still a mystery, but with that flavorful concoction now bottled and debuting on store shelves July 15, we’re ready to tell you all about Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout!