Like many businesses, Stone Brewery had its humble start in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, two friends who met several years earlier and learned that they shared a love for beer and a desire to start their own business. The first keg of Stone Pale Ale sold on July 26, 1996 and the following year Arrogant Bastard Ale was unleashed. Stone Brewery moved to their current facility in Escondido, CA, in December 2005 and opened the adjacent Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in November 2006. This garden area is complete with waterfalls, a koi pond, and plenty of seating for enjoying a pour of one’s favorite beer. Stone Brewery began experiencing expansive growth and in 2013, opened their second farm-to-table restaurant, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Liberty Station. They also opened a location at Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport.
One of the more exciting and intriguing expansions was announced in 2014 with plans to be the 1st American craft brewer to independently build, own & operate a brewery—in Berlin Germany. Stone Brewery prides itself on its many different brew styles, but in particular on its creation of new flavor profiles…this will certainly be something to challenge the very traditional beer culture of Berlin!
Yesterday was the first time I’ve been to Stone Brewery, or to any brewery for that matter. We were scheduled for a late afternoon tour of the facility, followed by dinner reservations at their on-site bistro restaurant. The entire place was hopping—this is certainly a destination for beer aficionados, and with sunny weather and warm temperatures in the 70s, it was understandably popular!
If one expected to see bubbling vats, swirling ingredients, rattling material carts, and clinking bottling lines or smell the pungent humidity of grains and yeast mixtures, then the tour might have been disappointing. But if seeing a modern and clean facility, sparkling with stainless steel tanks, and interconnected with symmetrical patterns of piping, then this was the tour to be on. Our guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and kept us entertained and attentive throughout (he even took group photos at a particularly interesting spot along the tour route).
But of course you know what this is all about…it’s not about the history, and it’s certainly not about piping and plumbing…it’s about tasting and drinking—and there was plenty of that! Our tour included tasting of four different brews, and if that wasn’t enough variety (or quantity), there were more taps available than one could count…cheers!