Cali, Part 3 – Stone Brewing Co (Part B)

9 Jan

Remember how I went to that amazing Stone Brewing Co beer pairing dinner at the Roger Smith Hotel back in September during NY Craft Beer Week? Well, I became fast friends with Arlan since we sat next to each other during the dinner, and he very graciously told me that if I was ever out at Stone Brewing again to let him know & he’d set me up with a tour!  I took him up on it… and BOY am I glad that I did!

We arrived in Escondido about a half hour behind schedule and immediately set out with Matt for our tour of the brewery.  I had been to Stone Brewing once before while I was out in California last April, but it was so great to be able to do a tour this time around!

Given that the brewing process is pretty much the same no matter who’s doing it, the basic information you’re going to get on a brewery tour is going to be pretty repetitive from brewery to brewery, but what I’ve loved about going on all these tours is to see just how different the set-ups are… the different scales on which the brewing is happening… the philosophy behind the brewery, and the general spirit of each place.  It’s really fascinating to see how people do things so differently!

In case you missed it the first 10 times I said it, my friend Jayd is an incredibly talented photographer and I was SO lucky to have her with me, as she took some fantastic shots… and I’m pretty much going to let them speak for themselves!  Enjoy 🙂

Nothing here is done on a small scale!

Lots of pipes... carrying lots of beer...

There's a whole cooler room dedicated to hops - it smelled AMAZING in there!!!

Daniel & I paid close attention to Matt!

See the big hole in the ceiling? That's how they lowered in all the REALLY big equipment!

Looks like you could walk right through, huh? Nope... that's the bottling machine! (My favorite picture from the whole day!)



Stone also does distribution in the area, so some of the next few pictures are from within the cooler where beers are packed up, ready to go & waiting to be carried away to beer lovers far and wide!


I wanted to smuggle out a box of this... but my bag wasn't big enough... boo!

Can you read the sign?!? See what cool beer is in that baby keg?!?




Back out on the ‘main floor’ again…

lots more big equipment & brightly colored piping/hoses!




They are well-stocked with keg caps!

Once the official tour was complete, we got to do some sampling in the tasting room… & here’s what we got to taste!

  • Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous – 8.7% black IPA – smelled fantastic & tasted even better… of coffee, peaches & grapefruit!
  • 2006 Imperial Russian Stout
  • 13th Anniversary Ale – San Diego style imperial red made with 4.5 pounds of hops per barrel, the most ever that they’ve used… I didn’t like this one at first, but it definitely grew on me!
  • Stone IPA
  • Stone Ruination
  • Oaked Arrogant Bastard
  • Cali-Belgique – The same basic recipe as the Stone IPA, but made with Belgian yeast!
  • Stone Smoked Porter – one of my all-time favorites, and one of the beers that cemented my love of Stone Brewing Co.

The gang's all here!

Matt's definitely got pouring skills...

Checking out the color & taking notes - SO studious...

Seriously, how cute is Daniel?!? Wouldn't you have been happy to have him tag along with you?

While we were doing our tasting, some folks came in to get growlers filled, and Matt explained to us the proper method for filling a growler.  This was necessary because we were amazed when we started to see the beer come flowing out the top, clearly indicating that the growler was full.  But nope, not so!  Although we might see beer come out, it’s primarily bubbles at that point, and you need to wait and keep filling it up until what you see running over the edge is clear, as that means that there’s only beer inside, and not air!  See how, by the last picture, what’s overflowing is practically clear?  Nifty!

Matt's explaining the importance of watching the bubbles to us!

Getting there...

and... voila! Bubbles run clear, and it's full!

Our wonderful, always-smiling host Matt!

Our happy little trio!

After we did our tasting, it was on to lunch at the Stone World Bistro.  Please, I urge you, if you are ever even REMOTELY close to Escondido, you MUST come here for lunch… even if you are not (gasp) a beer fan.  The menu here is incredible and you’d be hard pressed to not want to try almost everything on the menu.  Sadly, we did not take pictures of our food… as we were too busy stuffing our mouths with it, but here’s what Jayd, Daniel & I shared… and completely devoured…

  • Beer ‘n’ Mac Cheese
  • Stone Smoked Porter Wild Boar Baby Back Ribs
  • Spud Buds
  • Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Garden Salad

Here’s the one post-tour, post-lunch picture that I do have… Jayd was tuckered out from being such a busy-bee snapping pix along the tour & was in a partial food-coma from our fabulous lunch, so she laid out on the grass in the garden ‘out back’ of the bistro…

She really deserved a little nappy-nap!

We hated to leave… we didn’t want to leave… but Jayd & I had a red-eye flight to catch, and we still wanted to be able to stop off at The Bruery on our way back up to Long Beach… so after a mini shopping spree in the gift shop, we piled back into the car (with new stickers on water bottles) & headed North…

Such a glorious goofball!

Before we move on to the next installment on our visit to The Bruery, it has to be mentioned that this was Jayd’s first trip out to Cali, and on my previous trip out there in April I somehow managed to miss dipping my feet in the ocean, so even though we were on a serious time crunch, we agreed that it was a necessity to pull over at some point & run down to the water.  I told Jayd & Daniel that we were going to find a state park on the water, shoes had to be off & jeans rolled up before I put the car in park, and we were going to sprint down, splash our feet in, & sprint back up to the car!

The state park (I think it was San Onofre Bluffs!) we chose happened to have quite a long path down to the beach, and it wound down between high cliffs, so that you couldn’t really see where you were headed, you just knew that you had to keep moving downhill, and then all of a sudden we see a set of railroad tracks at the bottom, with a tunnel passageway running under it… so down we run and, if you can imagine, for those folks who were sitting on the beach, here come these three “kids”, out from under these railroad tracks, running at full speed down to the water!  We splashed around for a bit, laughed, and then after about 5 minutes turned & ran back just the way we’d come!  It was a mad dash but totally worth it 🙂

Up next… our visit to, tour of, and tasting at… The Bruery!

4 Responses to “Cali, Part 3 – Stone Brewing Co (Part B)”

  1. maggie January 10, 2010 at 5:47 PM #

    Are those CANS of Stone beer in the photo? Had no idea they did cans…

    • thehopshoney January 11, 2010 at 5:34 PM #

      Wish I could say otherwise, but nope… those aren’t cans of Stone beer – I don’t remember what they were, but something that they distribute…

  2. Greg January 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM #

    Looks like a fun trip. Great pix too. Stone’s great stuff. Well done!


  1. Craftbeer & Photography « The Hops Honey - January 13, 2012

    […] flight home to NYC. If you haven’t already checked out those photos, you can check out posts one, two, and three that I did on our amazing Sunday driving around the Southern coast of California… but […]

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