With so many different experiences and destinations, I just cannot cover everything! Therefore, I am happy to share Tyler’s story.
San Diego is widely considered a wonderland among beer geeks, and no other craft beer distributor in the area receives more devotion than Stone Brewery. Best known for their monstrously bitter varieties such as Arrogant Bastard, the actual facility where the beer is fervently created is appropriately ambitious.
First-timers won’t recognize the brewery as the encasing walls of its surrounding courtyard are literally sheathed in luscious vegetation, emitting a distinctively robust floral fragrance. Upon closer inspection, this natural drapery is actually an exquisite forest of hops grown organically onsite – many of which are reportedly used throughout Stone’s catalog of ales.
Two heavy oak doors open up to a veritable craft beer drinker’s paradise. True to its name, Stone Brewery is fashioned mostly from immense stone ramparts, when combined with its modern bar equipment gives the main floor a swanky and cavernous feel. With beautiful polished oak everywhere highlighted by enormous floor to ceiling windows allowing natural light to pour in, this is a terrifically rustic San Diego haunt to knock back a pint or two.
Photo Credit: Examiner.com
The outdoor courtyard is something to truly cherish, a hugely open and tranquil environment that genuinely immerses you. Regardless of the size of your party, you’ll feel as though you’ve left the busy crowds behind and spent the evening camping alongside an isolated creek – chirping crickets, rippling water and crackling campfires creating blissful ambiance you’ll never want to leave. Of course, there is one especially compelling reason to abandon the remarkable courtyard – the remarkable beer.
If you’re fortunate enough to be at Stone Brewery during touring hours, you’re in for real treat – especially for any of you home brewers. The cooks at Stone take serious pride in their beer, a sentiment some of the finest brewing equipment in the industry certainly reflects. These guys and gals know their trade, quick to talk your ear off about the brewing process. An experienced member of Stone’s team led us in exploring the several varieties of barley and malts, some of which we were able to sample.
Stone isn’t in the business of light beers. Towering steel vats house the beer, producing hundreds of gallons of powerful Stone beer as they loudly hum throughout the brewing floor. The tour eventually brings you to the fermentation cellar, where designated tanks are crash cooled to the point of freezing before the nectar inside can be siphoned.
According to the Stone Brewery gurus, there are three things you never want to introduce to your beer: sunlight, air and heat. Mechanically separated bottles file through a narrow assembly line where they’re blasted with CO2 to dispel oxygen before they’re filled to the brim with delectable ale. This beer carries a short shelf in storage before it’s inevitably shipped out to stores and delivered to the nearby taps. Of course, your tour is never complete without a final taste test of the many Stone varieties.
The wonderful thing about the craft beer community is its sense of community. Stone Brewery has helped many smaller breweries in the area such as Green Flash receive valuable exposure, exposure that wouldn’t be possible without first providing such exemplary beers of their own. If you’re in the San Diego area and a craft beer enthusiast, touring Stone Brewery should be counted as a necessity.
Photo Credit: stoneworldbistro.com