I first visited—and wrote about—Stone Brewing two years ago, back when their World Bistro & Gardens was still fairly new. New enough, in fact, that the “Gardens” part of that name was still just-planted and a bit under-landscaped (as you can tell from my pictures last year). This time around, their patio and grounds are even that much more impressive—landscaping is done, all the greenery is filled out, and everything is really gorgeous.
We went to Stone on the first full day of our San Diego trip and ended up being there for a long lunch, something like three to three and a half hours. It was a family function, so I didn’t get to totally geek out with the beer side of things—like a tour of the brewery, for instance, that lasts almost an hour, which was longer than we could spare while waiting for our full party to arrive.
But there were definitely highlights. Like meeting and chatting briefly with Matt Steele, Stone’s Social Media Coordinator. No, that’s not a typo, that’s his actual job title; Matt is the man behind the curtains of Stone’s push into the online social space. If you read their blog, or follow Stone on Twitter, or Facebook, and so on—that’s Matt’s doing.
(That’s a whole other topic that’s waiting to be explored—the social media thing and how breweries are adapting…)
But let’s get to the stuff you came to see: the beer and the pictures!
First, the beer:
Stone’s Cali-Belgique IPA: their India Pale Ale fermented with a strain of Belgian yeast, in a funky blending of styles (and one that seems to be a rising trend). The first beer I had, 6.9% alcohol by volume. It’s not as intensely hoppy as per the Stone norm, but that may well have been the Belgian yeast masking it. And my olfactory sense must have been off, because I didn’t detect any overly Belgian notes in the aroma—though my brother claims allspice and my wife said “flowers.”
The next beer I had wasn’t a Stone, and I didn’t get a picture of it: Drake’s Denogginizer. I selected this from the über-impressive tap list Stone maintains (some three dozen beers on tap, I think), not having heard of it before. It’s an Imperial IPA (of course) from Drake’s Brewing in San Leandro, California. 9% alcohol. More malty for a Double IPA than one would expect, with spicy and earthy hops, not really citrus-y.
I also had a sample of Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, their Black IPA, before shifting gears for my next beer.
Maui Brewing‘s Coconut Porter, imported from Hawaii. I’ve been reading about Maui Brewing’s canned beers for some time now, and this was my first opportunity to try one. (Stone’s bottle list—on the back of the tap list menu—is probably three times as long as the tap list.)
I liked it, it reminded me of my Coconut Cream Stout. But I don’t understand the tagline on the can:
“Like hot chicks on the beach”? What am I missing?
Anyway. The rest of the pictures are of the brewery and the patio and gardens outside. You’ll see what I mean when I wrote “gorgeous” above.