Stone Brewing Co.
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Active Beers: 222
Beer Ratings: 100,778
Beer Avg: 3.92
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Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 542 | Reviews: 276 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Aiptasia:
4.72/5 rDev +2.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $
While the DW and I were in San Diego for a convention last week, we rented a car and made the haj up to Escondido to visit Stone brewing. Stone is hidden alongside a medical plant, just past a crop of auto dealerships and repair shops at the crest of a hill. We arrived at about 11:45 am last Sunday.
Stone is a large and unassuming building, which you could easily mistake for any modern new office building. There's very little signage, but they're the only building on the street with their own bamboo garden, overflow parking lot and valet parking out front.
Walking down from the parking lot, you can enter from the bamboo garden along a stone pathway, with several natural stones inlaid into the path. Arches and trellises with Japanese bell lamps were a nice touch. They have several man made water features such as a waterfall and pond areas in the garden. It was chilly cold that morning, so we didn't linger in the gardens.
Walking in, you enter the gift shop and growler fill room with the dining room/bistro off to the right. The gift shop is medium sized and filled with the usual brewing schwag. They have several types of t-shirts, hoodies, hats, glasswear, stickers and other schwag throughout. Their growler bar sells growlers in three different sizes/prices and has their full production line of annual beers. I didn't note anything "tasting room specific" other than oaked arrogant bastard.
The tours on Sunday start on the hour every hour. Tickets were free (bonus!) and we had about fifteen minutes to kill, so we headed for the bar in the bistro and had a look at the menu over brews. The bistro is dutch modern in style and well appointed with lots of bar space, and the brewery itself serves as a glassed backdrop on one side and the gardens illuminating through on the other side.
Their draft last was actually smaller than I'd anticipated, with about 40 regional craft beers on tap. Their bottle list was also likewise modest, but what they offered was quality over quantity. They had several selections of their own brews, collaboration brews, and such notable choices as offerings from Lost Abbey, The Bruery in Placentia and 50/50 to name a few. We didn't try the food, but the prices were reasonable and the choices were plentiful. Think American gastropub fusion food.
About 30 people assembled at noon for our tour, in which we were lead into the brewery past their control room (no penguins) to two stone pedestals in front of their massive mash tun. One pillar supported a stone bible with their words of wisdom etched within, one supported bottles of their annual beers and three snifters of barley, a snifter with whole hops and a tulip of arrogant bastard. All were guarded by a stone gargoyle riding on top of an oak barrel.
The tour itself was basic and meant to explain the brewing process to noobs. We were allowed to sample some cracked roasted barley malt (mmm, grape nuts) and see the wort sparging out of the mash tun (pumping to a fermentation tank). We also saw two worker bees add two five gallon buckets full of centennial pelleted hops into another mash tun. Other worker bees were cleaning out a huge dry hopper into floor drains. Nice and hoppy beer.
At the end of the tour, we were allowed to sample four of their beers (levitation ale, smoked porter, arrogant bastard and double AB), all for free, 2 oz. pours. Definitely go and check out Stone!
01-17-2012 15:30:47 | More by Aiptasia
More User Reviews:
4.79/5 rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Just got back from a trip to southern California, which included a visit to the Stone Brewing Company in Escondido. I expected an enjoyable time, and man did I ever get one! You'll need a GPS or Google Maps to find the place because there is no signage or advertising -- and that's intentional, according to the tour guide. Our visit included the brewery tour, followed by lunch in the taproom. The "Company Store" includes all sorts of Stone paraphernalia, mostly logo clothing and hats, but also cookbooks, glassware, sauces, and of course a big cooler full of chilled bombers, and a tap bar to fill your growlers.
The tour lasted about 30 minutes, and included a crash course in the basics of beer brewing. The thing that struck me the most was the general work atmosphere of the place. The people working at Stone seem to love what they do, and it shows. Our guide Justin was having plenty of fun, especially at the end when he got to sample the wares with us. We tasted a flight of four brews, including two standbys (IPA and Arrogant Bastard) and two new or limited release brews (Sprocketbier and Smoked Porter with Chipotle Pepper). We got to keep the souvenir tasting glass. The Stone folks were open to all questions and to just talk about the joy of beer generally. Overall a very fun time and positive experience. And all this for only $3 a head!
The taproom is nothing short of awesome. Beautifully decorated in wood and stone, with a giant "portrait" of the gargoyle on one wall, an impressive bar and open-air seating. The patio opens onto some nicely landscaped grounds with streams and pools, plenty of relaxing chairs under shade trees, and overall a sense of beer-focused nirvana. The lunch menu leans to the pricey side, with low-end stuff around $15 for some sandwich platters, and most items in the $20-30 range. The big-ticket selection was the bison steak for $39. Many (most?) items on the menu found a way to incorporate the various Stone brews into their sauces or condiments. I tried the artisan sausage platter, which was quite delicious and well worth the price.
If you ever get down toward the San Diego area and have a chance to visit Stone, this is a place not to be missed. The tour guide wasn't sure how to answer my question: "Do I ever have to leave?"
07-21-2014 01:39:11 | More by AnotherBeerGeek
Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, CA
100 out of 100 based on 542 ratings.