Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 618 | Reviews: 277 | Display Reviews Only:
4.43/5 rDev -4.1%
San Diego weather shows itself, at last; a beyewtiful, sunny day. Heading north for a few days, thinking a stop along the way at Stone for a beer or three is well in order this Sunday afternoon. It’s been 9 years since Greg showed his wares at that first Blind Tiger 121212 event. I’m a bit overdue in checking back in. Thinking I’m worthy, is all...
Parked and wandered through the jungle to the entrance, dodged the hostess and worked our way in. Crazy, open, large, cavernous room 2 stories high, with spread panels covering vaulted ceilings disguising much ductwork and rafters. A wall of vertical windows runs the length of the space looking over the brewroom of massive to the front side. To the rear, a wall of angled garage door windows over the garden party. The near wall of concrete, set by wood planks and removed but still showing its grain imprints left behind, with a gigantic gargoyle carved into it smoothly. And the far wall of stone face over crazy bathrooms below, and a stairwell to additional seating there; cutaways along the way up with bottles displayed. Wandered up to the ‘lil balcony up there and looked out over the room, it’s got a great feel. Classical music, a light breeze, it’s really serene and pleasant today.
They’ve got a cool flowing loose change water way with a sprawling tree and large stone in the center of the room, and sectioned seating areas around it and about; 12 booths & tables in a step up area to the near wall, 14 more below along the outside wall, and another dozen tables and bar counter pieces along the brewroom walls. And towards the far end, a rectangularish shaped bar; one side curved like a swinging door open. Wood top, slate base & foot rail, and seating for 2 dozen on brown leather chairs. A 2 sided tower row sits inside with 18 nondescript handles; but they’re shown mounted on a steel framing piece above along with some bottled selections.
6 tables looking over the room from the balcony perch above. Through from there to a back room holding 4 pair of longish tables in rows, a perfect party room space complete with etched gargoyle lampings cut out above. And out to the porch, 6 tables overlooking the garden scene. And downstairs into the mix of it; seating for a dozen on a slab topped bar on the far end, and 6 tables around a fire pit.
Now out in the garden proper, heavily treed, with heat lamps abound. Stone, slab & brick floorings; chunks of stone bordering and rock walls. Nearly 3 dozen tables all around, lots of roundies and large granite slabbings, some in corners or nooks, awnings and secret places. Unfortunately, we can’t get a readily available table like, right there (pointing), due to reservations (can’t we name drop some Stone reps from across the northeast to help this along?), so we opted for the koi pond/fire pit seating 10 on curved slat. Eventually though, we moved to the VIP section (as we have named it); a little corner with (like) a 4’ X 8’ slab table granite piece of rock a foot wide with cushioned benchings and chairs around it, housed beneath a trellis of viney flowery protection from the evil fire ball in the sky.
Wandered the trail wrapping around the lower 100 acre wood along the water, murky and, no, wait, oh, it’s barleywine. No other brewery in the world blends its barleywine by waterfall (But it’s the only way if you want it just right). Nook & secret places, tables & benchings, and random reclining chairs out there. Seems they’re building a wood deck corner piece for band play, perhaps.
Signs riddled about reading, “Our beer cooler is currently undergoing expansion. Please excuse us for having just 16 amazing craft beers on tap until mid-April”, or something like that. Oh, poor us. 10 house beers (Stone Pale Ale, Smoked Porter, IPA, Arrogant Bastard, Ruination, Levitation Ale, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Cali Belgique IPA, Sublimely Self Righteous, Old Guardian Barleywine), and 6 guest taps (Beachwood The Dominator IPA, Craftsman El Prieto Sour Black Ale, LadyFace IPA, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine, Great Divide 18th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA, Paulaner Octoberfest-Marzen). I drank the Stone Pale Ale & Levitation (trying to stay on the low end of ABV play, today), and repeated where necessary. There’s also a bottle list with upwards of 120 offerings, roughly 50 of them US craft beer and 40 Belgians (Orval costs a cool $7), with the remainder being a mix of beers of the world. And some 6 dozen wines, too, including dessert wines & sake.
I refrained from foodings this afternoon due to having experienced a breakfast ridiculous, but duck tacos do sound delicious. Don’t know about $22 delicious, but maybe if they did a $12 just kind of tasty version.
Nothing rare or unusual, but a solid tap list just the same, and a kickin’ bottle selections, too. Seriously, one of the single most chill places I’ve ever spent an afternoon. Yep, I’d do that again.
08-13-2012 21:52:19 | More by slander
5/5 rDev +8.2%
How do you qualify the unquantifiable? Is this what they had in mind when they spoke of Beervana? All I can tell you is that on the approach, the enormity of the complex was daunting. I came in through the extensive gift shop and turned right to the snaking, hard wood bar with the monstrous brewhouse in view behind the bar. Just to give you an idea, they were brewing at 2200 when we pulled in. Yow! At the bar, there was a gargoyle carved into the left wall; a staircase up to the 2nd floor; a patio area aft, headed back to the parking lot. The décor was all stone, from the center fountain, to the walls. Out on the patio, a separate bar was right with a circular pathway running around the expansive Zen Garden (!). Again, trying to quantify the unquantifiable, but that outdoor walk was astounding! The Stone of the Eternal Flame was eye-catching and the Ring of Stone, with its snaking, twisting path along ponds, benches, and meditation areas (!) was astounding. I was blown away by it all. Definitely 5's.
Mom: Oh yeah! It does not scream "BEER". Instead, it is Stone mellow.
Drafts: 8 Stone, 24 guests.
Bottles: Only (ha!) Double Bastard, but around 75 guest bottles.
Man, I'm speechless.
Re-review from extensive notes dated Su, 19 July 2009
This was my first visit during daylight hours, on the occasion of their annual Sour Beer Fest and I got a much greater appreciation of its extensiveness. In fact, the first thing that struck me was the sheer enormity of the place.
The entry was in the center with the brewing operation to the left and the Zen Garden to the right, all facing. Immediately upon entering, on a button-hook right, was the m.d.s., followed by the bar area, mostly standard tables and chairs with a rectangular, wood-topped, full service bar in the back left corner. There was also a goldfish pond in the center of the restaurant area. The lavs were along the wall, past the bar, followed by a set of steps up to a separate sencond floor restaurant area. A series of doors built into glass garage-style doors led outside to the aforementioned Zen Garden, a multi-tiered, open-air garden with exposed stones, lots of trees and foliage, waterfalls, a small lake and an outside bar area. It reminded me of the garden at Bell's Eccentric Cafe, but on a much larger scale. To the left of the m.d.s. was the Tasting Room and Gift Shop.
Beers: If you need me to enumerate Stone's offerings, you may be on the wrong site! My fave? Bartender Larry's "Medicine" - Arrogant Bastard for those mornings when you might need to get right in a hurry.
12-23-2009 10:14:57 | More by woodychandler
4.45/5 rDev -3.7%
The brewery is located in an isolated part of Escondido with empty lots and a hint the area will be developed in the next five years. It was tough to point out from the street since it doesn't look like what you might envision at first. I walked in at 8pm last night for dinner and was treated with a large boulder, the company store, and press clipping on the wall at the entryway. Inside the restuarant, glass panels seperate the dining room from the brewery. A larger than life gargoyle, carved into the stone wall, glazes at the beer he just brewed. Back to me, I took a seat the bar, treated myself with a HopDevil and Maudite for the night, consumed along with the sausage platter and Arrogant Bastard onion rings.
The place has a rather upbeat atmosphere with nice music playing, everyone drinking beer from elegant looking glasses, and watching the bartender pour pint after pint. You can expect tasty food from this place; it will cost you, but the draft beers are priced attractively. The service is passionate, and the beer garden is stunning to walk around in. Remember this place is rather isolated, so be patient as you're getting here.
09-21-2007 22:05:41 | More by DoubleJ
4.5/5 rDev -2.6%
The bare angulated gray slip-formed concrete walls, first seen back at the Stone 9th have started to fade into memory with a cosmetic make-up. The interior of the Brewery is complete & working like a well oiled Teutonic factory, the Shop has opened too. The aforementioned exterior has benefited from some much needed decoration which helps to mask its bare concrete soul & lends character to what was an empty shell only a year or so before. The last part in the transformation of Stone from a young urban San Marcos upstart to a burgeoning Escondido teenager-to-be, with all the promise of the best is yet to come which this holds, is the final part of the Jigsaw. So it was with some excitement that I drove down to Escondido to meet up with fellow BAs & experience the recently opened for business Bistro & Gardens.
Stone have, in the words of one illustrious drinker sat at our table, Upped the Ante here. A tall ceiling affair, the spacious yet personable Bistro is accessed through the more sterile hospital ward that is the Stone Shop. The bar is centrally located. From the cold starch like interior of the Stone Shop, it seems like you are transferred into a wonderfully captivating Amazonian wilderness that opens up & out in all directions to reveal a Secret Garden that Frances Hodgson Burnett would have been very proud of. Lots of natural materials; wood, water, daylight, rock & plants fill the interior, yet this is cleverly embraced with some man-made materials, such as ribbed steel re-bar which is used to great effect inside hot rolled A36 steel channel to form walkway borders downstairs & a strong fence upstairs. The rust bloom on this structural steel which develops quickly during construction has, thankfully, not been eradicated. I love the way Stone have preserved the naturally induced rust bloom with its gorgeous rustic orange glow & then encased this within a clear varnish that preserves the real natural appearance. The steel staircase that rises to the upper deck over & above the stone wall which sits behind the bar area is hard to ignore. I found this to be the cardio-biological centre of the Bistro & it was very hard not to be drawn to this central sculpture. The stone wall, filled with irregular random shaped rocks & boulders, starts inside & works its way outside through the large forward leaning windows with its roll up doors which would not be out of place facing a modern day fire station. Follow its progression you will find yourself staring at a very impressive outside bar, complete with two banked runs of stainless steel taps. This place is going to rock, you just know it is.
What else, oh yeah, the Beer range, you know with the great environment & food it is almost too easy to forget about the excellent draft & bottled beer selection, both are positively wholesome. Lots of Stone brews, local favorites & high end Cali brews from Russian River, Bear Republic & Pizza Port with limited appearances from the highly respected bigger brews from the smaller outfits such as Craftsman on draft. Belgians in bottles too.
Food, like the beer, is extremely well thought out. The Menu seems to be work in progress, which is a good thing for me, I know of at least one item that was worked off the menu due to the fact that it didnt work well. Being the best means admitting that you get things wrong once in a while. It is all about the quality & not the quantity here. I have to say that I did not try the Duck Tacos, but judging by how great they looked, I seriously wish I had, next time! I did try the Chicken Curry Massala, it comes in Mild, Medium or Hot versions: the Hot was not burn enough for me, but it was very tasty & being served with sweet mashed potatoes infused with Stone Porter & braised Swish chaird, it was a very interesting alternate angle to the usual conservative Rice, which worked well for me but a little bit of Naan bread would still go nicely with that dish. Everyone enjoyed their food & its creative stance, such that I opted for a Dessert oh my!!! The Cheesecake with stinky Rogue blue cheese & Jalapenos was the Dogs Bollocks.
The Gardens are sublime; quiet & calming, quarried rocks, some still sporting drilled holes which were added to enable the explosives which fissure the eons old slabs away from its bedrock, fill the Stone Garden all around the walkway. With its depressed basin it has a secluded yet very imposing, hidden charm, but it still retains an aggressive expressive nature which seem at odds with its quieter feel - yet in true Stone style, they seem to bond the rampant Burton with the romantic Taylor into the perfect marriage. I can see many sitting in the Gardens as the lowing Sun sets not wanting to leave here!
It will surely be a pleasure to see this place grow, in more ways than one. Mary Lennox would surely think that this was Misselthwaite Manor if she was ever to visit here. Positively Charming!
Last Visit: Sunday 5th November, 2006.
11-18-2006 07:01:18 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.36/5 rDev -5.6%
one of the 1% of places to go and have a beer, this place gets buzy come lunchtime. Come early if you want a tour. Beautifully designed, with lots of light coming in, incredible draught selection and bottle selection. Lots of classy stones in subtle places. Though we didn't eat, just about everybody came for the food as much as the drinks. Everything served at the right temperature, state of the art system. taps had changed dramatically from the weekend. Service was excellent, the guys knew their beer at the bar, the girls serving the tables asking them details on every beer. Too cold for anyone to eat outside, but the flame and the pond with japanese fish was a riot. I spent way too much time here, taking up the time I could have used for 3 more pubs, but it was worth it.
01-18-2012 13:49:41 | More by Sammy
4.22/5 rDev -8.7%
I was excited to finally have a chance to visit Stone on a recent business trip to San Diego. The brewpub is located in a suburb of San Diego called Escondido and is not too far off I-15. There is no signage but the building is pretty obvious. They have a fairly large private lot.
The walk up to the building is amazing, with huge boulders lining the walkway. You can catch glimpses of the massive beer garden that had to have cost a fortune in landscaping alone. The interior is every bit as impressive. Visitors are met with the Stone store in the lobby and then ushered into a gigantic space that looks like a converted warehouse. The entire brewing operation is viewable behind big glass windows. The bar is on the left with seating everywhere else. More stonework adorns the interior, and there is a tree right in the middle of the dining room. All in all the place has a tactile feel, it makes you want to touch everything.
The beer selection is very good. Unfortunately they were out of 2 of their own beers (including a pub-exclusive cask beer) but more than made up for it with the extensive guest list. Brewers like Green Flash, Telegraph, Port and Ballast Point were all represented.
Service was good on a busy weekday evening. Our server had a thorough knowledge of both Stone and guest beers.
The food was honestly a major letdown. While I can appreciate Stone's commitment to local and organic food, I know for a fact that you can make better food with those constraints than what we tasted that evening. Especially for the ridiculously high prices. I had the mac 'n cheese and it was bland and uninteresting, and for $16.50 that is inexcusable. To put into perspective, I had a similarly priced truffle mac n cheese in Vegas since and it was phenomenal. My collegue's duck tacos were similarly unimpressive.
Despite the negatives, I would absolutely come back here again (altough I would probably eat elsewhere first). No craft beer lover should visit San Diego without putting Stone at the top of the list.
04-16-2008 05:22:43 | More by Dogbrick
4.55/5 rDev -1.5%
Based on things I had read about this place elsewhere, I sort of figured it would be pretty good. However, this place is way, way beyond just good.
Stone Brewing is located in a very large gray building right off of Citracado Parkway. As you walk inside, you're immediately impressed by the size of the place. You have to walk through the gift shop to get back to the bistro/bar, but the entire way I was struck by the high ceilings, decor and landscaping. I've seen this kind of attention to detail in certain wineries in Napa and Sonoma, but never in a brewery/brewpub. This place just looks impressive. As you come into the good size dining room and bar area, there is a wrap around bar in the middle, with table and chairs scattered all around. There is also an upstairs dining room, as well as a nice back terrace area for eating outside in nice weather. Except even in mid December, there were quite a few folks enjoying their food and beer outside.
This being Stone, of course I expected the quality to be pretty good. However, on this particular day the draft list was stellar, with the bottle list equally as impressive. Firestone Walker 12??? Are you shitting me? No, this isn't your father's brewpub. Service was outstanding. The bartenders were quick and knowledgeable. They were excited when I got a bottle of the 12 and, good sports that they were, helped me to finish the 22 ounce bottle I purchased. Seriously, at 12% I needed the help. As for the food, it was simply the best brewpub food I've ever seen. Sure, it ain't cheap, but what they serve is absolute quality. Portions are good size as well, so full marks there as well.
The beer at Stone is fine for what it is, though it's certainly not my favorite. As for the brewery/brewpub experience, I have my hat in my hand. IMHO, there's not a brewery or brewpub in the land that couldn't learn from the incredible job and variety of food and beer you'll find at Stone. Quite simply, this place is world class. Highly recommended.
12-20-2008 01:10:30 | More by John_M
4.18/5 rDev -9.5%
If Disney build a craft beer restaurant, it would look like this. I like Disney so that's not really a knock. Just an observation that there is a hollow artificiality to this place that I did not really expect.
We arrived soon after opening and (after walking through the extensive gift shop), got a spot at the bar to order a beer and some food. The bartender was very attentive and helpful. The list was outstanding, with great guest taps to complement the extensive Stone selections.
The building that houses the brewery is beautiful as is the bar/dining room, as are the grounds that you can stroll around with your beer. The grounds are fairly large, well landscaped and have plenty of seating and leaning areas. Very nice.
I was massively disappointed with the food, which was both expensive and bland. Fortunately, we were just 5 minutes from an In-n-Out Burger on the way back to San Diego.
Nice to go once but I would not rush back.
02-13-2012 17:18:59 | More by sholland119
4.65/5 rDev +0.6%
My wife and I visited the Stone World Bistro while on vacation in southern California. The facility is just outstanding. Everything is done on a grand scale starting with the brewing equipment that is displayed behind glass windows. The tanks are enormous and everything looks spotless. The indoor dining area has a large bar and lots of tables. The outdoor garden has many more tables and lots of vegetation that creates a very natural setting. Even the rest rooms are impressive with large, roughly cut slabs of marble as the countertops. The place is immaculate. Clearly Stone's financial situation is solid.
The beer selection was outstanding with lots from Stone and many others that they distribute. I think they had 30+ on tap overall with lots of IPAs. I had an Alpine Duet IPA and a Stone Ruination IPA and my wife had a couple of Pliny the Elders. Every pour seemed to be perfect with a nice glass and a large head (without being too much).
The beer prices are pretty reasonable; especially for the Stone products. It was $6 a pint for Ruination which is pretty good. But it's a bit more for the other beers. Pliny the Elder was $4 for an 8oz pour. The food was very pricy. I went with a buffalo burger that came to around $20 once I added cheese and hot peppers. But it was very good.
While not your everyday pub, the Stone World Bistro is quite a stop for any serious beer fan and it would easily be appreciated by non beer lovers as well.
08-20-2009 14:12:45 | More by GJ40
3.8/5 rDev -17.7%
Hmmm. Mixed emotions here but not what I expected and thats not good.
My Memorial Day trip to SD begun with a trip to the Zoo and then Stone. Stopped in here on a Sunday afternoon about 1PM. It was way busy for a 1PM on Sunday, much busier than I expected.
Atmosphere was more toursity than beer geekish I suppose. I was not impressed as the servers could not speak craft beer at all. The visitors were tourists checking a box it seemed. It was packed and had ranged from old to young with a mixed vibe but not a craft brew vibe. I sat a table first and then at the bar. No beer speak and no one was knowledgable and the people surrounding me were oblivious to craft beer.
Quality was really good as Stone always makes a good brew.
Service was lackluster. It took forvever to get food and drinks, they were understaffed and people were pissed at how bad the service was, calling for the manager was a standard for the patrons around me. Even at the bar is pretty bad. No one knew what a Sublimely was when I asked the style. People next to me orderd a Double Bastard and had NO IDEA what they were ordering.
They had a GREAT selection of craft bottle and guest beers on tap. I had a Lil Opa, Pure Hoppiness, and a Sublimely. The tap selection of Stone beer was standard Stone, nothing special that I could not get outside of a good bottle shop and this upset me. Nothing special? Seriously?
Food was ok. I ordered the baby back ribs and it was ok besides the small portion for a rather big price. The ribs were too spicy and killed the taste of anything else we attempted to eat or drink. Wont go back and this totally changed my opinion of Stone...not for the good either. Skip it~
05-26-2009 02:46:56 | More by barleywinefiend
Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, CA
100 out of 100 based on 618 ratings.