Has Stone lost sight of good beer in order to be different?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Brutaltruth, Sep 8, 2014.

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  1. Brutaltruth

    Brutaltruth Poo-Bah (3,306) Mar 22, 2014 Ohio

    True, as are every persons reviews on this site. It was a question I had, not a smack down.

  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,605) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “It was a question I had, not a smack down.”

    I responded to your question with the answer of no.

    Based upon the majority of responses to this thread, do you think you were “smacked down” here?

    dianimal likes this.
  3. BMMillsy

    BMMillsy Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2012 Florida

    Maybe. If there's any brewery I see joining the ranks of sales volume with Sam Adams, it would be Stone for me. They've been around and have the stuff to reach a wide variety of markets. Maybe they've made a few beers, but most seem to be pretty much consistent with everything else I've seen, and done pretty consistently. Did not try Burning Rosids though, and am actually not sure why they brewed Woot Stout again, as I thought it was pretty poor and they have an incredible BA Stout in Fyodor.
  4. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Initiate (0) Sep 14, 2011 Missouri

    What's wrong with the saison? I thought it was pretty ok myself. Good value for the style. Tastes like saison to me.
    checktherhyme likes this.
  5. HighDesertWalrus

    HighDesertWalrus Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2014 California

    I don't think Stone has lost their way. Some of the beers that I have enjoyed most over the last couple years have been Stone products. The Russian Imperial Stout, Vertical Epic 12-12-12, (I have a bomber waiting for the holidays), Sublimely, Ruinten...
    Ok, now I'm thirsty.
    ChanChan likes this.
  6. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (550) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    No. They still knock it out with the beers that make them their money. In the mean time. They've earned the right to do to experiment some and do something different, like make a saisons.
    checktherhyme likes this.
  7. Buschyfor3

    Buschyfor3 Devotee (461) Jan 4, 2009 Kentucky

    I don't think they've lost sight of good beer. I can't think of a Stone beer that I've had that I didn't like. That's not to say I think every one of their beers is the best example within its particular style, but they make good beer, and they make unique beers, and the two aren't mutually exclusive.

    In general, I will agree with the K.I.S.S. principle when you have a beer that you know is a home-run with your customers - there is some value to keeping a beer true to its roots, instead of always feeling that you have to experiment or tweak it to the point where you brew umpteen different versions and each is only slightly different. To me, the risk of diluting the beer's identity is a big threat, especially if one or more of those versions turn out to be not as universally enjoyed by your customers. I'm not advocating that you should never try to come up with a new twist on an old favorite (i.e. I'm for taking your 8 or 9% basic imperial stout and giving it a whirl with barrel aging, or throwing vanilla beans or cocoa nibs in for a new twist), but theres a difference between having one or two different varieties vs. having 8 or 9, of which only a handful get positive reviews.

    But Stone is a special case (in my mind, at least). They are a company that is built upon pushing the boundaries of the beers they brew, and all of their customers know that and respect that. So if they brew a variation of one of their beers that isn't a smash hit, it isn't going to dilute their brand or thwart their creative spirit, and it isn't going to make me believe that they've lost focus on "good beer." I'd be more concerned if they stopped being different and decided they were only going to brew beers that catered more towards the mainstream. After all, you don't become a trend-setter if someone beats you to the punch. And sometimes, you just gotta be out-there different to beat everyone else to the punch. Just my .02.
    LeRose and pinkgrenade like this.
  8. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,428) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    Well, they do some pretty out there stuff--Crime and Punishment, the Vertical Epic stuff, the sort of weird Stochasticity Project and the slew of collaboration beers...

    Er, what? :astonished:

    I have to say, OP, I was willing to entertain your argument, but you've picked a pretty odd example to lead with if your premise is that Stone is just trying to be different and losing sight of good beer in the process. They are sorta late (not necessarily a bad thing) to the game on the saison trend, and from what I could tell, it was a pretty straightforward take on an American-style saison. It wasn't even particularly hopped-up like Tank 7, Opal, Wellspring, Prairie Hop, etc are--which surprised me given Stone's love of all things hoppy.

    I'm not personally a huge fan of the saison, but ironically, that's because it *didn't* stand out in a market that seems to be filled with saisons. It was pretty good as far as "standard" (non-hoppy, non-sour, non-additive infused) saisons go.

    So not only would I not call Stone's saison particularly "different", I don't think it's a bad beer.
    CTbrew32 and russpowell like this.
  9. turbotype

    turbotype Aspirant (297) Nov 5, 2013 California

    While I agree that Stone makes some goofy brews that I either won't buy, or won't buy again, I still think they are in a great place. Go-To-IPA is one of 2 session IPAs that Ive had that didn't taste watered down. And Enjoy By was a homerun. Those, along with their usual offerings make me think they still make good beer. Fantastic beer even. :slight_smile:
  10. mccorvey

    mccorvey Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2013 North Carolina

    Not for me.
  11. Brutaltruth

    Brutaltruth Poo-Bah (3,306) Mar 22, 2014 Ohio

    Ya' missed the sentiment, and the other posts. Thanks for the crassness.
  12. Brutaltruth

    Brutaltruth Poo-Bah (3,306) Mar 22, 2014 Ohio

    Bad was not in the OP. Just the question for consensus.
  13. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (10,242) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    I did not care for crime, & they occasionally miss on some, but I will pretty much buy anything those guys put out. They are a safe bet for my tastes, so many others I could throw darts at...
  14. Sweffin

    Sweffin Savant (974) Jun 25, 2013 Wisconsin

    I feel like stone is beginning to take somewhat of a DFH route - they've done a lot of experimentation on the side while maintaining the beers that they're primarily known for. I think it's a good model for any successful brewery in order to keep fans happy while continuing to innovate without fear of alienating their customers.
  15. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,428) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    I apologize if I've misunderstood you, but the phrase "lost sight of good beer in order to be different" would seem to mean that they are producing beer to be different at the expense of producing good beer. Which would suggest that they are making beer that isn't good, aka, beer that is bad. If that's not what you meant, then so be it, but I don't think I'm the only person who mistook your meaning based on a quick look at this thread.

    I still don't understand the saison as the example of them trying to be different. Do you mean different from what they have typically done, or different from the rest of the industry?
  16. PSU_Mike

    PSU_Mike Champion (840) Sep 6, 2013 Pennsylvania

    This is all that needs to be said. Their core offerings are rock solid. As long as the quality of these do not suffer, they have the option to explore. As it pertains to explorations, I liken it to the analogy of throwing pickles against the window. Most will fall but eventually, one will stick. That one that turns out to be a top seller is worth 1000 failures.
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  17. Sponan

    Sponan Initiate (192) Jan 20, 2008 Tennessee

    Turning out a bunch of mediocre to poor collaboration and one off beers is pretty much the industry standard. It certainly does not make Stone stand out.
  18. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Zealot (522) Dec 19, 2006 California

    I disagree. They make some incredible beers:
    • Enjoy By
    • Russian Imperial Stout
    • Old Guardian
    • Double Bastard
    • Go To IPA
    • Ruination IPA
    • Smoked Porter
    • Arrogant Bastard

    Heck, their damn Pale Ale is one of my favorite stand-by's; and they're discontinuing it! They have made a few bad beers here and there, but many of those have been collaborations; and they were still interesting enough to make it worth a try.
    Motleydrunk56 and russpowell like this.
  19. gillagorilla

    gillagorilla Meyvn (1,300) Feb 27, 2013 Maryland

    Where did you hear this? I haven't heard a thing about that.
  20. beerme411

    beerme411 Initiate (0) Sep 28, 2010 California

    Stone is the new Dogfish Head on the forums.
    jkn09 and jcos like this.
  21. Schmittymack

    Schmittymack Zealot (543) Sep 3, 2008 Colorado

    They're too busy calling upstart breweries (Greg himself, not Stone's lawyers) telling them to cease and desist, and have comments deleted from their FB page (can't take criticism). I'm done with Stone: too many better local brews out there.

    I expect this response to get deleted, etc.
  22. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,266) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts

    I think of Stone like I do Dogfish Head (DFH) - great beer in general, well-respected brewery for multiple reasons, experimental, and has a few misses. Again, similar to DFH, I would like to, but have a really difficult time keeping up with everything they're doing. The last few I've tried have been misses for me, which has slightly tarnished their image. The Go-to IPA wasn't great in my opinion, but I'm not a fan of the style, so that gets a pass. The Stoasticity grapefruit peel I had was also a miss - I found the extra addition of grapefruit rind way too overpowering. But kudos to them for trying. The Coffee Milk Stout - won't even touch that one, especially in the waning days of summer. Stone Saison? That was a little too late for me considering all the other craft brewers already in on that act - and even made me equate Stone with one of those much larger national brewers trying to get into craft beer in the first place just for the market share. But then I think about all the hits - Levitation was one of my first loves, and many of the rest that are typically mentioned are great beers. I don't have the bandwidth or interest to keep up with everything Stone does (or DFH, or any number of other quasi big craft brewers), but I look forward to the next time that I drink one of their beers regardless of style, or maybe even break down and buy one that really piques my interest. I would have never tried the Go to IPA but it was the best that was offered that I hadn't tried yet at a restaurant, and I'm glad I tried it - it affirmed my disinterest in session IPAs and my luke warm love of Stone.
    #62 hopley, Sep 9, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  23. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,430) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I generally like Stone brews, funny not so much their regular IPA though. Sublimely is about the only Black IPA I like, and Enjoy By's are really a terrific idea well executed.
    ChanChan likes this.
  24. halo3one

    halo3one Crusader (788) Jun 6, 2014 Georgia

    I disagree. They're RIS is too spot on and thankfully relatively easy to get.
  25. jampics2

    jampics2 Meyvn (1,483) Dec 19, 2008 Ohio

    LOL, no offense OP, but this is an absurd and uneducated statement.

    For the newbs, Sublimely Self Righteous is a remake of Stone XI Anniversary Ale. Since they just came out with their 18th anniversary beer, SSR is technically 7 years old!

    Back in 2007, there were exactly ZERO Black IPAs/Cascadian Dark Ales in the national marketplace. I'm not saying Stone invented the style, but they released the first national example and it is still a benchmark. To say it has anything to do with Stone "loosing sight of good beer in order to be different" just shows how much you have to learn, grasshopper.
  26. azorie

    azorie Champion (892) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    for every one of us who dislike many of their beers, there are 6 that love them and home boys will defend them to the death, lol. its silly really to post you dislike something, review it, and move on.
  27. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Zealot (522) Dec 19, 2006 California

    Friend of mine is a Stone sales rep.
  28. SensorySupernova

    SensorySupernova Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2014 California

    It is funny that this forum topic is about Stone experimenting too much. It seems like the normal complaint on these forums is "oh great, another same-ish IPA from Stone".

    My first taste of Stone was Arrogant Bastard, which prominently displayed the slogan "Hated by many. Loved by Few". Stone's current strategy seems in line with this. For any new beer they come out with 90% of all beer drinkers might hate it, but if 10% of people love it then it will be a success.
    RicoBrew likes this.
  29. bennetj17

    bennetj17 Meyvn (1,389) Oct 30, 2005 Arizona

    Stone makes some solid beers that are a good value. The collaboration stuff is hit or miss though, and I think that with some less than desirable options, it opens them up to criticism. Generally, if Stone sticks to what they do best (IPA's), they can't go wrong.
    Bonis likes this.
  30. ZenBiscuits

    ZenBiscuits Initiate (0) Oct 19, 2012 New York

    The Enjoy By's were amazing and I'm a big fan of w00tstout. Their RIS is great too. I dig what they are doing, especially with their collaborations, and their bottles designs are just an added bonus.
    Brutaltruth, checktherhyme and Bonis like this.
  31. Bonis

    Bonis Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2010 Ohio

    Lost sight of making good beer? This thread can't be serious :grimacing:... I don't think Stone is the best brewery out there, but they surely compete with the best of them. And to do it on the scale they are operating is amazing to say the least. To me, they are setting the benchmark for what a great widely distributed craft brewery should be.

    And looking at the Stone Saison reviews, OP you definitely aren't alone. I happened to enjoy that brew quite a lot. Definitely not to style, but the lavender and hop presence really worked well together IMO. To each their own...
  32. SawDog505

    SawDog505 Poo-Bah (4,996) Apr 9, 2010 New Hampshire

  33. sammyg832

    sammyg832 Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2013 Arizona

    I literally haven't had anything bad by them. They are one of my top breweries.

    The only exception is the Go To IPA. Session IPA's are the only style I dislike so that may have something to do with it. As far as sessions go, it is excellent though. It's a good beer but just not my thing.
  34. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,965) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Well, when SSR came out as an anniversary beer it was one of only a few Black IPA. Lo these many years later it still is one of the finest BIPA's out there.

    OP, I disagree completely with your post. Stone puts out great beers, and for the reason that they think they are worthy. I can think of breweries who might fit the profile of doing things just because they are different, (one local who uses a disgustingly flavored South American herb in its beer comes immediately to mind), but Stone is not on that list IMHO.
    LeRose, T-RO and russpowell like this.
  35. Wobbly

    Wobbly Initiate (0) Oct 4, 2013 Missouri

    To be honest, I have always thought Stone is an overrated brewery. A good brewery, but an overrated one. I think most of their reputation comes from the obsession everyone has with DIPA's and extreme beers. There is not subtlety in Stone's beers whatsoever, in my opinion.
    wesbray, mychalg9 and beertunes like this.
  36. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    New title for this type of thread: I don't like a particular specialty beer from a certain brewery which means that they've lost sight of their core product line and their entire portfolio now sucks.
  37. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,360) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    I think Stone's mainline brews are very good (IPA is still one of my faves of the style) to excellent. Where they go off the rails is in the collabs and "experimental" (for lack of a better term) brews. Some god-awful stuff. That Saison du Buff was horrid. It made a decent marinade for chicken though.
    SteveB24 and Brutaltruth like this.
  38. fox227

    fox227 Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2010 California

    I dunno, but Fydor's Classic was freakin great!
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  39. jcos

    jcos Aspirant (214) Nov 23, 2009 Maryland

    More Old Guardian Oak Smoked please.
    chew76 likes this.
  40. jcos

    jcos Aspirant (214) Nov 23, 2009 Maryland

    I've had all three versions of Saison du Buff (Stone/DFH/Victory), and am confused why anyone ever made a second batch of it.
    Brutaltruth and beertunes like this.
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