Thirsty Thursday - Brewery Spotlight: Stone Brewery

It was one of their most popular brews that drew me in with the catchy name “Arrogant Bastard Ale” but it was the flavor that has kept Stone varieties in my fridge for years. I’d be lying if I thought this beer was wasn’t named after me, but alas it is just the life of a beer snob!

Partners Steve Wagner and Greg Koch founded Stone Brewery in 1996 in sunny Southern California. 17 years later, Stone has grown to the 11th largest microbrewery in the country with over 400 employees and revenue north of $80m (18th largest brewery after including the big hitters including Anheuser-Busch & Miller).  Dust off the resume since they are hiring, however, I didn’t see beer taster on the list (if I did I wouldn’t tell anyway!)

Their marketing and slogans are not for the thin-skinned. One of my favorite pint glasses reads, “It’s not too expensive, you’re just too cheap!” A few other slogans they have used are “You’re not Worthy” and “The Arrogant Bastard Would.Would You?”

There are 8 year round beers:

  • Pale Ale – smooth and mild
  • Smoked Porter – dark beer with chocolate/coffee flavor
  • IPA – dry and hoppy
  • Cali-Belgique IPA – a Belgium spin on the IPA
  • Ruination IPA – stronger IPA – hoppy/bitter
  • Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale – dark black ale with hops/coffee
  • Levitation Ale – dark amber
  • Arrogant Bastard Ale – full bodied hoppy/bitter ale
  • Oaked A.B. Ale – less bitter, more mellow and oaky flavor

The seasonal releases include variations of A.B., anniversaries, the recently completed Epic Vertical series, and collaborations with other microbreweries. The limited releases from its year-round brother, Arrogant Bastard, are not for the weak of heart or palate. The Double Bastard Ale tips the scales at just over 11% ABV and has been rated a 100 by RateBeer/96 by BeerAdvocate. Lukcy Basartd (yes spelled correctly) is a blend of AB, DB, and Oaked AB. It was released in the fall of 2010 and again 2012. Hopefully we will see this again in October 2014 as my stockpile won’t last much longer!

The newest variety is the Enjoy By IPA. As mentioned last week, Stone believes that beer should be appreciated fresh from the bottling line to get the most out of the ingredients, especially hoppy IPAs. Stone puts an enjoy by date on their other varieties as well.

So what’s next for the creators of “liquid arrogance?” Well they have already branched out to bring great food to accompany their suds with Stone Bistro & Gardens. Rumors have mentioned expanding to a European site and expanding the California location to include an event and hotel space. In the meantime we can expect continued flavorful craft beers and unique limited releases for years to come. If you are ever in the San Diego area, the 30-minute drive out to Escondido is a must. Take a brewery tour, grab some grub at the Bistro and fill a growler on the way out…but don’t forget to grab an Arrogant Bastard t-shirt!

Next time you are in the beer aisle, pass over the “tasteless fizzy yellow beer” as they put it and try a Stone beer.

Tags: Beer Brewery Craft Beer Stone Thirsty Thursday

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