20 Years of Stone Brewing
What does it take for a craft brewery to be in business for 20 years? For Stone Brewing it takes a focus on creating amazing, innovative beers and a healthy dose of consistency, topped with a penchant for taking risks on big, hoppy beers before “craft beer” ever joined the general lexicon.
Stone Brewing was founded in 1996 by Greg Koch (pronounced “cook”) and Steve Wagner in San Marcos, CA. The first keg of beer ever produced by the brewery was their Stone Pale Ale. In their first year of brewing, Stone Brewing produced 400 barrels of beer, which was easily surpassed by the 2,100 barrels brewed in 1997. This tremendous growth has continued throughout Stone’s history, never dropping below an average of 25% growth every year.
Fast forward to 2015 and Stone Brewing produced 325,645 barrels in a single year. This steady growth should stand to show how consistently great Stone’s beers have been and continue to be. Today Stone Brewing primarily brews out of their Escondido, CA brewery, which they’ve been in since 2005. Along with the new brewery Stone also opened Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in 2006. This amazing beer garden and world-class restaurant reflect the dedication to quality and innovation that is at the core of Stone Brewing.
Speaking of growth, 2016 marks the grand opening of Stone Brewing’s newest brewing location, and lucky for us, it’s on the east coast. Stone Brewing decided to call Richmond, VA their new home away from home, giving us east-coasters a direct line to some of the freshest beer around.
While Stone Brewing makes some seriously amazing year round beers, their seasonal program is really where it’s at. By keeping things fresh and changing up the big unique beers throughout the year, Stone Brewing helps to give us a taste of something different while continuing to come out with new and interesting beers on a regular basis.
Stone Mocha IPA
Now I know what you’re thinking, hops…coffee…chocolate…really? Sure, on the surface these tastes may not initially seem like they go together but once you try this seasonal warm-weather beer, you’ll be convinced that coffee and mocha in your IPA is the best idea since beer and grass cutting.
There’s something to be said about sticking to the traditional styles, and something else entirely to cross the unspoken boundaries and mix the ideals of an IPA and a stout to make an amalgamation of styles that somehow works perfectly.
While Stone’s Mocha IPA is at its core a respectable double IPA, there are definitely notes of coffee, milky sweetness from milk sugar, and a latte-like character that flows alongside the citrusy, juicy hops and the refreshing bitter finish. This seasonal beer comes in at 9% ABV
Stone Citrusy Wit
It may seem like Stone Brewing only likes to make big hoppy beers and while they do have a predilection for them, that doesn’t mean they can’t do their own take on a typically lighter style of beer every now and then, too.
Stone Citrusy Wit follows Stone Brewing’s need to be unique by changing up the typical orange peel found in wits and replacing it with tangerine and kaffir lime leaf. This gives the beer a fruit-forward aromatic character as well as a definite citrus note to the flavor while keeping the beer balanced.
Stone Citrusy Wit comes in at 5.3% ABV and is available during the summer months in 12oz bottles, 6-packs, and on draft.
Stone RuinTen Triple IPA
Originally brewed in 2012 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of the most intense, hop-forward beers in the Stone Brewing portfolio, Stone RuinTen Triple IPA continues to celebrate everything that makes Stone Ruination Double IPA amazing while doing so much more.
Stone RuinTen is a triple IPA coming in at a staggering 10.8% ABV and 110 IBUs. Described by Stone Brewing as “A stage dive into a mosh pit of hops,” RuinTen is an over-the-top IPA that utilizes five pounds of hops in each barrel of beer to give it exceptional bitterness as well as a substantial flavor profiles that really has to be tasted to be believed.
Stone RuinTen is available seasonally, stays fresh for only 90 days, and can be found in 22oz bottles and on draft.
Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout
What do you get when you cross a group of beer-loving nerds with a brewery that’s not afraid to do something a little weird and wild? Well, if you’re Wil Wheaton, Drew Curtis, and Stone Brewing CEO & co-founder Greg Koch you join forces and brew an outstanding beer and share it with the world.
With a name that’s more than a mouthful, Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout was originally released in 2013 as one of beer’s nerdiest collaborations. This year, w00tstout is brewed with wheat, pecan, and is partially aged in bourbon barrels. This strong, dark stout comes in at 13% ABV and fitting with Stone Brewing’s want for being different. While not a seasonal beer and more of a special release collaboration beer, we’re glad to have it around either way.
w00tstout is available in 22oz bottles and on draft, and as you can imagine is one of the more rare special release beers in Stone Brewing’s portfolio, so keep your eyes peeled for some, and when it comes to buying some for yourself, do as Wil’s TV boss says, and “make it so.”
Stone Enjoy By 09.30.16 IPA
Stone Brewing is dedicated to fresh beer. Some breweries say they love fresh beer, but few are so dedicated as to not only print the expiration date on the bottle, but to actually make it part of the beer’s name.
Stone Enjoy By IPA is an insanely fresh double IPA that has a staggeringly low 37-day shelf life. This dedication to freshness can’t be achieved alone, it takes support from amazing local distributors like Vecenie Distributing to make sure the beer gets into our hands as quickly as possible, and to make sure only the freshest beers are in the wild.
Stone Enjoy By 09.30.16 IPA is available in 12oz bottles, 22oz bottles, and on draft. Stone Brewing releases the latest variation on August 1st, so look for it in and around Pittsburgh shortly thereafter.
The Almighty Can
Beer in a can is far from new, but craft beer in a can is a pretty fresh idea that’s really starting to get legs under it lately. As an environmentally-friendly, innovative brewery, Stone Brewing is starting to embrace the aluminum vessels in a very big way. Starting off with the Arrogant Brewing line of beers, Arrogant Bastard Ale as well as Who You Callin’ Wussie pilsner, which is a fairly big departure for Stone Brewing (and Arrogant Brewing, too), showing us that yellow fizzy beer doesn’t have to be for wussies.
Stone Brewing is also kicking off their canning line with the classic Stone IPA in 12oz cans as well as Stone Go To IPA, their sessionable hoppy ale also in 16oz cans. Both of these beers ae available in 12-packs, full cases, and variety 12-packs as well, making them the perfect beers for the beach, the yard, or a Pirates tailgate.