Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Home Base: Escondido, California
One of the first beer t-shirts we ever purchased was a Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard Ale shirt. We loved the angry looking hell-creature on the logo and the slogan, “You’re not Worthy.” But in full disclosure, we’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Stone Brewing’s beers throughout the years—which is not to say we’re not a fan—because far from it (we’re just the opposite) we’re huge fans of the brand, their marketing, and their beer.
Where the love-hate part comes into play revolves around the way these guys take risks when it comes to making beer. They go for it and mash together odd ingredients and take chances. We wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if one day while in the beer store we came across a Stone triple hopped squirrel-nut-infused bacon peanut butter imperial pilsner; or maybe a Belgian quadruple ghost chili-infused sour ale. No, these are not real beers, but you catch our drift. These guys get loose with it and make some zany shit. The result is, sometimes you’re ecstatic and celebrating the joy in your mouth; while other times you’re making toothless pucker faces and crying your face off while dumping a $9.49 beer down the drain (which to be honest, rarely ever happens, out of principle, so if it happens it’s because we were in serious dire straits.) But on the flipside, Stone has some seriously amazing mainline beers. For example, their Cali-Belgique, Smoked Porter, and Delicious IPA are as rock-solid as they come; and therein lies that love-hate relationship we talked about already.
That said, a few of Stone’s wackier beers have caught our eye recently. The first one had our attention for two reasons: 1. Bitter chocolate 2. Imperial Stout. We’re referring to the “20th Anniversary Encore Series: Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.” We’ve had plenty of chocolate stout beers but never a bitter chocolate imperial stout, which seems to us like a match made in heaven. If you love the taste of dark, bitter, high percentage cacao chocolate bars then you’re in for a doozy with this one. The second that caught our eye is the “2015 Classic Release Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale,” which at a hefty 11.2% ABV is serious business—enough said. And the third, which also happens to be a 2015 release, is the “Odd Year Release Chai-Spiced Imperial Russian Stout.” All three seem to fall outside the realm of “normal” but all three are fantastic.
So there’s a little background about our personal experience with Stone Brewing. And as we mentioned, we’re big fans, especially when feeling spry and experimental. Of course we can always fall back to the beer that put them on the map, Arrogant bastard Ale, which is amazing in and of itself; but we appreciate the efforts these guys put into making wacky beers.
We recently had the opportunity visit a few of Stone Brewing Co.’s locations in the San Diego area and came away impressed. These guys have it together and when they build a tasting room they don’t mess around. In particular, we visited the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Liberty Station; and the Stone Brewing Tap Room in downtown San Diego near Petco Park. Both facilities are over-the-top cool with their decorative aesthetic style, especially the World Bistro & Gardens. And of course, the beer was awesome as we quaffed down Cali-Belgique, Americano Stout, Smoked Porters, and Ruination IPAs. All in all, it was a fun experience.
We don’t get all wrapped up in all the subtle flavor nuances you often read about on other websites. Just know that this is beer we liked enough that we felt compelled to write about, therefore we’ve deemed it worthy of you throwing down your gullet. Did you see what we did right there with the “Worthy” reference? (If not, revisit the first paragraph, second sentence.) In other words, we give this beer our “Dirt Buzz Beer Buzz” seal of approval. And we also recommend you try some of the wilder Stone Brewing beers—especially if you like adding variety to your life. Who needs wine tastings? Have a Stone tasting instead! And if you’re ever in the San Diego area, be sure to check out the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, or their downtown Tap Room. Both are fantastic and definitely worth the visit, especially if you’re a beer nerd like us.
Stone Brewing Co.
1999 Citracado Parkway
Escondido, CA 92029