A Rolling Stone

Craft Beer San Diego

Greg Koch and Steve Wagner helped build Stone Brewing into a craft beer powerhouse. [Stone Brewing]

That buzzing you have heard is the beer community reacting to the massive expansion news coming out of Stone Brewing.

When we make the pilgrimage to Escondido in 2013, the landscape will be a whole lot different. Starting at the main brewing facility and the World Bistro and Gardens, there will be a huge production facility that essentially doubles the size of the brewery. It will allow Stone to keep up with their growth to the tune of 400,000+ barrels a year. They will also expand the kitchen for the restaurant.

That is just one side of the parkway! Across the way will be a 40-50 room hotel. A cellar incorporated into an event center that will allow for more barrels to age. With sours possibly added. A catering company kitchen will be added as well. As if Stone wasn’t a beer destination already.

Just north of the brewery, Stone has bought a farm. 18 acres nestled between the freeway and the stone covered hills. It will supply a portion of what the restaurant needs but will also serve as an event and education space. It already has a wood burning oven and some great spaces to sit and chat amongst the vegetables.

Driving south to San Diego, Stone will have much more of a physical presence. In the South Park area of San Diego (already known as a beer corridor) they will add a Stone shop. You can get Stone shirts and pint glasses but more importantly, you can get the beer. Growler fills and a tasting station for your Arrogant beer needs.

Then on the other side of San Diego in the Naval Training Center complex of Liberty Station, Stone will take over a former Navy mess hall and transform it into another World Bistro with gardens, movie theatre and a bocce ball court. A smaller brewery will be included as well. And it is right near the airport, so thirsty travelers can fly in and start their trip to San Diego on the right foot.

And on the collaboration beer front, there will be a chocolate cherry beer brewed with two home brewers and Troegs of Pennsylvania and later in the year a pumpkin beer teaming Stone with The Bruery and Elysian Brewing of Seattle (who knows how to make pumpkin beer). In between, you will be treated to a Green Tea IPA (more about that in another post).

For the craft Beer of the Week, I recommend Stone’s upcoming Belgo Anise Russian Imperial Stout. This beer is part of the Odd Beers / Odd Years program. Its cousin is the Russian Imperial Stout which already had that anise flavor. The Belgo Anise just amps it up in traditional Stone style. Pungent whiffs of black licorice hit the nose of this pitch black brew. The flavor is surprisingly not over the top. It is mellow and non-viscous. This is not one of those “big” beers that are hard to work through.

Your Homework is to make sure to add a craft beer destination to your summer travel plans. With Memorial Day coming up, vacation requests are probably being written. Wherever your final stop is and whether you get there by planes, trains or automobiles make sure to add beer to the journey.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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