Meet Stone Brewing Company
Our brothers in craft beer evangelism
**On Saturday the 7th of December we've got an exclusive Stone Brewing Tap Takeover in all our UK bars. We will have four absolute limited edition Stone beers on keg fresh from the USA. Check out the beers on our events page and see you there!**
When we first heard that Greg Koch, CEO & Co-Founder of Stone Brewing Co. had an infamous craft beer catchphrase we were curious. When we discovered that his motto was "Fizzy Yellow Beer is for Wussies!", we realised we’d made a friend for life.
Stone Brewing Company is one of our all-time favourite craft breweries. Being the largest brewery in Southern California and the tenth largest craft brewery in America means there’s no excuse for being ignorant to these guys and their epic Arrogant Bastard American strong ale or the mega hopped Stone Ruination IPA.
Voted by BeerAdvocate members as the '#1 all-time top brewery on the planet', it’s time to make sure you’re acquainted.
So how did it all begin?
Greg and his co-founder Steve Wagner met back in the haze of 1989. They hailed from very different careers but shared the same ideals – good beer that actually tastes of something.
Over the next seven years, Greg and Steve continued to dream about their hypothetical beer-based adventures until it became apparent that they needed to stop talking about it and actually start brewing it. By ‘96 Stone Brewing Company was born.
With the States in a stranglehold by massive 'beer'-making corporations, the duo decided to partner up with independent restaurants and bars that were striving to offer drinkers choice beyond convention and were willing to take a punt on a small, non-mainstream brewery. They promised their drinkers they would, “always brew nothing but the highest quality, uncompromising beers imaginable.”
They’ve been living up to that promise ever since, now on a global scale.
What makes Stone a craft beer institution?
Stone is the forefather of the modern craft beer movement. Few people are as evangelical about craft beer as Greg, who has committed his life to preaching beery gospel with his signature dose of wackiness.
A bit like Greg, Stone's beers are uncompromising, loud and true to the craft agenda.
Back at HQ, Stone has created a veritable craft beer haven in Southern California with two Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens as well as their landmark brewery. These awesome restaurants serve great beer and locally sourced food. If you haven’t been to visit – go!
Stone are also ahead of the curve when it comes to being eco-friendly and recently covered their brewery roof with 1,561 solar panes that will offset more than 244,000kg of carbon emissions; the equivalent of planting 204 acres of trees. They also have a 18.7 acre farm to supply homegrown, organic produce to their restaurants. Talk about commitment.
On top of this, Stone are all-round great guys to brew with – make sure to check out the first episode of Brew Dogs which features Greg and his infamous beard! Our first collab with them was in 2009 and resulted in the BrewDog/ Cambridge/ Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner - a 10% ABV lager brewed using 10,000lbs of malt and 326lbs of hops. The resulting brew was the hoppiest beer Stone had ever made. We then did a BrewDog/Stone collaboration brewed at our Fraserburgh brewery in 2009, Bashah, some of which was aged in whisky casks with black raspberries and tayberries and released the following year as Bashah Reserve. Black as sin and hoppy as hell, this black double Belgian IPA has accrued cult status in beer circles.
Since then Greg has been jetting back and forth across the pond to hold Stone Beer Dinners, as well as tap takeovers at our bars. In short, attending an event with Greg is part of the craft beer rite of passage.
Follow Greg on twitter @StoneGreg for some excellent beer recommendations and updates on what he’s doing.
OK, I’m on board! Tell me more about their beers...
Stone have created hundreds in their time. Here are just 5 of our favourite Stone brews you have to get in your face and why:
Arrogant Bastard Ale: Complete with a suitably anarchistic slogan: “Hated by many. Loved by few. You're not worthy.” This world-renowned ale is brewed using classified hops and they’re not giving away the IBUs either. It tastes of dried fruit and toast and pours the colour of blood; we’re fans and you will be too. Even if we’re not worthy.
Stone Ruination IPA: BrewDog love hops (we’d writhe around in a bath full of them if those health and safety guys didn’t try and stop us) and it turns out Stone do too! Ruination has been hopped to the brink and back and tastes deliciously citrusy. Just prepare yourself for bitterness…
Stone Smoked Porter: Magnum and Mt. Hood hops combine to set off a chocolate and coffee taste bomb while you’re enjoying this porter. Stone says it’s great with food and who are we to argue? You can also savour it solo to really appreciate the smoky, smooth flavours.
Stone Cali-Belgique IPA: Interesting…This is Stone IPA with a Belgian twist and we like it! They added Belgian yeast to this already awesome beer and came up with a highly flavoured and aroma filled conclusion which adds a twist of funk to the hops from the original IPA. Think of it as Stone’s Belgian pen pal.
Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA: Now… chances are you won’t be able to get your paws on this but it’s worth looking out for the legend! Every year Stone releases a birthday brew and this year they’ve gone German. The product of experimentation with German hops Götterdämmerung is a big hit of herbs, spices, pepper and floral tastes that combine to give you a refreshing beer for drinking any time.
Stone, you are our American brothers and we love you. Please come visit again soon so we can brew a beer that is 100% hops.
Head along to any of our bars to continue your adventure with Stone, and don't miss their Tap Takeover on 7th December.
If you’ve tried 'em and want to tell everyone about it then leave us a comment below or hit up the Stone Twitter direct @StoneBrewingCo