Free Brewery Tours deliver fans into the heart of award-winning, all-natural beer production...
If you’re having lunch or dinner at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, plan also for the Brewery Tour – but get your passes early. Most of the tours fill to capacity (about 25 people) for those about to get a sneak peek inside the inner workings of one of the top craft breweries in the nation.
Drinking four pints a day, it would take you 20 years to drain this vat.
Craft Beer, Behind the Curtain
Watch out for cargo trucks and don't touch the heated vats. Let's go! Inside, you'll learn all about the Stone Brewing process and culture of craft beer, followed by a guided tasting of phenomenal Stone ales.
Insider's Tip: The free, 45-minute Brewery Tours are first-come, first-served. Get your passes at the Stone Store, located at the entrance to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. Then, have lunch and a pint before your tour.
Our "Indoctrination Specialist", Samantha, began the tour by explaining the simplicity of home beer making: If you can boil water and clean a bucket, you can brew beer.
The staple beer ingredients were introduced: water, barley, yeast and hops. We passed around samples of fresh hops, a flowery green bud that grows on vines. Samantha asked us to recall what scents we detected within its delicate folds. Some in the crowd crushed the leaves to their noses and suggested: citrus, mint, even marijuana. It may smell pleasant, but eaten raw would be rather bitter. Hops must be brewed.
The Real Thing
Stone beers are made with pure and natural ingredients. Beers are not heat-pasteurized, nor are any chemical preservatives added. This is where hops does its thing by keeping the beers fresh.
Spent grains are delivered for area cattle feed, other parts are composted at Stone Farms, the revitalized organic farm that sources much of the produce for food and beers. Very little is wasted in the brewing process.
Insider's Tip: It can be warm inside the brewery, so wear layers you can peel off during the tour.
Stone beers are sourced with San Diego's municipal water. The water is purified by charcoal filtration and reverse osmosis, which leaves the minerals intact.
Like thirsty sentinels, each bottle rattles and clacks along to receive fermented love. Hiss! There's one exploding from the contact of heat, beer, and capping. This part of the floor was being hosed of glass and beer suds, just part of the job.
Welcome to the nostalgia of an olde-tyme bottling factory, yet Stone Brewing Co. is equipped with advanced technology and skilled experts to brew, cap the beers, seal the cases, and load the deliveries in the back for shipping to 36 states and some to the UK, Sweden, Japan, and Singapore.
Insider's Tip: Did you know Stone Brewing Co. was named "All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth" by BeerAdvocate Magazine for two years (2008 and 2009)?
These kinds of accolades go to risk-takers. Stone Brewing Co. experiments, collaborates, and produces highly desired beers, often with unique ingredients: lemon verbena, pumpkin (this fall), and peat moss, to name a few eyebrow-raising flavors.
The folks at Stone Brewing Co. know they're on to something: make high-quality beer for high-quality seekers. All others step aside. In fact, Arrogant Bastard Ale's description is a warning to all who are used to "fizzy yellow beer": This is an aggressive ale. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth.
Stone Brewery Tours are one of San Diego North County's top cultural destinations. Last year, 40,000 people stepped around beer suds behind-the-scenes. Indoctrination Specialists say many people come here just because of the Brewery Tours' acclaimed reputation.
In fact, a new book will be released on September 27 about Stone Brewing Co. and the visionaries behind its legendary successes. Get your copy of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unab...
Insider's Tip: Seek knowledge from your Indoctrination Specialist. This is your chance to learn from the experts about beer.
Working Up a Thirst
The tour ends right where it begins: with our thirst for beer. We are led back to Stone Store's mini bar, where Samantha generously pours 4-ounce glasses of profiled beers (adds up to one pint). This day, we tried: Stone Pale Ale, Stone Smoked Porter, Stone IPA, and Arrogant Bastard Ale.
The Stone Smoked Porter finish reminded fellow blogger The Nightowl of a hint of bacon (before she was vegan, of course). This is because the malted barley is smoked with peat moss.
Brewery Tour dates and times are found online at StoneBrew.com/tours.
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is the largest restaurant purchaser of local, small-farm organic produce in San Diego County. It's not all beer, there's an extensive wine list, too. Weekend reservations are recommended by calling 760-294-7866 or checking out StoneWorldBistro.com. Stone Brewing Co. and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens are located at 1999 Citracado Parkway in Escondido. Stay up-to-date with Stone Brewing Co. at StoneBrew.com.