Your 2012 Itinerary, According to Stone

A few weeks ago we took a walk down memory lane, recounting for you the many accolades and accomplishments Stone achieved over the course of 2011.  We are not content, however, to rest on our laurels.  We’ve now turned our sights to the future and all the amazing things we have in store for you in 2012.  Dates have been set for our annual special releases as well as all of our epic beer fests.  So read on and prepare yourself for a whole year of beer-tastic-ness.  Ale-mazement?  You get the idea…

Cheers To An Amazing Year!

2011 is drawing to a close, and we’d like to send out a huge thank you to all our fans. With your help, we’ve accomplished some amazing things this year.


The brewing team has been rocking it this year, making over 25 different beers in the last 12 months. Among them were seven special releases, including the mammoth & widely lauded Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA.


We began releasing our sought-after and delicious barrel-aged beers in 500ml bottles this year, and you blew us all away by raising $15,000 for charity with the very first release.

A Book Release, Stone Style

Some might be content with a folding table in a bookstore for (their) book release, but you know us better than that. After all, The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. is the first (ever) book about us, and we spent over a year writing it. Tomorrow (9/27/11) is the big national release day, and here’s what we have planned to celebrate at the brewery…

To start, a book signing:

Greg Koch, Steve Wagner & Randy Clemens will be signing your books  and graciously posing for pictures out in the gardens starting at 5pm. We’ll even have staff on hand to take the picture for you. So that you don’t have to wait in a never-ending line for your coveted signatures, we’ll be calling people to the table in groups. If your group isn’t up yet, you can go get a beer in the meantime. Pretty good customer service, huh? Well, it gets even better when you look at the tap list…

On tap starting at 4pm:

  • Stone Ruination IPA Double Dry Hopped w/ Delta & Galaxy Hops
  • Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale Double Dry Hopped w/ Apollo & Target Hops
  • Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Double Dry Hopped w/ Motueka and Pacific Jade Hops
  • Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA
  • 2004 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine*
  • Dogfish Head / Victory / Stone Saison du BUFF*
  • Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout in bottles*
    *Look for these homebrew recipes of these beers in the book!

Books for sale in the store, along with rare 500ml bottles!

You can pick up the book for $25 +tax at the store starting at 11am. We’ve released three rare Quingenti Millilitre beers that will only be available for purchase by those who own The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.. Each copy of the book you own* entitles you to buy ($25 +tax and crv) one of the following 500ml bottles:

2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels
2010 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels**
2010 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Aged in Red Wine Barrels**

*Regardless of where you bought it. This offer is good to anyone visiting our store in Escondido until 9/30/12 or until we run out of bottles. (If you pre-ordered through Warwick’s or at the GABF, you are still guaranteed the right to purchase a bottle through 9/30/12.)
**the BELGO versions are in very limited supply. First come, first served.

Live Cooking and Beer Pairing Demonstrations

Chef Alex Carballo will be hosting a complimentary cooking demonstration of recipes from the book on the upstairs balcony from 6pm – 7:30pm, with tasting included. Not cool enough? “Dr.” Bill Sysak will be with him expounding the art of food and beer pairing and providing corresponding samples of beer.

So there you have it!

The book and bottles are on sale all day long, but the bulk of festivities start at 5pm. Hope to see you at the brewery tomorrow. If you can’t make it, there are plenty of options to buy the book online – or at the GABF!

Stone New Year’s Countdown Keg A.K.A. The Doomsday Keg of Radness

Here at Stone, I get the privilege of working on some really fun, random projects. Greg will turn to me and say something like, “What if we put a 17 foot tall gargoyle into the inside wall of the Bistro?” From there, I figure out how to make it work and pull the resources and people together to make it happen.

Well, another opportunity to have some fun recently presented itself when we decided to throw our most lavish party ever for New Year’s Eve. With a swing band, jazz band, laser light show and DJ all performing at the same time–along with the amazing beer and food–we needed a midnight countdown that could be monumentous enough to equal the festivities.

I thought about using projectors to play a countdown video, but that just seemed boring. The ceremony of the ball dropping has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve, but we wouldn’t just copy that–we had to do this Stone style. And that’s how we arrived at the Stone New Year’s Countdown Keg. Here’s how it all went down:

The Keg
First, we found a defective keg to play the leading role in this bit of theatrical awesomeness. Our Maintenance crew then plasma cut the top off and drilled out the keg for lighting effects.

The Computer and Monitor
This is the part that really ties together the whole countdown. There’s an old Macbook laptop inside the keg that is hooked up to a 24″ monitor that is mounted to the front of the keg. This displays a countdown timer that our Web Programmer, Bill Sobieski, wrote that displays hours, minutes, and seconds. At 10 minutes to midnight, an iCal event will open a video that one of our graphic Artists, Sergio Salgado, is working on.

The Lighting
I opted for all LED lights. There were some cheaper non-LED effects that may have been brighter, but the space constraints within the keg and the temperature were my first concern.

So here’s what I went with: four motion LED tube lights on the sides to give it the feeling of motion, 3 LED strobe lights inside that flash through the holes in the keg, and a color light show that comes out a hole in the bottom of the keg where we mounted a Moonflower LED light (watch the video to see these in action.) The last effect is really pronounced by the fog machine that we’ll have on the floor, which the beams of colored light seem solid. Each lighting effect is controlled remotely by an RF transmitter.

The Drop
This whole thing is going to be suspended 20 feet above the fountain in the middle of the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. We’ll be attaching this to an electric winch so our Brewmaster, Steve Wagner, can lower the keg at midnight while Stone CEO and Co-Founder Greg Koch MC’s the countdown.

So there you have it. We had some fun yesterday doing a test run in the office and making a video of it. I’m really happy with how it turned out and look forward to seeing it in action on New Year’s. See you there!

Juxtaposition Video Posted and We Already Have News On Our Next Collaboration!

Our friends Chris and Jared over at the Local Brew just finished editing a video they filmed on Friday for our next collaboration release, BrewDog/Cambridge/Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner

While we’re talking about collaborations, Garret Marrero from Maui Brewing accepted our invitation on lending a hand to help brew Aloha Plenty. If you haven’t kept up on the blog, Aloha Plenty is Ken Schmidt’s homebrew that won our 2009 AHA Rally Homebrew Competition. Since this is a collaboration between Ken Schmidt, Mitch Steele and Garrett Marrero – we’ve green lighted this beer as another part of our collaboration series. That’s right, the full treatment of not only being brewed on our system and served on draft, but also bottled for nationwide distribution. There is one difference in this collaboration though, this won’t exactly be a meld of each brewer’s creativity. Instead, Mitch and Garrett will be taking a supporting role in helping Ken keep his homebrewed masterpiece true to the original when being brewed on a large scale. Aloha Plenty is a Robust Porter made with Kona Coffee, toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. I was lucky enough to taste it during the AHA Rally judging and was impressed on how each one of these ingredients were present in both the aroma and the flavor the whole way through. You’re in for a real treat, but then again – I’m talking about something way down the road that we haven’t even brewed yet. Oh well, at least you’ll have an amazing Black Pilsner to help pass the time before that collaboration comes down the pike.


AHA March Madness Competition

You may not have heard, but we have a really cool homebrew competition happening on Saturday, March 21st in the Gardens. It’s part of an American Homebrewer’s Association Rally we’re holding that day to get more people to join the AHA. By joining that day for $33 you get all the cool perks for being a member, but you also get to judge at our homebrew competition. This one has a really cool twist though, the winner of this homebrew competition gets the chance to brew their creation on our system and have it served here. Deciding such a fate for a single homebrew is quite a bit of power to wield, and with how great our local homebrew scene is – a damn delicious way to spend a Saturday if I say so. Hope to see you there! Get all the nitty gritty details here…

Stone is using Google Calendars, finally.

As the title of this post indicates, I’m not taking the point of view that we came up with something entirely new or that we’re by any stretch of the imagination ahead of the curve on this one. You guys have been hounding me for well over 12 months to put upcoming events and growler fills on Google so you could subscribe via your web calendars, calendar applications and wireless devices. Instead of the marvel of global syncing updating your calendars, you had to visit a static web page to find out what was going on. Well, it’s not that I didn’t see the importance of this, it was just hard to keep up with everything we were doing day to day without updating another system outside our website.

So hey, it should have been done a long time ago – but nonetheless, it’s here! You can now find calendars for our Growler Fills, Bistro Beer Lineup, Stone Special Release Dates and Special Events. You can subscribe to them all or pick and choose right here…

You can thank Matt Steele for plugging away to fill up those calendar dates and our Graphic Artist, Jen Knudson, for embedding it into our site (you’ll find it on our calendar event page and growler fill page to start). You’ll also find these events entered into Facebook, posted on Twitter and showing up on Flickr once they pass. If you find us behind the curve on other things, please let me know!

2009 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine

Matt Steele
If you fancy yourself a real bona fide beer geek, then you probably already know that 2009 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine started hitting store shelves on Monday. As a bona fide beer geek who also happens to be a word geek (or maybe just a geek in general), I often find myself tirelessly scouring the label of every new beer I encounter in search of every last juicy bit of information–every last phrase, word, vowel, letter, and picture–desperately trying to extract as much meaning as I can about life, love, time, space, and existence. To my continued dismay, my efforts never prove quite as revelatory as I hope. Turns out I may need to search for the meaning of life somewhere other than in a beer label (though Greg may disagree).

If you’re anything like me, you may just stumble across an exciting little tidbit at the end of the bottle notes on the 2009 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine label. While it doesn’t reveal the meaning of life, it does reveal the meaning of leadership according to Greg Koch. As promised, here it is:

2009 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Label

2009 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Label

-Matt Steele

Big Fat Cans and Helping Hands

Mike Palmer
Each year we put out the word to “Drag your big fat cans over to Stone!” for our annual collection for the North County Food Bank. This time we had the fun idea to give a little incentive for your good deeds: If you manage to fill the food collection bucket to the top, we pull out a rare keg from our archive for growler fills. We put out the word right before Thanksgiving, and the response has been phenomenal. In particular, today has been astonishing.

Between Team Stone and Stone Fans, we filled three big buckets past the top as of last week. The third bucket was sitting in the hall of our offices spilling over on the floor this morning with the fourth bucket barely filled in the Stone Company Store. Matt Steele called the good folks at the North County Food Bank to come and pick up the third bucket, and they were excited by the “beautiful!” news. Well, they’ll get the sweet surprise of having to lug away twice what they were expecting! That’s right, over the past six hours Stone Fans filled the fourth bucket, which means Erick Gordon in the store just put on a keg of Alesmith/Mikkeller/Stone Belgian Style Triple Ale.

This is by far the best turn out we’ve had from any year, and I’m excited to see how much we’ll have collected by New Year’s Day. I’m always moved by the show of support we get from our charity fund raisers and even in these troubled times your goodwill (clearly illustrated by the food buckets) is overflowing.

Cheers to all you folks for showing what a great bunch of Beer-Drinking-Humanitarians we all are. So keep dragging your big fat cans over to Stone, and have a Merry Christmas!

-Mike Palmer