Help Us Make Pretty Books

Jacob McKean

Books. You know, actual, physical pieces of paper covered in information, bound between covers. Retro perhaps, but we love those things. Unlike computers, you can hold them close and not feel like you’re cuddling our future robotic overlords. And that’s precisely why we’re writing not one, but two, books.

That’s where you come in. Before we even tell you what these books are about, you should know that you can play an important role in their creation.

The most important way you can contribute is with pictures. Both books will need pictures of our brewery, gardens, beer, brewers, and everything else. We know we have a ton of talented fans that have taken (literally) tens of thousands of amazing pics, so if you have high resolution, book-worthy pictures from any time in Stone’s illustrious history and you want your photo credit immortalized in Stone (get it!?!), please post them on our Facebook wall. (If you don’t use Facebook, please send them to with the subject line “Book submission”, but only as a LAST resort.) If we want to use you picture, we’ll contact you on Facebook or email, so check your inbox.

A couple things with the pictures. First, they need to be GOOD. Like really, really good. Phone camera shots of a half empty pint glass do not fall into this category. Beautiful, crystal clear shots of the sun setting over our gardens, do. Etcetera.

This is an example of a pretty picture. Ain't it pretty?

Second, if any people appear in the pictures, you’ll need to have their written permission to appear in the book. We can provide you with a release form, but you’ll need to get it signed and returned to us.

Alright, on to the books themselves. The first is called “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance,” which will be a puff piece written by Greg, Steve, & Randy, our PR Coordinator a hard-hitting, definitive guide to all things Stone. That recipe for Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings you’ve been begging for? It’ll be in there. The fascinating entrepreneurial story of how Greg & Steve started the brewery? In there too. Plus a whole lot more.

Can’t wait for the October 18th, 2011 release? Pre-order it here.

This too is a pretty picture. Send us ones like these.

The second book is called “The Brewmaster’s Apprentice.” It’s a romance novel about a brewmaster and his loyal, eager apprentice master course in brewing, featuring interviews with many of the great specialists in the craft brewing industry. Greg is conducting the interviews, and early results indicate it will be a tremendous resource for homebrewers and professionals alike.

So those are the books. We’d really love to put your incredibly awesome pictures in them. Won’t you be a pal and send them to us?

ADDENDUM: Just to clarify, we are not seeking replacements for professional photographs, nor are we on a mission to reduce employment for professional photographers. As the cover of the book illustrates, many professional photographs will be used in the book. We have a photographer/videographer on staff & we contract a very skilled photographer for special occasions. We’re virtually a photographer employment agency over here. What we’re looking for are fan pictures our photographers can’t take, such as those taken in the past or in places we can’t be, like your house or during a random visit to our gardens. And yes, of course, the photographers will receive credit, as is stated above.

We Know What We Did Last Year…

Jacob McKean

Yes, we know, it’s February, and we’re just now finishing up our list of accomplishments from 2010. But once you scroll down a bit, you’ll realize why it took us a little time: we did A WHOLE LOT last year. Stone is growing at a geometric rate, and is set to become self-aware in 2014. We will then challenge IBM supercomputer Watson to a game of pinochle, which will be broadcast on network television.

All kidding aside, we are mighty proud of everything we managed to do last year. The list pretty much speaks for itself, so without further ado…here’s what we did last year (ed. note: Greg has said that if we accomplish three times as much this year, we’ll get beer-filled Faberge eggs for Christmas.)


  • Highest Rated and Most Popular Brewery, Ever!–BeerAdvocate Magazine (2nd year in a row)


  • Installed centrifuge, improving filtering and reducing beer loss by 5%
  • Released first Belgo version of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine on a limited draft only basis


  • Stone hosted the second most attended rally in the history of the American Homebrewers Association
  • Opened our new (to us) 59,500 square foot Warehouse and Distribution building
  • Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale went to full-time year-round status


  • Stone Brewing Co. rocked Chicago with 10 epic days of roll-out events and served over 240,000 12oz servings of our beer in one month.
  • Conducted the 5th annual Craft Beer Wholesaler’s Conference (founded by Greg Koch and Arlan Arnsten) at the Craft Brewers Conference


  • Released first Belgo version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout on a limited draft only basis


  • Opened the new 11,000 square foot Los Angeles area branch for Stone Distributing in Carson, CA
  • Opened Catering / Commissary Kitchen on Harmony Grove, Escondido
  • Stone Imperial Russian Stout – 10th Anniversary Blend released


  • Built a new fermenting cellar, moved 6 fermentors, and installed 8 new fermentors (each holding 360 bbls)
  • Released Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA, perhaps the world’s first all-English-hops-and-malt West Coast-style double IPA


  • Kicked off the Inaugural “Stone Anniversary Celebration – Brewers/VIP Reception” event at CSUSM, attended by 425 people
  • Stone 14th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival had 5,725 attendees and raised more than $200,000 for local charities
  • Conducted “Open House Career Fair” with over 200 attendees
  • Completed the membrane filtration and RO filter process for wastewater recovery and started using reclaimed water for cleaning and other utility operations
  • Brewed our first “fruit beer” the Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale with wine grapes


  • Won 2 medals at the Great American Beer Festival – our most ever!

o   Silver medal: Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers in the Herb & Spice or Chocolate Beer category

o   Bronze medal: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale in the American Style India Black Ale category

  • Stone CEO Greg Koch gave the Keynote Speech to 100 managers for BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse chain
  • Stone was #32 in the San Diego Business Journal 100 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies for 2010, making Stone one of a select few companies to make the list in each of the seven years of the award’s existence
  • Showed our 70th movie in the Gardens since we began our summer movie series at the Stone World Bistro & Gardens


  • Stone CEO Greg Koch conducted 7 events in 7 cities in 7 days for the 2010 Stone Total Tap Tower Takeover Tour, resulting in capacity crowds in all 7 cities
  • Stone CEO Greg Koch was knighted by the Belgium Brewers Federation
  • Installed 3 new Bright Beer tanks – 2 @ 650 bbls; 1 @ 360 bbls


  • Local sales successfully completed over 90 events for San Diego Beer Week
  • Stone Brewing initiated the first annual “Winner, Winner Turkey Dinner” for Thanksgiving and donated 50 complete meals to Casa de Amparo
  • website revamped and relaunched
  • Hosted a Pink Boots Society meeting for women in the brewing industry and a Master’s Brewers Association  [District] Southern California Meeting
  • Brewer Exchange: Hosted BrewDog brewer Graeme Wallace for 2 weeks. Stone Brewing’s Kris Ketcham went to BrewDog in Scotland for 2 weeks
  • Opened new HQ offices on Harmony Grove, Escondido
  • Built new office for the brewing team
  • Arrogant Bastard Ale celebrated its Lucky 13th by introducing the world to its half-brother, Lukcy Basartd Ale in November.
  • Stone Cali-Belgique IPA / Stone Cali-Belgie IPA went to full-time year-round status


  • For the 5th year in a row Stone Brewing collected over 1,000 pounds of food in the annual food drive!
  • Hired the 351st Team Stone member; recruited and filled 238 FT/PT positions


Whew! That’s a whole lot of stuff. But that’s not all folks! There’s more!


  • TripAdvisor named Stone as one of “America’s Top 10 Brewery Tours.”
  • We hosted two blood drives, which resulted in 154 people donating 137 pints (enough to save up to 333 lives according to the San Diego Blood Bank!)
  • Added three new full time Sales Representatives to our SoCal Sales Team, representing Stone and our portfolio of other craft and specialty beers


  • Stone brewed 115,000 barrels of beer in 2010 (ed. note: to put this in perspective, that’s substantially less than a mega-brewer makes in a day)
  • Stone Brewing Co. grew 31% in beer sales in 2010
  • Stone Brewing won beer awards at the Australian International Beer Festival, GABF, Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival, European Beer Star, BeerAsia, and numerous other local, regional, and national beer festivals
  • 38,032,800 twelve ounce servings of Stone beer were consumed in 2010 by loyal Stone fans and our own team members
  • Stone Brewing Co. became the 9th largest craft beer supplier to grocery stores in 2010 up from #10 a year ago (Symphony IRI stats)

o   21st Amendment/Firestone-Walker/Stone El Camino Unreal Ale (Jan)

o   Dogfish Head/Victory/Stone Saison du BUFF (Mar)

o   Ballast Point/Kelsey McNair/Stone San Diego County Session Ale (Jul)

o   Green Flash/ Pizza Port Carlsbad / Stone Highway 78 Scotch Ale (Dec)

  • Collaboration brews brewed at other breweries:

o   Saison du BUFF at both Dogfish Head and Victory

o   Fat Head’s/Stone Blacken Your Rye at Fat Head’s Brewery in Cleveland (Oct)


  • 47,204 folks took the Stone Brewing Tour in 2010, a 36% increase over 2009
  • Since setting up the “online charitable donation form” Stone has received well over 1,500 hundred requests for beer…or an average of over 136 each month, or nearly 5 each day!
  • And we have donated to 322 different charities in the past year w/ a total of 7,190 case equivalents…which comes out to 1,044 kegs…or over $330,100.00 worth of beer.
  • We more than tripled the number of Stone Facebook fans, from 18,502 to 63,606
  • We increased our Twitter followers by 57%, from 14,000 to 22,000 (approximately)
  • In the past year, the combined Stone Websites have had over 4,473,959 page views; over 60% being new visitors. About 8% of those visits came from 161 different countries/territories
  • We sold out 50 of 52 ticketed events
  • Every ticketed event at Stone during San Diego Beer Week was sold out, except for the inaugural Rare Beer Breakfast (which turned out to be a good thing). Stone hosted a total of thirteen events over SDBW’s ten days
  • We replied to more than 21,000 fan emails


  • Stone Distributing Escondido received over 1,098 truckloads of beer from the brewery
  • Stone shipped 800 truckloads of beer across the country for national distribution
  • Stone Distributing Co. delivered to approximately 4,000 different stores and bars in Southern California
  • Stone Distributing added its first hybrid delivery truck to its fleet of 28 trucks – all refrigerated and otherwise bio diesel up to this point

RFP For Make Benefit Glorious Continent of Europe

Jacob McKean

You may remember a little idea bomb we dropped a few days before Christmas about potentially opening a brewery in Europe. Today we are taking a big step forward on that project with the release of our Request For Proposal.

Just what in the hell is a Request For Proposal, you ask? Truthfully, we weren’t really sure ourselves, so we decided to check some out. We learned, more or less, that they tell the world about your project, with the goal of finding people who can help make it happen. The problem: the ones we found bored us to tears…when we were able to stay awake long enough to conjure up those tears.


The team of fun-loving goofballs who made this zany RFP. Our sitcom premieres this Fall.

So we took the standard RFP and poured sauce all over it. Yummy, interesting, Stone sauce. Or, to put it literally, we designed and wrote our little hearts out in order to tell Stone’s story as powerfully as possible. What we ended up with is an über-shiny overview of the brewery and what we’re all about, along with some details about what we’re looking for in a potential European location.

The results were a little jarring even to us. It’s glossy, polished, and maybe even a little businesslike, which is not how we usually think of ourselves. But we quickly realized that the RFP reflects the tremendous skills of all the Team Stone folks who created it. Turns out we’ve got some serious badasses working here. Collectively, we’ve got smarts, looks, and talent. We even want to ask ourselves out. Did I just say that out loud?

Anyway, check it out for yourself, but keep in mind that at the end of the day, it’s a business document. We’re sharing it with all of you so that you can follow us on this crazy project from beginning to end.

Without further ado, behold the most Arrogant RFP ever.


John Egan Brews His Own Fuel Too

Remember last summer when gas prices were ridiculously inflated? Remember wiping away the tears while your hard-earned cash ticked away at the pump faster than our national debt? John Egan doesn’t. While the rest of us were subject to the tyranny of fossil fuels, John avoided gas stations entirely, comfortably enjoying his wallet-friendly biofuel solution. When John isn’t supervising our brewing team, managing our cask and barrel aging program, and watching over our prized special creation beers (like Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans), he’s indulging in his green side by converting 100% of our Bistro’s waste oil into biodiesel fuel to power his truck. So how does he do it?

John Egan’s 1999 Dodge Ram 2500, which weighs 7,000 lbs., can get up to 24 mpg using biodiesel. John also uses biodiesel in his 1980 Mercedes Benz 300D.

Every other week, John uses an electric pump powered by his truck battery to extract waste oil from a 50-gallon drum behind our Bistro. Once the oil is filled back into the containers it first came in, he takes it home, processes it in the custom-built system in his garage, dumps it in the tank of his truck, and voila!

So what does biodiesel have to do with beer? Well, according to John, being a brewer comes in handy. “There are a tremendous amount of parallels between biodiesel and brewing,” said John. “You take raw materials and turn them into something else, and quality is extremely important. Much of the same equipment is used such as pumps, hoses, valves, tanks, filters, etc.  Actually, used brewing equipment would work exceptionally well to make biodiesel with.”

While John genuinely enjoys “taking waste materials and turning them into something of value,” he admits that brewing biodiesel isn’t a walk in the park. “It’s quite involved and takes effort,” said John. “It’s not one of those things that you try out, and then decide to scrap after a few months.”

John extracting the oil from the 50 gallon drum behind our Bistro

John extracting the oil from the 50 gallon drum behind our Bistro. Before our Bistro opened in November 2006, John acquired waste oil by other means, including reclaiming the oil used to make the Arrogant Bastard Ale Onion Rings at our Anniversary parties.

Sure, brewing biodiesel isn’t easy, but it is easy on the wallet. After processing, one gallon of biofuel comes out to about $1. Aside from being outrageously cheap, biodiesel also runs a lot cleaner than regular diesel, and emits a pleasing french fry smell as an added bonus. It can be slightly less efficient than regular diesel, though still more efficient than regular gasoline.

John is obviously a fan of the environment, but he’s also realistic. He feels that biofuels are “an important part of our energy matrix as a supplement, but they aren’t the solution to our energy problems.” Sure, biofuel may not be the magical panacea for our energy woes, but it definitely helps. John put it best when he said “it feels very good to reuse things that would otherwise find their way into a landfill.” That’s something I think we can all agree on.

-Matt Steele

Check out the press release we wrote about our Delivery Truck Fleet running on biodiesel.

137,088 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, 137,088 Bottles of Beer…

If you read the blog, you know that Steve Via broke our keg line record a few weeks ago. Well, Keg Masta Steve isn’t the only one around here kicking ass and taking names. Our bottling line crew recently set a new record by bottling a staggering 137,088 12-ounce bottles of Stone IPA and OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale (95 pallets and 12 cases) in one day!

The previous record was 130,728 bottles (90 pallets and 47 cases), set on December 17, 2008, with each person clocking thirty minutes of overtime that day. Not only did the bottling line break the old record by 6,360 bottles, but they did it with significantly less overtime.

The Bottling Line Crew

Our record-breaking bottling line crew, from left to right: Steve Parks, Manny Amador, Kevin Nolan, Eric Szaras, Nelson Clara, Zack Robertson, Caitlin Misner, Ryan Roersma, Zack Soderbeck, and Beau Bratton

Our bottling line has come a long way since Ben Lee, our Production Coordinator, started on the bottling line over six years ago. “A 21,600 bottle day was a huge deal back in the day,” said Ben. Ben remembers having to place bottles onto the line manually, and then load them into boxes by hand after being filled. Bruised and swollen hands weren’t the only fun side effect. “We had to wrap our fingers in duct tape to avoid getting shredded by the bottle caps.” After one person loaded the bottles manually, another person had to stamp the boxes, load them onto the pallet, and repeat.

Lee Chase and Steve Wagner showcasing our first ever 12 oz. bottle with Stone Brewer, Toshi Ishii looking on. Note that the "Maheen" bottling machine in the background is roughly the size of the three of them.

April 14th, 1999: Lee Chase and Steve Wagner celebrating our first ever bottling run, with Stone Brewer, Toshi Ishii (right) loading bottles into the "Maheen" bottling machine. Note that the "Maheen" is roughly the size of the three of them combined.

Though our bottling line was still pretty rudimentary during Ben’s days on the line, he was at least lucky enough to start right after we bought our first Filler machine. Before the Filler, we employed two old “Maheen” bottling machines (one for 12oz. bottles and one for 22oz. bottles), which required a minimum of two people to operate. We taxed the Maheens to their limit, running them for two shifts a day. “We were doing about 60 cases an hour with them,” said Stone President & Brewmaster Steve Wagner, recollecting the “rudimentary, highly manual” pieces of machinery. “We thought that was a huge amount of beer at the time.”

Bottling Line Operator Bryce Williams-Tuttle managing the Filler

Bottling Line Operator Bryce Williams-Tuttle managing the Filler. About 3/4 of the machinery on our bottling line is used and/or refurbished.

A lot has happened since Ben or Steve worked on the line (most notably, the extinction of the dinosaurs). The crew has doubled in size, and the level of automation has increased exponentially. As mentioned before, we eventually installed a Filler, which we bought used from the Molson plant in St. John, Newfoundland. We acquired a second used filler from Pyramid Brewing on August 20, 2007, and later installed a Climax Uncaser and extra Accumulation Conveyors on July 19th, 2008.

The newest addition to the line is a Slitter-Sealer machine, which we obtained from Abita Brewing in Louisiana. The gently used Slitter-Sealer was installed last Friday (the day after the bottling crew broke the record), and it makes the crews’ lives a hell of a lot easier. Instead of having to manually break tabs, fold, and seal about 20 boxes per minute, the machine will take over, sealing about 50 boxes per minute (once it’s running at full speed). Bill Sherwood, our Facilities Manager, likes the “chop-chop, flip-flap” action of the Slitter-Sealer, calling it a “Dr. Seuss kind of machine.”

Beau Bratton manually breaking box tabs, folding, and sealing.

Beau Bratton manually breaking box tabs, folding, and sealing.

According to Packaging Supervisor, Kris Ketcham, breaking the bottling record was “a perfect ending to the last day that we will probably ever have to manually break box tabs, fold, and seal.” Breaking the record was indeed a fitting end to the last day ever manually sealing boxes—but not the end of the story. We’re sure our stellar bottling line crew will continue to rock our socks off, and we can’t wait until they reach their next milestone.

-Matt Steele

Keg Masta Steve

Life on the keg line ain’t easy. Every shift is an eight-hour marathon of non-stop keg-filling, but Steve Via makes it look like a breeze. Steve recently shattered the record for amount of kegs filled in one eight-hour shift, filling a whopping 304 full-sized kegs—and all while the rest of the world was sleeping (he works the overnight shift).

The previous record was 282 kegs (nothing to scoff at!), held by Brandon Uhl who now works as an Assistant Brewer. Apparently Steve had a hunch that he was going to make Stone history. Before his shift he told Brandon, “Dude, I’m gonna break your record today.” Steve may have eaten his Wheaties and anticipated a stellar performance, but I doubt he expected to surpass the previous record by a staggering 22 kegs.

Steve Via, keg-filling machine

Steve Via, keg-filling machine

Steve is a keg-filling machine. Cheers to him for a job well done. Of course, kegging isn’t a completely solo affair; Steve had a bit of help from his compatriots. At the beginning and end of every shift, guys on the keg line clean up from the previous shift and set-up for the following shift. In Steve’s case, Rob Curnutt set up the equipment for Steve before his shift, and Erick Szaras cleaned up after Steve’s shift. That’s why it’s called “Team” Stone.

Steve has set the bar incredibly high, but we have no doubt that our fantastic keg line can rise to the challenge. Keep up the good work guys!

-Matt Steele

The Doctor is in…Dr. Bill That is

Sometimes you just get lucky. Maybe you take a chance on an obscure beer and happen to discover your new favorite. Or perhaps you stumble across a poor orphaned $20 dollar bill and decide to give it a home (after an exhaustive search for it’s owner, of course). Recently, our luck came in the form of Dr. Bill. If you don’t know who Dr. Bill is, then you haven’t been going to the right parties.

Bill Sysak, or “Dr. Bill,” as he’s known in the inner circle of craft-beerdom, is a master of zymurgical knowledge (made famous in part by his lavish beer tasting parties) and general beer wizardry.

We’re pleased to announce that he’s our new Beverage Coordinator of Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

Our new Beverage Coordinator, "Dr." Bill Sysak

Our new Beverage Coordinator, "Dr." Bill Sysak

Right now you’re either going, “Oh my god! Dr. Bill is working at Stone?!?” or you’re asking yourself, “OK, so who the hell is this Dr. Bill guy and what is he a doctor of?” If your response is the latter, let me bring you up to speed.

This is Dr. Bill’s first professional foray into the beer industry, but he has long been a bit of a beer celebrity in the craft and specialty beer scene. Thanks to some well-guided mentoring from his father, Dr. Bill was exposed to great beer earlier than most. Every other Friday, Bill and his father would sample a dozen new beers, educating Bill about the variety of styles and complex flavor profiles available in the world of great beer (most of us aren’t so lucky, and have to endure years of misguided beer drinking before realizing the errors of our ways!).

Though Dr. Bill was ahead of the curve on great beer, he didn’t earn his nickname through his near doctorate level of real-life beer scholarship. He earned it as a combat medic in the military, constantly responding to calls of “Hey Doc!” from fellow soldiers. Somehow the moniker stuck and Bill remained Dr. Bill long after he left the military to pursue a career in the medical field. So ingrained was his nickname that even actual Doctors referred to him as “Dr. Bill.”

Dr. Bill enjoying a choice beverage in his personal cellar

Dr. Bill enjoying a choice libation in his personal cellar

Bill’s passion for beer continued to grow throughout his 25 years in the medical field, inspiring him to travel the world and visit over 500 breweries (he always respectfully declines the brewery tours after seeing his share of mash tuns). During one decidedly prolific three-year stint in Germany, Dr. Bill visited Belgium 30 times and stepped foot in roughly 300 breweries.

After his time in Europe, Bill moved to Seattle to immerse himself in the beer scene. He then moved back to his birthplace, Orange County California, where he spent the last eighteen years amassing one of the most extensive personal cellars in the world. Currently, Dr. Bill has about 1,000 bottles in his home cellar, but at its peak it contained nearly 2,500 bottles.

Do I spy a Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale?

Do I spy a Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale?

Throughout his tenure as a beer connoisseur, Bill has displayed a true talent for tracking down the rarest, tastiest beers from around the world. During his travels he garnered an impressive roster of connections in the beer industry, aiding him greatly in the acquisition of rare beer and augmentation of his cellar. However, Bill’s deep roots in the industry and awe-inspiring cellar aren’t the only things he’s known for. His numerous extravagant beer-tasting events are nothing short of legendary.

For a span of ten years, Dr. Bill hosted the “most extreme” private beer festival in the world. Along with a sizable gathering of SoCal beers, Bill and fellow beer enthusiasts would taste beers stretching from New York, England, Belgium, Washington and beyond. The largest festival Bill ever hosted featured 162 beers in two columns. One column consisted of all the rarest Belgian beers in the world, and the other had beers over 8%–but these weren’t just any beers. They had to meet a certain standard to make the cut. (see below)

Just a sample of the decadent beer list at one of Dr. Bill's festivals

Page 1 (of 2) of the decadent beer list of Dr. Bill's 10th & Final Festival, complete with serving

After a while the festivals evolved into Dr. Bill’s birthday bash, and reached crazy levels of beer consumption. It was commonplace to go through 150 cases, which amounted to many thousands of dollars of beer. As if that wasn’t enough, Bill used to provide up to twenty additional kegs courtesy of his brewery friends to quench the thirst of the patrons during the nine minutes between pours. Some of the kegs provided were Cuvee de Tomme, Fred from the Wood, and dry-hopped Stone 10th Anniversary IPA.

The festivals became such a monstrous undertaking that Bill eventually enlisted the help of his good friend Steve “Steiny” Steinberg to co-host the 7th through 10th festivals, and the 6th through 8th were actually held at Steve’s house.

Dr. Bill and his festivals grew to an astonishing level of prominence. According to Dr. Bill, they used to say that Dr. Bill’s house was one of the top three beer destinations in Orange County.

Dr. Bill's 10th & Final Beer Festival

Dr. Bill's 10th and Final Beer Festival

Despite Bill’s decadent past, the self-appointed “Grandfather of Beer Geeks,” knows he has his work cut out for him here at Stone. The bar has been raised pretty high by our previous Beverage Coordinator, Peter Reeves. Peter put on an incredible Stone Sour Fest last year, and Dr. Bill admits that it won’t be easy to top him–but he’s up for the challenge:

“I love a challenge. I’ve always been able to accomplish whatever I set my mind to. We have a very nice, eclectic beer list, but I think we’re going to make an even more eclectic beer list. I’m going to try to push the limits as much as I can, yet keep a wide range of beers for every palate and every person.”

With events like Stone Sour Fest and San Diego Storm (more info coming soon) coming up, Bill will have plenty of opportunity to showcase his talent:

“I would love to be able to have the best Sour Fest ever. I’m going to be spending the time up to Sour Fest looking for the most rare sour beers I can possibly get, so it should be even better than before—if that’s even possible.”

Beer has been Dr. Bill’s passion for years, and he’s finally “bringing it to fruition by actually getting into the industry.” So what took him so long?

“I’ve wanted to do it for a long time and it just so happened after 25 years in the medical field everything fell into place that I had the opportunity to take some time and look for something. I’ve known Greg and Steve since Stone’s First Anniversary Celebration and I know how they run things. I know there’s only one way, and that’s the right way. So I put in an application, started talking to everybody and here I am.”

We’re confident that Dr. Bill will be a fine addition to Team Stone, and we can’t wait to try all of the fantastic beers he’ll get his hands on. Bill is also committed to communicating with the public on what he’s getting on tap, so watch out for his Bistro “Beer Lineup” email newsletter. And just for the record—the doctor is in.

Get your Dr. Bill Trading Card Today!

Get your Dr. Bill Trading Card Today!

-Matt Steele

Check out our Dr. Bill flickr set for more peeks at his incredible personal cellar and general beer craziness

Check out our Third Annual Stone Sour Fest on July 19th, where Bill will be showcasing his talent

Our Beer Gardens…Literally

If you’ve been to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, you’ve probably noticed that we have an entire acre of completely organic, fully sustainable Gardens attached to the Bistro. Some refer to them as our “Beer Gardens,” not knowing just how accurate that label really is. Truth is, we maintain our Gardens using by-products from the brewing process, resulting in real honest to goodness “Beer Gardens.”

Maintaining such a large expanse of Gardens is no easy task. So how do we do it? Meet Chili, Stone’s resident botanical wizard, and the keeper of our beautiful Gardens (he earned his nickname because he grows chilies and likes his food HOT). By reusing by-products from our Brewery and Bistro, and utilizing a few clever gardening techniques, Chili maintains our Gardens using nothing but what Mother Nature provides.

The man behind our Gardens

The man behind our Gardens

I recently caught up with Chili in his natural environment, which he lovingly refers to as his “cage.” While it’s true it isn’t exactly a window office, his “cage” is actually a fenced-off, covered storage area wedged between the Gardens and the Bistro kitchen where he keeps his desk and all of his gardening tools. Despite the jokes, Chili is quite fond of his decidedly unconventional office, and I get the sense that he prefers it to a view of Fifth Avenue. Actually, the real reason we keep Chili in a cage is to contain his unbridled passion for gardening (I apologize for that one, I couldn’t resist).

Chili working hard in his "cage"

Chili hard at work in his "cage"

I stopped by just as Chili was preparing to plant a few early yield tomatoes, and he was kind enough to share some of his secrets with me. He explained that the most important step in maintaining a healthy perma-culture is mixing the proper soil. He then divulged his secret recipe:

Chili’s Spent Grain Topsoil Recipe

- 2 shovels of spent grain from the Brewery
- 2 shovels of decomposed granite (Escondido’s natural topsoil)
- 2 shovels of vegetable compost from the Bistro kitchen
- A few handfuls of nicely aged mulch from the chipper

Combine two shovels of spent grain and two shovels of decomposed granite in a large bucket. The spent grain should contain little green specks from the hops used in the brewing process, and be slightly damp from the remnant wort (notice the desirable beery fragrance). The decomposed granite should be brown in color and have a moist dirt-like consistency. Mix together thoroughly. Add two shovels of vegetable compost from the Bistro kitchen. Make sure there is plenty of insect and worm life in the compost, and that it has a fresh earthy smell. This indicates an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Mix thoroughly with the spent grain and decomposed granite until mixture is consistent. Add a few handfuls of aged mulch (the mulch consists of fallen branches, twigs and leaves from the Gardens that have been fed through the chipper and aged in large barrels), blend thoroughly and voila! Once the topsoil is nicely mixed, it’s time to plant. Chili recommends filling the bottom of the chosen pot with gravel for drainage, and surrounding the fledgling plant with the fresh soil mix up to the first few branches. Then top it off with a bit of aged mulch, lightly water it, and watch it thrive. Once the roots have grown deep and strong, delicately transplant it to its final destination. In this case, the final destination for our vigorous little tomatoes is the Southeast nook of our Gardens (on the bank next to the gazebo/lounge/peat gravel area), where we keep a variety of seasonal vegetables. Check out a map of everything we have growing in our Gardens.

Chili’s proprietary (patent pending) soil blend works wonders in our Gardens, contributing to a fruitful year-round harvest. We’ve also noticed it makes the food taste better, due to the proliferation of essential micro-nutrients that petrochemical fertilized foods lack.

When I asked Chili why he uses spent grain from the brewery in his soil recipe instead of another fertilizer, he responded with a straight-faced “because it’s there.” I promptly reminded him that gardening is no laughing matter, and he gave me the real reason. Apparently the spent grain flourishes in the soil, creating an abundance of microbial activity and general liveliness. Chili also emphasized that it’s time proven. He’s been using spent grain since his days as a gardener at Pizza Port, and it’s worked wonders time and again.

Chili procuring spent grain from the Brewery

Chili gathering spent grain from the Brewery

Spent grain isn’t the only brewing by-product that Chili recycles. He also snatches up the used oak chips that we use to brew OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale. These lovely, odoriferous chips not only have a beautiful deep silky brown color, but they retain their alluring bourbony smell for about a week. Chili puts them to use as a decorative top layer, propagating the pleasing smell and thick brown sheen of OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale throughout our Gardens. Their purpose isn’t solely decorative, however, as their acidity helps neutralize the alkaline properties of the decomposed granite that makes up our natural topsoil.

The fragrant Oak chips used to brew OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale

The fragrant Oak chips used to brew OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale

Our Gardens are proof that sustainable gardening works. Aside from the occasional use of manure, Chili procures everything he needs for the Gardens here at the Brewery. He takes what would normally be discarded and sent to a landfill and re-uses it to create a vibrant, flourishing perma-culture. So the next time you see Chili sipping on an after shift beer or tending to the Gardens, be sure to raise him a glass on a job well done.

If you want to learn more about our Gardens, the plants therein, and lessons that could translate to your own garden, join us for “A Stroll Through the Gardens with Nan Sterman” on March 15th from 1-3pm. Nan is a popular speaker at garden shows, botanical gardens, garden clubs, and botanical societies throughout the State, and she’ll provide insight into how we “created an imaginative garden from an ugly, hole-in-the-ground sedimentation basin.”

-Matt Steele

Check out the flickr set: Gardening Stone-style with Chili

A Stroll Through the Gardens with Nan Sterman

Click for more information about this upcoming event

New Beers Revolution!

Matt Steele
It’s been a full forty days since New Years, and you’re still adhering to your New Year’s Resolution with ironclad resolve. Nothing can get in your way as you charge headlong toward a healthier, more productive lifestyle. Right?

We’re realistic here at Stone. We know it’s not easy to stand by the fleeting promises we make to ourselves every year amid the clinking of celebratory beers and the invigorating prospect of a clean slate. While it may not be smart to make life-altering resolutions while adorned head-to-toe in confetti, dodging cheap fireworks and worshiping giant disco balls, the overall premise remains valid. We do believe in taking steps to improve ourselves and our communities, even though the odds are stacked against us. That’s why we started New Beers Revolution.

We thought you might enjoy knowing what we're doing here at Stone with ourselves and our coworkers.

This TEAM STONE ONLY competition is our way of inspiring self-improvement and community service while providing a solid support system to ensure we stick it out. New Beers Revolution encourages Team Stone participants to improve their bodies, minds, and communities for a period of three months. Contestants are given the option to compete as a team, and prizes are awarded to the winners thanks to the generosity of our co-founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner.

Speaking of Greg, he is the creative mastermind behind New Beers Revolution. Greg not only wanted to address the growing epidemic of broken New Years Resolutions, but he also wanted to dispel the popular myth that there exists such a thing as a “beer belly.” Armed with information from the American Medical Association (and common sense), Greg proved that there is no such thing as a “beer belly,” but rather a “lifestyle belly.” New Beers Revolution provides all the enthusiastic beer drinkers here at Stone another opportunity to prove to the world that enjoying craft beer can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

Here are just some of the goals that Team Stone members have set for themselves:

Physical Goals:
-    “Lose 40 pounds” (nearly everyone wants to lose weight)
-    “Train for and complete a marathon”
-    “Not just lose weight, but learn to live healthier”
-    “Drink more water”
-    “Run laps around Stone on my breaks”

Intellectual Goals:
-    “Write over 50,000 total words (blogs and novel projects)”
-    “Take and study Yoga to balance my mind, body, and spirit”
-    “Start my own blog and stick to it”
-    “Make the move to all-grain homebrewing”
-    “Read a minimum of one book per month”

Community Goals:
-    “Volunteer to read to people, probably at a retirement home”
-    “Work with a local elementary school to teach more about ‘green’ practices”
-    “Volunteer and assist with the Youth Group at my local church”
-    “Donate clothing, books, and other items laying around my house to charity”
-    “Buy only local produce and items from my local Farmer’s Market”

Fun quotes:
“Fit into my skinny jeans!”
“STOP smoking!!”
“Teach myself to juggle and learn Caligraphy.”
“Look more like Cary Grant (when he was 40, not 80).”
“No sugary cereal, no donuts!”
“Give Blood”
“Lose the ‘lifestyle belly’”
“Use my reusable Stone Chico bag!”
“No more energy drinks!”
“I’m going to give free golf lessons”
“Rally for cyclists rights!”

We’re very proud of all 42 Team Stone participants, and we wish them the best of luck. We also encourage our fans to join us in striving for positive change. Just because you’re not part of Team Stone doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. New Beers Revolution isn’t about the prizes or the thrill of competition, it’s about lighting the fire under people and setting them on a life-long course of self-betterment and civil responsibility.

Good luck to all!

-Matt Steele

Check out our New Beers Revolution web page

Learn more about our New Beers Revolution Competition