Scottish Export: Stone’s BrewDog Exchange Program

Each year, Stone and Scottish craft brewery BrewDog participate in a brewer exchange program, where one of their brewers gets to escape the cold, gloomy Scotland winter and work on his or her tan (or burn) in Southern California. Meanwhile, a member of our Brew Crew goes across the pond to trudge through the rain and discover all of the insufficiencies of the winter clothes we have stashed in the back of our closet (and maybe pull out once every other year for a trip to the mountains). I was lucky enough to get to go this past November, and I took notes (and lots of pictures)!

First, look at where BrewDog’s brewery is:

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A Year of Beer: Summing Up 2014

Each year we up the number of beers we brew, and each year it seems like we can’t do any more than we already have. Yet, each year we prove ourselves wrong! In 2014, we shattered our previous record of 74 brews with an epic 120 beers. From the tried-and-true, to the boundary-pushing, it was a big year in our brewhouse. But it didn’t end with a jam-packed brew schedule. Between all these releases we planned five festivals and countless fundraisers to reinvest some love into to the community. So reminisce with us about a year that brought us amazing craft beer, thrilling times and monumental developments.

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No Foolin’: Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise

You know what the big problem is with being well known for playing epic April Fool’s Day jokes on the public at large? The public at large starts to expect them, thus rendering such gags nearly impossible to pull off. Still, building up the status as a supremely self-righteous April Fooler was a fun process for the creative minds at Stone. Announcing we would start brewing a lemon-lime “malternative” beverage, a 27.3% ABV extra-strong ale, and a “lo-carb” beer (“Lite™” was trademarked), we’ve used this faux holiday to explore miles of territory we’d never tread in real life…and even some we would.

On April 1, 2010, we told our fans we’d be teaming with our Scottish brewing comrades at BrewDog to craft BrewDog / Stone Luciferin Golden Imperial Stout, a high-alcohol stout coming in at 11.8% alcohol-by-volume with plenty of roasty flavor. There was just one catch—it wouldn’t incorporate any roasted malts and it wouldn’t be brown in color. So, basically, it would be different from every stout on the planet. Nobody with a working knowledge of calendars bought it and, though it was, essentially a joke, our brewmaster, Mitch Steele, filed that idea away and spent the next four years secretly pondering how he’d create a golden-hued stout. And we’re glad he did, because now that imaginary beer has been brewed into brilliant reality. Enter, Stochasticity Project Master of Disguise.

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Ich Bin Ein Berliner Brauer: Greg Koch Announces Stone Brewing Co. – Berlin

On July 19, 2014, Stone CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch stood before an esteemed crowd of European friends, compatriots, media and soon-to-be-neighbors in Germany to announce that Stone Brewing Co. is coming to Berlin. The site of the announcement was the historic former gasworks that Koch and company will transform into an equal-parts traditional and modern campus including a state-of-the-art brewery, packaging hall, restaurant and gardens. The following is the speech Greg gave, which lays out Stone’s reasoning, logic, plans, philosophies, passion and intentions for its new space and future in Europe…

Guten abend! Es ist mir eine grosse freude sie heute abend hier zu begrüssen.

As CEO and Co-founder of Stone Brewing Co., it is my sincere pleasure to welcome you. We are here today to celebrate something we are wildly enthusiastic about: fine…uncompromising…delicious…craft beer. And there’s no better way to celebrate it, than to share some with our friends…all of you. Cheers.

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The future site of Stone Brewing Co. – Berlin, located at Lankwitzer Str. 45-57, 12107 Berlin, Germany

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We've Exported Greg Koch

Jacob McKean

Well, Mitch is back from the U.K., where he brewed a monstrously hoppy yet sessionable IPA, but now we’ve sent Greg to mainland Europe for a series of historic events. Seems like we’ve got someone in Europe all the time these days.

Here’s the situation: Greg has gone to Europe to continue the search for a brewery location. We’ve been searching for almost 2 years now, but we’re doing our absolute best to nail down a site. It’s been a challenge. Hopefully we’ll have news to report soon.

While he’s over there, he’ll be breaking some new ground in the European beer world. This Friday, September 16th Brussels’ legendary Moeder Lambic bar will be hosting Greg & 30 insane taps of Stone beer.

As far as we know, that is the most beer ever from a single brewery on tap in one place in Europe. Feel free to correct us if we’re wrong, but we believe this is a first. We know for certain this event will feature the first non-grey market Stone beer on draft ever in mainland Europe, which means you can be assured it will be fresh & served properly. We don’t expect to do this again until we open our European brewery.

The event will actually be a mini-festival of sorts, featuring Stone merchandise, bottled beer, and, of course, Greg’s now famous speech, usually delivered from the top of a bar. No word yet on whether or not he’ll deliver it in Dutch, French, or German. Oh, and this amazing event just got a great write-up in The New York Times.

While he’s traveling, he’ll be doing a variety of other events as well:

  • On Sunday, September 18th, Greg will travel to Amsterdam’s “American BeerBar BeerTemple”, an innovative new establishment bent on bringing the American craft beer revolution to Dutch beer lovers. The event will feature 8 palate-wowing Stone beers from bottles along with the aforementioned Mr. Koch and his shenanigans.
  • Greg will then travel to sunny Glasgow, Scotland for an event at BrewDog Glasgow on Tuesday, September 20th. The event will feature an array of heavy hitting beers, cockney speechification, and rollicking good times.
  • The Greg/awesome beer train then rolls into BrewDog Edinburgh on Wednesday, September 21st for more of the above-mentioned activities.
  • And finally, Greg will come back to the good ‘ol U.S. of A for an epic event at New York City’s legendary Rattle ‘n Hum on Thursday, September 22nd, featuring 17 Stone taps. Should be a blast.

This will be quite the trip. Feel free to come along for any or all of it. You’ll like it, we promise.

We’ve Exported Greg Koch

Jacob McKean

Well, Mitch is back from the U.K., where he brewed a monstrously hoppy yet sessionable IPA, but now we’ve sent Greg to mainland Europe for a series of historic events. Seems like we’ve got someone in Europe all the time these days.

Here’s the situation: Greg has gone to Europe to continue the search for a brewery location. We’ve been searching for almost 2 years now, but we’re doing our absolute best to nail down a site. It’s been a challenge. Hopefully we’ll have news to report soon.

While he’s over there, he’ll be breaking some new ground in the European beer world. This Friday, September 16th Brussels’ legendary Moeder Lambic bar will be hosting Greg & 30 insane taps of Stone beer.

As far as we know, that is the most beer ever from a single brewery on tap in one place in Europe. Feel free to correct us if we’re wrong, but we believe this is a first. We know for certain this event will feature the first non-grey market Stone beer on draft ever in mainland Europe, which means you can be assured it will be fresh & served properly. We don’t expect to do this again until we open our European brewery.

The event will actually be a mini-festival of sorts, featuring Stone merchandise, bottled beer, and, of course, Greg’s now famous speech, usually delivered from the top of a bar. No word yet on whether or not he’ll deliver it in Dutch, French, or German. Oh, and this amazing event just got a great write-up in The New York Times.

While he’s traveling, he’ll be doing a variety of other events as well:

  • On Sunday, September 18th, Greg will travel to Amsterdam’s “American BeerBar BeerTemple”, an innovative new establishment bent on bringing the American craft beer revolution to Dutch beer lovers. The event will feature 8 palate-wowing Stone beers from bottles along with the aforementioned Mr. Koch and his shenanigans.
  • Greg will then travel to sunny Glasgow, Scotland for an event at BrewDog Glasgow on Tuesday, September 20th. The event will feature an array of heavy hitting beers, cockney speechification, and rollicking good times.
  • The Greg/awesome beer train then rolls into BrewDog Edinburgh on Wednesday, September 21st for more of the above-mentioned activities.
  • And finally, Greg will come back to the good ‘ol U.S. of A for an epic event at New York City’s legendary Rattle ‘n Hum on Thursday, September 22nd, featuring 17 Stone taps. Should be a blast.

This will be quite the trip. Feel free to come along for any or all of it. You’ll like it, we promise.

Brewer Exchange Program Kicks Off Next Week

Matt Steele
Representing our part in an international Craft Brewer Exchange Program with our friends at BrewDog, our Brewhouse Supervisor Jeremy Moynier is jumping on a plane for Scotland today. We’ll be getting BrewDog’s Lead Brewer, Stewart Bowman, in return. Both brewers will spend two weeks getting their boots wet and learning the ins and outs of each other’s domain.

“I’m excited to go,” said Jeremy. “I’m looking forward to brewing on a smaller scale again and seeing how those guys do things. The Metric System should make things interesting.” Jeremy isn’t all work and no play. He said he’s also looking forward to pubs, food, scotch, sight-seeing, and traveling with his girlfriend, Andrea, who is meeting up with him after his two week stint at BrewDog to enjoy a bit more of the continent before flying back home on Thursday, November 12. Jeremy did express some hesitation about the weather. “Martin Dickie (BrewDog Brewmaster) said the weather in Scotland is ‘pretty miserable’ right now. You know that when a Scot says the weather is miserable it’s going to be BAD.” Stewart, on the other hand, gets to escape the misery to sunny San Diego and bask in our laughably mild 70-degree Fall weather (just watch, he’ll probably complain about the balmy heat).

Brewhouse Supervisor Jeremy Moynier

Stone Brewhouse Supervisor Jeremy Moynier

The weather isn’t the only thing Stewart will enjoy when he flies in on Saturday night. He’ll also enjoy two weeks of Stone boot camp where he’ll better acquaint himself with brewing on a larger scale and perhaps glean a thing or two from our “we mean business” approach to brewing. He’ll also get a chance to learn from our mistakes and hopefully help BrewDog avoid some of the growing pains associated with rapid expansion. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to come over to Stone and work with some of the masters of the US craft brewing scene,” said Stewart. “I can’t wait get in there and help make some of the beers which have been so inspirational to all of us kids over at BrewDog.”

BrewDog's Stewart Bowman cozying up to a lovely cask of bashah maturing with tayberries

BrewDog's Stewart Bowman cozying up to a lovely cask of bashah maturing with tayberries

We don’t plan on letting the guys at BrewDog show us up with their hospitality; it’s our mission to show Stewart a damn good time. Unfortunately, he’ll be returning to Scotland right as San Diego Beer Week is revving up, but that won’t stop us from treating him to the time of his life in one of the most vibrant brewing scenes in the world. If you see him out around town you can help us out. Buy him a beer and show him that San Diego is where it’s at. Between that and the weather—and the beer of course—he may not want to leave.

-Matt Steele

The Stone and BrewDog Saga Continues…

Matt Steele
It’s no secret that we’re fans of our friends James, Martin and the whole team over at Scotland’s BrewDog. We’ve brewed two collaboration beers with them – BrewDog/Cambridge/Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner, and the more recent basha — and we admire them for having the guts to brew big, aggressive beers in the UK and the skill to succeed with it.

The last episode in the ongoing saga of Stone and BrewDog left off with a newly fermenting collaboration brew and some choice hand-selected Scotch whisky barrels stuffed with native Scottish fruit. So what’s next for our two breweries? Why, a Brewer Exchange Program of course.

Our Brewhouse Supervisor, Jeremy Moynier, playing with malt

Our Brewhouse Supervisor, Jeremy Moynier, playing in the malt

From October 23rd to November 12th, we’ll be trading our very own Brewhouse Supervisor, Jeremy Moynier, for BrewDog’s Lead Brewer, Stewart Bowman in an open exchange of brewing acumen. Stewart will get a chance to experience brewing on a larger scale and get a feel for how we do things (or as Mitch put it, “learn from our mistakes”), and Jeremy will get a chance to experience brewing in a smaller, fast-growing brewery in an entirely different beer culture. However, since BrewDog will be out of their Lead Brewer for two weeks, Jeremy will definitely have to step up and fill his boots.

This will be a “working trip” rather than a vacation for both brewers, but they’ll probably manage to throw in some diversions along the way. Jeremy did express interest in visiting a Scottish distillery or two and scoping out some choice barrels (hint hint, James and Martin!).

We’re incredibly excited to take Stewart under our wing and to live vicariously through Jeremy and reap the benefits of his stint at BrewDog. Stay tuned as this story takes shape.

-Matt Steele

The Newest Olympic Event – Synchronized Beer Drinking?!


Wow, just when you thought we were done with our collaboration shenanigans for a while…we bring you the first ever Synchronized Beer Tapping event (at least we think it’s the first–please don’t check that with the Guinness book or anything)! Here’s our grand plan: at precisely 4pm San Diego time and 7pm Boston time, we will be simultaneously tapping our very first kegs of BrewDog/Cambridge/Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner both here at Stone and at Cambridge Brewing Co. (CBC). What’s so special about this, you ask? Several things. For one (and it’s a really big ONE), kegs of this beer are an endangered species, and you may never see it on tap again–although occasional bottle sightings continue to be reported. Reason number two: Will Meyers, head brewer at CBC, tells us they pretty much never have guest beers on tap at their brewpub, so this is quite a rare occurrence. Reason number three: it’s a damn good beer. Duh.

Joining Will at the New England portion of this historic event will be our own East Coast Regional Brewery Representative and general Cool Dude and Nice Guy, Michael Saklad. If you live in the area and haven’t had the chance to meet him, you might want to seriously consider introducing yourself. When is it NOT a good idea to make friends with someone who peddles beer for a living? And to make Saturday even more memorable, Will tells us that alongside this beautiful black collaboration brew, CBC will also be proudly serving up some really stellar beers from the other two members of this team brewing effort. Here’s what lucky Bostonians have to look forward to: 2007 Stone Imperial Russian Stout, wine barrel-aged 2008 Stone Old Guardian Barleywine, BrewDog Dogma, and whiskey cask-conditioned BrewDog Paradox. As Will says, “Obviously, we’re super excited!” So are we, Will, so are we.

And just in case you somehow have not managed to appreciate the gravity of the situation, just in case you’re thinking, “Meh, I’ll try some next time,” ponder this: only 12 kegs of this black sheep of a beer were ever produced. TWELVE. As Ben Lee, our Production Coordinator, pointed out to me, that is the smallest number of kegs we’ve made of any of our beers in the history of us making beer. So this means that after we’ve finished the two we’re tapping on Saturday, the two that will be pouring at CBC, the one we’re sending to BrewDog, and one that some lucky Bastards down in San Diego already got their hands on, there will only be six kegs left in existence. Six. And no, you can’t have them.

-Kathryn Bouscaren

bashah – The Black Double Belgian IPA by Stone and BrewDog

As posted on BrewDog’s Blog

01.08.2009

bashah - The Black Double Belgian IPA by Stone and BrewDog

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Graeme Wallace, Steve Wagner, Martin Dickie, Greg Koch and Mitch Steele. Just about to mash in!

Greg Koch, Steve Wagner and Mitch Steele, all of Stone Brewing Co. from California, have spent the last couple of days at BrewDog. Stone, and in particular the approach of founders Greg and Steve, was a huge inspiration to Martin and myself when we started BrewDog. For all at BrewDog, having Greg, Steve and Mitch over and brewing with us is pretty much like a crazy music fan being able to go on stage and rock out with their favourite band.

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Matteo Milan, Graeme Wallace, Stewart Bowman and Mitch Steele checking on the mash.

We brewed a special Stone-BrewDog collaborative beer, a double black Belgian IPA called bashah. We are going to release some more details about the beer itself later; there are a few pretty exciting twists to it.

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Matteo Milan (our Italian Brewer) prepared a stunning BBQ at the end of the brew-day; our brewing system is quite labour intensive so everyone worked up a good appetite.

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We had some amazing beers with our food including a 2003 Stone Vertical Epic and a 2003 Speedway Stout, oh and some Tokyo* (much to our amazement, drinking this beer did not lead to the downfall of Western Civilization). Narayanan gave us some excellent signing and Martin conducted a kick-ass whiskey and chocolate tasting. We also shot the first few scenes of a soon to be huge hit movie, The Bare Mitch Project, a porn-horror thriller starring Mitch Steele and Graeme Wallace shot in our very own Canteen of Death.

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Stars of the new movie: Graeme Wallace and Mitch Steele.

On Friday Greg, Mitch and I went lobster fishing, caught some mackerel then sweet-talked my Grandmother into cooking the mackerel when we got safely back into port. Other highlights of the visit included a beer and food extravaganza at Musa which is our favourite restaurant in Aberdeen and a tour and whiskey tasting with the guys from Duncan Taylor.

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Greg and Mitch doing some North Atlantic lobster fishing.

The label text for bashah was written by Greg and myself while driving to dinner on Friday evening, hopefully that is not going to show too much in the final copy!

We all had a blast brewing and hanging out with the Stone crew, for us their visit is the most exciting thing that has ever happened at BrewDog – it was a real privilege to be able to brew with our heroes!

The first release of the beer should be around mid September. Watch this space.

Greg Koch’s thoughts on the collaboration:

“James, Martin and the entire team at BrewDog really went to a lot of energy to show us a great time…and they sure did! We packed the two-and-a-half days (just 1 1/2 for Steve) solid. Castle visiting, distillery visiting, brewing, dining in a 150+ year old banana hanging warehouse in Aberdeen, selecting used single malt Scotch whiskey casks from a rare whiskey collector/broker (by tasting the whiskeys that used to be in them of course) for diversion of some of the bashah for aging, touring the small, lonely, windy roads of the countryside and seaside in Jame’s hold-on-for-dear-life driving style, BBQing at the brewery, lobstering and mackerel fishing w/James’ father and granddad (w/said mackerel subsequently being artfully cooked up by his epitome-of-hospitality grandmother), and finally as a testament to the sheer exhaustion at the end of the day: successfully falling asleep in the little hotel with the pub attached on Friday night at Midnight in the middle of horrid karaoke renditions of Bon Jovi songs in Scottish accents by the local, VERY inebriated town folk (We momentarily thought about checking out the pub, but then Mitch and I decided that the risk of accidentally offending the wrong soccer team — with something presumably as simple as a “sorry…what did you say?” — and thus leading to an even quicker “lights out” might not have been worth it.  Sure we would have risked it for a pint of BrewDog but they didn’t have the good taste to serve their beer, and we definitely weren’t going to go in for an uninspired pint of Euro lager! It’s not like we’d had a shortage of beer after all.).

“I definitely can’t wait to taste the result of ‘bashah’– the world’s first ever (as far as we know) commercially brewed Black Belgian Double IPA!”

-GK ( @StoneGreg )