Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stone Brewery Tour

Last Wednesday, Michelle organized a surprise outing for me.  Well, I ended up guessing what it was that morning, so maybe it wasn't a complete surprise.  But it was a wonderful treat!  Michelle arranged to pick me up from work early (good start to the surprise already!), and we went to Stone Brewery to do their free brewery tour.  We've always said that we wanted to do the tour, but we had never actually done it.  Now, I'm glad that we finally did!

The tour is free.  You just have to get there early enough to reserve a spot.  Michelle went beforehand to secure our tickets, just in case a large group came in.  We arrived about 30 minutes ahead of time, so we had a quick drink in the bar.
Michelle had a Black Market Hefeweizen from Temecula, and I had Lightning - Old Tempest from Poway, served on cask.  Both were delicious.

After our drinks, we got started on the tour.  There were about 12 of us.  They walk you around all the big beautiful stainless steel brewing tanks, and tell you a little bit about how beer is made.  Our tour guide reviewed the ingredients in beer (water, barley, hops, yeast), and explained how the different variations in just those 4 ingredients create the multitude of beer varieties we can enjoy.  We tasted the barley and smelled the hops.
I wish our tour guide had talked a little more about the actual brewing process or the history of the company, instead of making lots of silly jokes, but we did learn some interesting facts (which I've now forgotten, unfortunately).  It was fascinating to see how they brew beer on such a large scale (well, large for a craft brewery anyway).  Stone is going to start brewing 24 hours a day in order to keep up with the demand.
At the end of the tour, everyone gets 4 free beer tastings!  You get to try the Pale Ale, Smoked Porter, IPA, and Arrogant Bastard.  I tried to trade in some of my tastings for a taste of the specialty beers, but they wouldn't allow it.  I really wanted the Old Guardian Belgo Barley Wine!  But, I can't complain about free beer.  And, as the generous husband that I am, I offered to help Michelle finish her tastings too.
I highly recommend the tour.  Stone Brewery is one of the elite San Diego breweries.  While not everyone will love their amazingly hoppy brews, the brewery restaurant and gardens are worth the trip alone.  For the low price of $0, you get to tour the brewery, learn about the art of craft brewing, and sample some of the best beers from San Diego.  Who says you can't get anything for free?

On a related note, that same morning that we did the tour, Stone had a large media event where they announced some exciting new expansions.  I can't wait to see how their plans turn out.  It's exciting to see a local North County brewery doing so well.

1 comment:

  1. nice one, jones. right on the money.