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Stone Brewing Tour in Escondido

Monday, August 1st, 2011

We had a chance to visit Stone Brewing in southern California last month. It is a blast, I highly recommend it. After the brewery tour, they give you a predetermined ‘flight’ of their four main beers. Tours are every two hours most days. We went on a Tuesday and it was full but not too busy. Their main website: http://www.stonebrew.com/

stone brewing arrogant bastard

The exterior is very nondescript. There is no signage. When you see ‘growler fill parking only’, you know you are in the right place.

stone brewing entrance

I do think their beer quality has slipped some. I noticed some harshness in the Arrogant Bastard, not as smooth as I remember – but still a flavorful bitter beer. Their IPA is very good as people often say. I think the batch we were sampling from in the tap room was a little green. The pale ale was over mineralized and tasted chalky. Still, tastier than many batches of home brew I have made.

Their location also features an upscale bar and bistro.

It is not a typical burger and a beer joint. If you come with an appetite be prepared to pay. There are a few exotic things on the menu, like Duck Tacos, which we avoided. You can get a Buffalo burger for $16.50. The food was good, prepared with care, and the service was excellent.

stone brewing bistro

stone brewing bar

The garden area out back is great for relaxing while waiting for the tour to start. I took a short nap back there after drinking an Arrogant Bastard and having the sausage and potato dish. Yes!

stone brewing garden

The Brewery Tour:

They do approximately 10,000 pound grain bills for their batches. That is about 1000 times a typical home brew recipe, so they must be doing 5000 gallon batches.

stone brewing grain

stone brewing brewery

stone brewing grain

The tour guide said a typical fermentor holds enough beer for a single person to drink a six pack everyday for the next 60 years. I think he said it was a 500 barrel fermentor. A single beer barrel in the US is 31 gallons. That means there are 128 x 31 = 3698 ounces in a barrel. Checking the math: 60 years * 365 (days / year) * 72 ounces / day = 1,576,800 ounces. Divide that by 128 and we get 12,319 gallons. Divide that by 31, and we get 397 barrels, so yeah it is about right. So by that logic each man needs about 1.5M ounces of beer in his lifetime. Honestly, drinking a six pack per day would probably be enough to kill me in a few months. I’ll stick to moderation thank you very much, Stone Brewing tour guide.

They are using American and New Zealand hops from the boxes in the hop storage area – damn that smells good in there! The water supply is via Rincon, which is essentially from San Diego County which is fed from a combination of the Colorado and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. That is a long way to move that water. They carbon filter it several times then re-add brewing salts.

I love this see through pipe that shows the color of the brew being made:
stone brewing brewery

The place is huge, all under one warehouse style roof. Sort of like being in heaven:
stone brewing brewery

Their main website:
http://www.stonebrew.com/

The Bistro:
http://www.stoneworldbistro.com

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