Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#18 Stone Brewery (Accomplished!)

Visiting friends and family back in my home area of North San Diego County, California I stopped for a tour at Stone Brewery in Escondido, CA.

They have been in their newest location for a few years and it is impressive.  Fine gardens are found at the entrance from the upper lot, and outside the classy bistro.  Even the men's bathroom is a work of art.  Yet, strangely their facility does not even have their name on it.  So, you had better know the address when you pass by.

The micro brew world has taken off in America, and nowhere is this so evident as the San Diego area, which boasts over 30 craft breweries.  It has become a haven for fine, innovative ales, and the big daddy of the craft brewers is Stone Brewery.  A craft brewer with equipment this large, and making this much beer is a beautiful thing in a world of cheap, watery American beer.

The 45 minute tour begins under the pirate flag, and ends with a sampling of four beers (small samples mind you.)  The tour is interactive and allows for questions about the brewing process.  Hops are passed around to smell, the malted grain is passed around to taste.  The brewery is immaculate, and large.  This is an impressive operation, and they highlight fun mixed with a good smattering of irreverence, and education.  Our tour guide, Daniel offered all of that.

Beer Advocate describes Stone Brewing as the "All time top brewery on planet earth..." having received the highest rating ever.  So, if you like a good ale, this is the place to visit.  I went with my friends Steve, Justin, and Jim.  They agreed.  It was a rippin' fun tour.  You should add it to your list of things to do before you die.

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