Picture it: 2008, a chilly March night in the neon desert that is Las Vegas. I was sent to Sin City to help open a bookstore and was there almost a month. Being away from home can be loads of fun, but eating out for every meal can become tedious. This particular night in March, at dinner time we were confronted with the mega meals at the Hash House A Go Go. New to beer, I stuck with big brand beers that taste like weak tea. Then it happened. Somebody at the table bought a bottle of Stone IPA. It was passed around the table of my 10 peers, where most of them turned up their noses and passed it on. I inhaled the hops straight into my soul, took a swig, and blasted off into space. I ordered one for myself and never looked back.
A few weeks ago we took a weekend trip to San Diego. It ended up being a trip to my Mecca in Escondido, CA. So when we heard that Stone was venturing north to our hood, I knew we had to be there for their grand opening. We ran into some of our friends, made some new friends, and discovered that there is more to Stone than it’s famous IPA…though it is still my favorite. Here are some my tasting notes:
Cali-Belgique quickly became one of my Stone sweethearts with its spice and candied pineapple aromas and with citrus flavors (think lemons and grapefruits) with nice clean Belgium hops.
Ken Schmidt/Iron Fist/Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout has little surprises as it aromas and flavors are true to the name: chocolate mint beer. But there are also aromas and flavors of roasted malt, coffee, and like something burnt in your pan. Think boozey Thin Mints.
Ruination IPA with Habanero Peppers was not my favorite but Stephen enjoyed it. It has the fresh herbs and citrus of the Ruination with a kick of habaneros that comes across as peppery to the back of your throat.
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale with Espresso Beans poured black with a tan head and enough roasted coffee flavor to make me dream up dessert recipes.
Living in Colorado for nearly five years allowed me to experience some amazing craft brews, but I always came back to Stone. You only ever have a first time, I’m glad mine was with Stone. I Love You Stone!
Here are a few pictures from the grand opening. Cheers!
The new Stone Company Store is located at 220 S. Raymond Ave., Suite 103, Pasadena, CA 91105.
Greg Koch, CEO & Co-Founder of the Stone Brewing Company.
Paola Briseno Gonzalez of Research & Kitchen, Javier Cabral of The Gluster, Hadley Tomicki of New York Magazine’s Grub Street Los Angeles and L.A.Taco, Art Rodriguez of LatinoFoodie.
Liquid Gold: Stone Enjoy By 11-09-12 is made with 11 types of hops.
Greg and actor Wil Wheaton.
Greg with some of his fans.
Greg with LatinoFoodie.