Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mini Beercation Day #3 - Stone Brewery

Sorry about the lapse last week, got caught up in work.  Hey! It happens, work has to come first, not like anyone is paying me for my thoughts on beer...

After visiting Stone Brewery on my third day of Mini Beercation I wrote quite a bit on my phone notepad so that I would remember, in detail, all the glorious details of this stop.  Unfortunately, since then, I have had to reboot my phone and as a result have lost all those tasting notes...

However, if I were to try and recall what I wrote on that day, I think it would have gone something like this:

Glorious, magnificent, visionary!  If Port Pizza was a blast from a past, then surely Stone is a glimpse of the future.

Walking into this massive structure at the end of a desolate road in Escondido, one is reminded more of a four star hotel, or a Winery. The stone entryway and 30 foot high ceilings have the feeling of some renovated gothic castle.

The beer selection has a number of Stone's year round brews, as well as some great selections from other  craft breweries.

There are two bars, one inside and one outside, as well as gardens out back that they often setup a small bar in.  The whole place has a feeling of grandeur because of the high ceilings accompanied roll up glass walls that open out into the patio, making the place seem really large.  

What's really impressive though is how they use this space.  They hold events out in their garden or simply let you take a casual stroll through.  The night we were there, Stone was hosting a movie night (Airplane).  You really get the feeling that they're dedicated to fostering community.

I ordered a Sublimely Self-Righteous, which was amazing as always.

Stone's food menu is an obvious dedication to their own beer ethic.  In addition to all of the food being made with beer, they make a point of having only local and organic ingredients and dedicate themselves to bolstering their local community through slow food, industry, and money.  To put it in their own words: "At Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, we use in-season, locally, regionally, and organically grown produce.  We do this not just for the simple principles of freshness and sustainability, but also because fresh, local and organic tastes better.  It’s also better for you and the world in which we live.  No, we’re not health nuts, we’re quality nuts!  The fact that actual real food is better for you than the “food-like” substances that folks commonly eat is beside the point."

Good enough for me, we started off with the Mac 'n Beer Cheese with sausage, which was pretty incredible.  This was actually as good as it looks, See?

Down to the last bite.

Megan ordered the Rosemary Crusted Pork Loin.

And I, surprisingly, got the 3 BBQ Duck Tacos.  I say surprisingly because with Stone's wonderful menu of Steaks and exotic flavors, Duck tacos might sound a little bland.  However, this couldn't be further from the case.  Stone makes a Chile de Arbol and Levitation Ale BBQ sauce on this creation, topped off with some habaneros and asiago cheese.  This dish was spicy and succulent, the sweetness of the duck was a perfect match for the spiciness of the sauce.  Truly incredible.  

Finally, we finished off with what we thought would be simple Chocolate Brownies.  Once again, Stone blew me away.  I forget what type of beer they used in these brownies, but they were seriously out of control.  

Stone was really the perfect place to cap off this trip.  As I sat there having an absolutely great time, I started thinking about the success they've had and their current expansions, most notably, the possible opening of a brewery in Europe.  It certainly seems like their setting an excellent example, not just for other craft breweries, but for the food and business as a whole: it is possible to be successful and adhere to the quality and ethics that you believe in and possibly got you to where you are.  I will definitely be making more trips down to this brewery, I'd advise you all to do the same.

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