So I spent this last weekend soaking up all that San Diego has to offer. I am sure you are wondering what this has to do with beer. I mean, the San Diego Zoo does offer craft beer for any takers…
But about 30 minutes outside of sunny San Diego is a little brewery called Stone Brewery.
I am a sucker for hops so Stone, of course, is on my list of favorite craft breweries.
No way I could be so close and not go for a peek at their facilities and biergarten.
A couple Stone Ruinations or Stone IPAs in some beautiful Cali weather couldn’t hurt either.
The actual tour was pretty normal and, at the price tag of $3, well worth the 30 minutes. They explain generally how beer is made, show you their brewing equipment and bottling line, and then give you a couple tastings of their current beers.
The explanation of how beer is made was interesting because they actually passed around barley to taste and a cup of hops to smell. Not a bad twist to keep people engaged.
Before the Stone tour, I had only been able to hit up Texas brewery tours. I absolutely love my North Texas breweries but Stone had them beat in a couple of areas.
First, their equipment setup seemed HUGE compared to the Dallas breweries, which is understandable given they started back in 1996 or so. And second, it was nice to get a true tour where everyone is intent on listening to the guide since no beer is allowed inside the brewery.
I also loved that they had a restaurant and bar on-site, hence why the no beer on the tour doesn’t cause riots.
I mean, tastings are great, but having a cold pint in a lounge chair with some snacks and no crazy lines to get your three beers in before the tour is over (and all with a waiter if you want) is perfection. The only thing I found kind of odd was that they served a large variety of other beers from other breweries and wine. No egos at this place!
While this type of full-scale operation may be down the road for North Texas breweries, I can’t wait to see what Dallas breweries are going to be like once they are able to sell beers for on-site consumption.
If they are anything like the Stone model, I see myself sitting on many a brewery patio sipping some cold ones in the near future.