Sunday morning we woke up and wondered why brewery tasting rooms don’t open sooner. Noon seems kind of late to start drinking beer.
Also, we kept missing the free beer.
Stone is number eleven in craft breweries in the United States, and it was one of the places we had to stop. Being so large means they have the finances to build themselves a facility outside of the industrial parks, which includes its own restaurant.
They have a great restaurant that people come to eat, not even to partake of the beer necessarily.
You can tell a lot of work and detail went into making this facility. Of course, lots of stone is used in the construction.
They have a great outdoor patio with its own bar.
Their beer selection on tap is fantastic, including a lot of beers from other breweries. Knowing I would drink plenty of Stone beers, I opted to start with Russian River’s Pliny the Elder.
BBQ Pork Sandwich.
Prime Rib Melt.
Beer Float, featuring Stone Smoked Porter and Niederfranks Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Both of these stand on their own, but when put together you get something very magical.
We took the tour of the brewery, which starts with propaganda about making good beer and walks you through the manufacturing lines.
If you drink four pints a day from the big fermentation tanks, it would take you sixty five years to finish the tank. That’s close to 12,000 gallons of beer. I’ll just stick to a small tank of beer, thanks.
Unfortunately all these kegs and bottles are empties.
Some goodies to take home. Stone is currently working on building a hotel behind their brewery. I guess people love their beer so much they travel just to get a taste. It’ll be Beer Disneyland!
Port Brewing/Lost Abbey had my favorite tasting room. This location is actually Stone’s old facility. Although it was in an industrial park like the rest, they put together lots of space for people to sit down and enjoy their beers while watching a Chargers game.
More goodies to take home with us.
The final brewery on our beercation before we returned to our regular lives was Iron Fist. Another small brewery in an industrial park, they had customers drawing on butcher paper and designing their walls. I really like how locals come to these tasting rooms like they would a local watering hole.
Some of Iron Fist’s beers. Hired Hand, Golden Age, Dubbel Fisted, Trippel Fisted.
Totally off topic, but Iron Fist’s head brewer, Brandon looks like he could be the lovechild of Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter. It’s like the “If They Mated” sketch backfired on The Conan Show.
The day’s bounty: Port Brewing’s Wipeout IPA. Two bottles of Lost Abbey’s Judgement Day and a bottle of Ten Commandments. Bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Self-Righteous, Belgo Anise, Cali-Belgique IPA, and two bottles of Stone’s Imperial Black IPA. Two bottles of Iron Fists’s Dubbel Fisted and a Renegade Blonde.
Day three was the close of the brewery tour trip, and I have to say it was quite enjoyable. I really enjoy the beer scene down south. They understand that good beer is about more than just inebriation. It’s about community. Sharing a beer next to a total stranger didn’t seem strange at all. It was familiar and comfortable. I like that.
Drinking beer as a marathon activity and hopping from brewery to brewery is very tough. First, you have to stay sober enough to drive. Safety first. Even while staying sober it’s hard to keep up when the beer makes you so full. I have to think that if I were a few years younger, I also wouldn’t have needed the naps. Still, it’s totally worth it. Life’s too short to drink bad beer.