Gargoyles are known to stave off evil spirits and generally promote good fortune wherever they are employed, and at Stone Brewing they take this idea seriously. Looking at Stone’s logo or any of their beers and you’ll find their figurehead gargoyle front and center, helping to ward off any evil spirits looking to do your beer harm. Gargoyles aside, it’s what is inside the bottle that has made Stone Brewing a powerhouse of craft beer for more than 20 years and counting.
Stone Brewing Co. was founded in 1996 by Greg Koch (pronounced “cook”) and Steve Wagner in San Marcos, CA. The first keg of beer ever produced by the brewery was their Stone Pale Ale, and while not in production today, it was the beer that launched an empire, so to speak. In their first year of brewing, Stone Brewing produced 400 barrels of beer, which was easily surpassed by the 2,100 barrels brewed in 1997. This tremendous growth has continued throughout Stone’s history up to today.
Fast forward to 2016 and Stone Brewing produced 350,000 barrels in a single year. This steady growth should stand to show how consistently great Stone’s beers have been and continue to be. Today Stone Brewing Co. brews out of their Escondido, CA brewery, which they’ve been in since 2005 as well as their newly opened brewery in Richmond, Virginia. For those with more European interests, Stone also opened their Berlin brewery in a former gasworks facility originally built in 1901.
Not only looking to make amazing beer, Stone Brewing has even taken steps to make their beer green! While we’re not talking about the fizzy yellow beer with food coloring in it, this instead speaks to Stone’s move to install solar panels on the roof of their brewery in 2008. These 1,561 roof-mounted solar panels offset more than 530,000 pounds of CO2 emissions, which is roughly equal to planting 200 acres of trees! Finally a green beer that even the most arrogant of beer lovers can get behind.
Stone has an amazing lineup of beers, but it’s their core beers that get the most love and are also the ones you’re most likely to find at your favorite craft beer bar, six-pack shop, or distributor.
Stone Brewing sees themselves as leading the fight against “yellow, fizzy beer” by producing some of the most intensely-hopped beers available today. These beers pack a punch of hops, bitterness, and alcohol that makes for more of a drinking experience than session beers tend to offer. Stone Brewing has a LOT more to offer than these beers, but if you’re looking to dip your toes in the waters of all things Stone then these are a great place to start.
Stone Tangerine Express IPA
Hops are amazing. Not only do they impart bitterness into the beer they’re brewed with, but they also add a host of other flavors ranging from pine to pineapple to citrus and beyond. All that flavor hiding in the small flowers of our favorite bine.
An excellent example of this is Stone Brewing’s Tangerine Express IPA. This beer is brewed with Citra, Centennial, Sterling, Azacca, and Mosaic hops to give it a fresh, citrus body that’s then accentuated by the addition of tangerine and pineapple puree.
Coming in at 6.7% ABV and 75 IBUs, Tangerine Express is a refreshing take on the classic West Coast IPA style that’s thankfully going to be around in 22oz bottles and draft year round.
The big brother to the original Stone Brewing beer, this American IPA is as close to a perfect India Pale Ale as you can get. Hoppier and higher in alcohol than Stone Pale Ale, this beer pours a golden color and has lots of citrus flavors in the aroma as well as the taste. Stone IPA is the definition of what a West-Coast IPA should be, and rightfully so.
While the hop profile is up front and center, the malt backbone is steady and constant, giving this beer a great balance between malty and bitter. You should expect to get lots of grapefruit in the taste with enough bitterness to make it balanced, without going overboard.
The IPA style was originally created to be refreshing in the heat, and Stone IPA is just that. This doesn’t mean that you have to wait for a hot day to enjoy this beer, but it does make it even better.
You can find Stone IPA on draft as well as in 12 and 22-ounce bottles. Not only should Stone IPA be a beer that you look for when you’re out, it’s perfect as a go-to beer when you’re just looking for a great beer without researching the beer list.
Style – American IPA
ABV – 6.9%
IBU – 77
Arrogant Bastard Ale
This beer is best described in one word: Aggressive. Arrogant Bastard Ale describes itself as an aggressive beer that you probably won’t like. While this is true for the light beer drinkers of the world, if you’re reading this that means you’ll probably love it.
Arrogant Bastard Ale is a few steps to the left of a traditional IPA with tons more bitterness and enough alcohol to balance everything out. Originally released in 1997, this complex and slightly overbearing beer speaks to the love of hops that American brewers have.
Arrogant Bastard Ale is proof that you don’t need multi-million dollar ad campaigns or scantily-clad girls to love a beer, but instead if the beer is complex and solid enough, the love for it comes along just fine.
Stone says that it’s OK if you don’t love this beer because they’re brewing it for themselves, not for you. The name comes from the idea that only a truly Arrogant Bastard would like this beer as a way of overtly showing his or her love and appreciation for extreme beer, but it doesn’t take someone that’s arrogant to think this is an amazing beer. Don’t be afraid of Arrogant Bastard Ale and give it a try. You’ll probably be surprised at how much you love it.
Arrogant Bastard Ale is available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles.
Style – American Strong Ale
ABV – 7.2%
IBU – Classified
- the action or fact of ruining someone or something or of being ruined.
- the state of being ruined: the palate fell into ruination.
Stone Ruination IPA is a beer with two purposes: Number one is to give you an intensely hopped double IPA that’s second to none and the Second purpose is to completely ruin your palate for any other beer.
Both purposes are easily achieved with this 8.2% Imperial IPA, and when you’re done you’ll be glad for both. This massively hopped monster of a beer will easily change what you think a great beer really is. If Stone IPA is the big brother of Stone Pale Ale, then this is the daddy of them both!
Stone Ruination IPA starts with Stone IPA as a base and from there an extra helping of malt is added to up the alcohol content and far more than a healthy dose of additional hops are added, giving this beer a character so unique it’s amazing.
What you get from this brutal combination is a vibrant blast of bitterness and citrus aroma and taste that’s evident from the first sip. Stone calls this beer “A liquid poem to the glory of the hop,” and after tasting it, we’d have to agree.
Stone Ruination IPA is available on draft as well as 12 and 22-ounce bottles.
Style – American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV – 8.2%
IBU – 102
Stone Go To IPA
A newer addition to Stone Brewing’s hop-forward family is best described as the little brother that’s a prodigy of just about everything imaginable. While Stone Go To IPA is considered to be a sessionable IPA, nothing is lost to the lightening of bitterness or alcohol content.
Coming in at 4.5% ABV, this beer is meant to be the beer you can have a few of and still be upright. Stone Brewing is known for their relentless quest to pack the most hops and flavor into a beer while still making the beer one of the best you’ve ever had, and while this is still true, Go To IPA is made to have all the fruity, piney character that a great West Coast IPA is known for while keeping the bitterness at a manageable level and the alcohol at a weekday lunch percentage.
To achieve these opposing goals, Stone Brewing employed a new “hop bursting” technique where an enormous amount of hops are added in the final phase of brewing to give this beer huge flavor and aroma without making it too bitter or high in alcohol.
Stone Go To IPA is available on draft as well as 12-ounce bottles.
Style – Session American IPA
ABV – 4.5%
IBU – 65