During last year’s San Diego Beer Week, we conducted an experiment in the name of creativity and good taste, enlisting a dozen of our brewers to craft cask versions of Stone beers, dry-hopping and infusing them with highly flavorful ingredients. Those 12 casks and the brewers were assembled at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens along with a dozen personally monogramed mallets. Then, at the stroke of four post-meridian, the brewers tapped their casks and served them to hordes of thirsty Stone fans.
It was an expanded take on the Stone Brewer's Cask events we hold each Thursday afternoon at the Bistro and, in addition to being a wildly good time, the event provided a stunning and varied taste of the ingenuity and skill our talented brewers bring to the table. It was far too magnificent to do just once, so we’re turning it into a series of events. The exact frequency has yet to be determined, but we know for sure that the next edition of 12 Brewers, 12 Casks, 12 Mallets will take place 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 6 at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. We’ve rounded up another dozen of our brewhouse’s finest, all of whom have banded together to bring Stone fans the following rare and exotic offerings:
- Stone Pale Ale w/Juniper & Lemon Zest by Brian Gallagher
- Stone Cali-Belgique IPA w/Black Lime & Vanilla Bean by Matt Courtright
- Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale w/Dried Cherries & Cinnamon by Brandon Winneker
- Arrogant Bastard Ale w/American Oak by Rob Curnutt
- Stone Ruination IPA w/Galaxy Hops & Orange Peel by Chuck Rudolph
- Stone Ruination IPA w/Habaneros, Dried Mango & Nelson Sauvin Hops by Jeff Hueneman
- Stone IPA w/Honey, Tangerine & Peppers by Jeremy Moynier
- Stone Smoked Porter w/Tongan Vanilla Bean, Bitter Chocolate & Dark Toasted Oak by Steve Gonzalez
- Stone IPA w/Lemon Verbena, Dried Mango & Citra Hops by Derek Wasak
- Stone Ruination IPA w/Lemongrass & Pineapple Sage by Ben Matz
- Stone Levitation Ale w/Darjeeling Tea & Amarillo Hops by Chris Baker
- Stone Ruination IPA w/Grapefruit Zest by Jessica Gilman
As you can see, that’s a downright mouth-watering beer board; plenty enough to garner interest from beer enthusiasts all on its own. But as much as we want our fans to know about our beers, we want to share some background about our brew crew. Each of our brewers brings distinct personality, history, energy and a wealth of ideas and passion about craft beer into our humble brewery, so it’s with great pleasure that we use this event to shine a spotlight on these treasured members of Team Stone. Brian Gallagher, Brewer Stone Pale Ale w/Juniper & Lemon Zest A-ha craft beer moment: Trying a Rogue Dead Guy Ale or maybe New Belgium’s 1554—they were flavorful and turned me on to what beer could be. But the real a-ha moment was the first time I brewed a batch of beer on my kitchen stove my senior year of college. Don’t worry, I was 22 at the time. How did you get into brewing: In graduate school, I got serious about brewing and wanted to make a career change. I wound up spending a year in Scotland learning the brewing industry as well as how to distill spirits. What do you do at Stone: I operate the brewhouse. My time is spent weighing out hops, throwing specialty malt into the mill hopper and monitoring the brewhouse as it does its good work. How did you come up with your ingredients: I wanted something that tasted like gin so I decided to use juniper berries and some lemon peel to get those flavors in there. Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Cali-Belgique IPA w/Black Lime & Vanilla Bean
Matt Courtright, Brewer Stone Cali-Belgique IPA w/Black Lime & Vanilla Bean A-ha craft beer moment: The first time I had Anchor Steam and realized, wow…this is way better than Bud Light! How did you get into brewing: I started homebrewing after college, and then started working part-time for a small brewery in Michigan. I realized I wanted a career change and started applying for jobs, and was lucky enough to get started in the industry here at Stone. What do you do at Stone: Brew the delicious suds! I’m currently running the brewhouse on the night shift. How did you come up with your ingredients: I wanted to do something mixing sour and sweet. Black limes came into our house as a search for a new ingredient and the aroma made me want to mix it with something sweet. Enter—vanilla bean. Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Ruination IPA w/Habaneros, Dried Mango & Nelson Sauvin Hops
Brandon Winneker, Brewery Production Shift Supervisor Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale w/Dried Cherries & Cinnamon A-ha craft beer moment: My love of craft beer started early in college when I had Mendocino Brewing Company’s American strong ale, Eye of the Hawk. I am a die-hard and very superstitious Seattle Seahawks fan, so I only drank this beer during the games. How did you get into brewing: I started brewing with my (now) brother-in-law during college. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in microbiology, I went to the UC Davis Master Brewers Program, and then started my career at Deschutes Brewing Company before coming to Stone three years ago. What do you do at Stone: I make sure production is running smoothly from shift to shift and am also in charge of bringing in all the amazing hops we use. How did you come up with your ingredients: I’ve always wanted to try Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale with cinnamon. The dried cherries were just, well, the cherry on top. Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Ruination IPA w/Habaneros, Dried Mango & Nelson Sauvin Hops
Rob Curnutt, Brewer Arrogant Bastard Ale w/American Oak A-ha craft beer moment: Like many in the brewing industry, it was when I tasted Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. How did you get into brewing: While studying in Chico, California, I began to get into homebrewing, due mostly to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s presence in Chico. Once finishing grad school, I returned to San Diego and from the get-go, decided I wanted to work for Stone. What do you do at Stone: I filter and brew Stone beers. How did you come up with your ingredients: I worked with our Small Batch Brewer Steve Gonzalez in trying out different oak chip varieties to find the perfect one. Thanks for the help, Steve! Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Ruination IPA w/Lemongrass & Pineapple Sage…anything Ben Matz makes is money!
Chuck Rudolph, Brewer Stone Ruination IPA w/Galaxy Hops & Orange Peel A-ha craft beer moment: When I first tried Mad River Steelhead Double IPA. How did you get into brewing: I ran the beer department at BevMo!, and Stone’s Orange County rep got me a part-time job working at the Stone Company Store. My goal was to get into the brewhouse. I went from the store to the bottling line, the bottling line to the kegging line, the kegging line to assistant brewer, and from assistant brewer to brewer. What do you do at Stone: I operate the filter/centrifuge. I make the beer look nice and pretty. How did you come up with your ingredients: I felt the orange peel would blend really well with the citrusy character of Stone Ruination IPA. Galaxy hops have sort of a passion-fruit flavor, so I am expecting it to be somewhat “tropical” in nature. Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Ruination IPA w/Grapefruit Zest
Jeff Hueneman, Brewer Stone Ruination IPA w/Habaneros, Dried Mango & Nelson Sauvin Hops A-ha craft beer moment: I’m sure I’d already had something from Sam Adams before, but what I remember most is homebrewing with a fraternity brother in college when he cracked open a North Coast Old Rasputin. It was unlike anything I’d ever tasted. How did you get into brewing: After my a-ha moment I became interested in homebrewing. I did a bit in college, and that sparked a sudden desire to work at a brewery as an engineer. But I ended up as an engineering management trainee at Nestle-Purina working at a cat litter manufacturing facility (yes, cat litter). I hated it. Once I realized I could go to school for brewing, I applied and was accepted at UC Davis. My post-graduation job offer from Stone was one I couldn’t turn down. What do you do at Stone: I brew and sometimes work as a filter/centrifuge operator, cellarperson or janitor. How did you come up with your ingredients: I wanted to do something fruity and spicy with Stone Ruination IPA and settled on mango habanero. Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Pale Ale w/Juniper & Lemon Zest because I’m a fan of gin, and Stone Ruination IPA w/Galaxy Hops & Orange Peel because I’m a huge fan of Galaxy hops.
Jeremy Moynier, Lead Brewer Stone IPA w/Honey, Tangerine & Peppers A-ha craft beer moment: I remember having Celis in college and being amazed that beer could have that much flavor. Another moment would have to be when I tried Russian River Blind Pig IPA. How did you get into brewing: I worked in wineries, but we always drank a lot of beer because wine is the last thing you want when you are covered in sticky grapes. I’m from San Diego and when I moved back here the wineries seemed too far away for a commute, and I was really interested in trying something new. Beer seemed like a good idea…at least as a temporary job. That was nine years ago. What do you do at Stone: My job is cool because I get to do a lot of things. In a nutshell, I manage the brewing team, make sure everything keeps rolling, track fermentations, manage yeast, work on ingredients and jump in wherever needed. How did you come up with your ingredients: I’m not a huge fan of peppers in casks, but I thought it would be cool to just put a little heat on the back end, especially if there is citrus and honey up front. Cask you’re most excited about: Of course I’m going to say that I’m excited to try them all, but seriously, these brewers have all shown in the past that they can do some seriously kickass casks!
Steve Gonzalez, Research & Small Batch Manager Stone Smoked Porter w/Tongan Vanilla Bean, Bitter Chocolate & Dark Toasted Oak A-ha craft beer moment: Nineteen years ago—the first time I made an all-grain oaked IPA that went from undrinkable to delicious when the oak mellowed with age. How did you get into brewing: I started craft brewing for Ken Grossman and Steve Dressler at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company way back in 1995. What do you do at Stone: I’m the guy in charge of barrel-aged beer, special creations and pilot brewing. How did you come up with your ingredients: The vanilla beans came from our friends at Garage Project Brewing in New Zealand. The oak I selected adds a smoky flavor, and the overall idea was to make a beer that was an ode to a hot fudge sundae with bacon without using ice cream or bacon. Cask you’re most excited about: All of them! These casks are really cool!
Derek Wasak, Brewer Stone IPA w/Lemon Verbena, Dried Mango & Citra Hops A-ha craft beer moment: At 21, I was handed my first craft beer—Ommegang Three Philosophers. From then on, I just wanted to try more and more craft beer. How did you get into brewing: I started homebrewing in college and landed an internship at Smuttynose Brewing Company in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I decided if I could work four months unpaid and still want to go into work in the morning, this was a viable career choice. After graduating, I went on to complete Siebel’s Master Brewer Program in Chicago and Munich, Germany. From there, I went to Boston and worked for a small brewpub called Beer Works for about a year. Nicer weather led me to look toward San Diego. Before I knew it, I was packing my life into my car and driving across the country to work for Stone. What do you do at Stone: I’m a filter/centrifuge operator. How did you come up with your ingredients: I was looking to try to incorporate fruit, something we don’t do very often. Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale w/Dried Cherries & Cinnamon
Ben Matz, Brewer Stone Ruination IPA w/Lemongrass & Pineapple Sage A-ha craft beer moment: When I was growing up, my Grandpappy Jerry always had a variety of beers in the fridge. I became interested in how and why each one tasted so different. How did you get into brewing: I started homebrewing back in 1997 and the fermentation process kept me hooked to the point where I decided to do it professionally. What do you do at Stone: I produce clean, fermentable wort for our happy yeasties and, occasionally, run the filter/centrifuge. How did you come up with your ingredients: I think the mixture of citrus and herbal flavors should work really nicely with the hops in Stone Ruination IPA. Cask you’re most excited about: Arrogant Bastard Ale w/American Oak. The French oak is going to meld well with the richness of Arrogant Bastard Ale—it should be money! And Stone Ruination IPA w/Grapefruit Zest is gonna be an awesome zest kick in the face!
Chris Baker, Senior Brewer Stone Levitation Ale w/Darjeeling Tea & Amarillo Hops A-ha craft beer moment: Working in a winery in Paso Robles, California, and spending more time at Firestone Walker Brewing Company than wineries. How did you get into brewing: I did some homebrewing here and there with my buddies in college. Then after a short stint as a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry and some more homebrews, I stumbled across Stone’s open house and thought it would be a good idea to take my hobby to the next level. What do you do at Stone: I help out with brewing, filtering and cellar activities while trying to optimize our new brewhouse. How did you come up with your ingredients: I think tea and beer make a nice pair, and why not add more Amarillo hops? Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Ruination IPA w/Habaneros, Dried Mango & Nelson Sauvin Hops and Stone Cali-Belgique IPA w/Black Lime & Vanilla Bean. I’m interested to see how the black limes taste and who doesn’t love Nelson hops?
Jessica Gilman, Brewery Production Logistics Coordinator Stone Ruination IPA w/Grapefruit Zest A-ha craft beer moment: My first batch of homebrew. How did you get into brewing: I was a hostess at a San Diego brewery restaurant and pestered the brewer about trying my homebrew and letting me brew with him until he relented…then he couldn’t get rid of me. I met Jeremy Moynier and Stone Small Batch Brewer Laura Ulrich at a San Diego Brewers Guild meeting and they mentioned they were looking for assistant brewers and suggested I apply. I got interviewed and, to my surprise, got the job. What do you do at Stone: All things logistics that the Production Department needs done. Don’t know what “logistics” means? Google it! J How did you come up with your ingredients: I love lemon desserts and lemon zest. I started thinking about making a lemon dessert but thought, why don’t people use grapefruit zest and make grapefruit desserts? The idea of adding it to a cask seemed natural, and I decided on Stone Ruination IPA because I thought it would stand up to the flavor of the grapefruit the best and wanted to enhance what Stone Ruination IPA already is—an amazing, citrus-rich IPA. Cask you’re most excited about: Stone Levitation Ale w/Darjeeling Tea & Amarillo Hops and Stone Ruination IPA w/Lemongrass & Pineapple Sage.